Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends


1935 Gibson L-4

Status: Pricing and hold status for all instruments currently available is shown on our Instruments page here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold, and is no longer available. Photos and descriptions of Previously Sold instruments may by found here. To be notified of examples of this model or similar instruments in the future, please contact [email protected],. Please be specific on which instrument(s) you're looking for, and we'll be happy to contact you as soon as they become available.

Serial #: 92483, stamped on white oval label.

Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4"

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid mahogany neck, solid figured maple back, solid maple sides, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, variegated mother of pearl inlay fingerboard inlay, 'fleur-de-lis' peghead inlay; bound fingerboard, peghead and body.

Hardware: 100% original hardware includes compensated ebony bridge, original nickel trapeze tailpiece, bound firestripe tortoise pickguard, nickel Grover Sta-Tite tuners with "butterbean" keys.

Notes: Palm trees. Grass skirts. And gentle hapa-haole ballads. Was any place closer to paradise than Honolulu before the War?

The Gibson L-5 of the late 20's and early 30's remains one of the world's most sought-after guitars. With it's comfortable 16" body, generous 1 3/4" nut, and lightly braced top, the original L-5 combines tone and playability in a manner many feel is unsurpassed to this day. The bad news is that Gibson discontinued the 16" L-5 by 1936. And if you've looked for one in recent years, you also realize they fetch a king's ransom. But what many otherwise savvy players don't realize is that the guitar was just too good to kill. So Gibson didn't. They just fiddled with the inlay and gave it another name: the L-4.

Introduced in 1912, the L-4 was Gibson's top-of-the line guitar, and remains its longest lasting model, still in production to this day as a cutaway electric. The L-4 was produced with a round hole exclusively until 1935, when this version was offered with optional f-holes. Built on the same forms as the 20's L-5, the f-hole L-4 differed only in cosmetics from its costly cousin. Same scale, f-holes, fingerboard dimensions, bracing, the works. Oddly, the variegated floral 'Roy Smeck' fingerboard inlay, borrowed from the early L-7, is even more ornate than the L-5, which offered only simple blocks. This version, with the slim, elegant bound peghead, and narrow script logo was offered only until around 1939.

This example was originally purchased at Metronome Music, Honolulu, H.T. (Hawaiian Territory), whose badge still graces the original black fitted hardshell case. The instrument has been lovingly preserved in superb original condition, without cracks or bucklewear and only minimal, pick, thumb or fingerboard wear. (So proud was the owner that they engraved their initials and the words "1937 Honolulu" on the reverse side of the peghead.) The instrument has a subtly applied dark tobacco sunburst over a fine grained bookmatched handcarved solid spruce top, and figured maple back and sides with a deep walnut finish. All original harware includes the nickel trapeze tailpiece and compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge, original tortoise pickguard and original Grover Sta-Tite tuners with scalloped nickel keys. The neck is comfortable, with a classic prewar vee profile, and the actions is smooth and low over fine original frets. The top is carved very delicately, and the lightweight body (just 4lb. 14oz.) sings like a bird: wide open, clear and transparent, with exceptional brilliance and balance. Wish we could find more of these: the regal L-5 in commoner's clothes.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

Case: Original black Gibson arched hardshell case.


























































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends