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1935 Gibson L-4

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Serial #: 92173, white oval label. FON#: 124A-1

Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Neck depth: .98/1.11, 1st/10th frets

Materials: X-braced 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: Original hardware includes compensated ebony bridge, original nickel trapeze tailpiece, nickel Grover Sta-Tite tuners with scalloped keys. Vintage correct swirl tortoise pickguard.

Notes: Created by legendary designer Lloyd Loar and popularized by jazz pioneer Eddie Lang, the original issue Gibson L-5 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 1934, 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 mostly in cosmetics from its costly cousin. Same scale, f-holes, fingerboard dimensions, bracing, and a solid mahogany neck for lighter weight and better balance. (Interestingly, the variegated floral 'Roy Smeck' fingerboard pattern, borrowed from 20's Mastertone banjo inlays, 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 remarkable guitar is unique in our experience: built with a soundboard that is X-braced, it's the only 16" Gibson archtop of its type we've ever seen, a design thought to be exclusive to the Advanced Model 17" guitars of the prewar period. The result is an instrument with enhanced bass response and sustain, in a comfy, compact size. The top is carved very delicately, and the lightweight body is a remarkable 5lb 3oz. With a classic prewar V profile and a comfy 1 3/4" width, the neck has smooth, low action with a fresh high-precision setup over fine pro fretwork in the original style.

With a fine grained, bookmatched solid spruce top, the guitar has a figured maple back and sides with dark walnut finish. Original nickel hardware includes the 20's style trapeze tailpiece, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, and original Grover Sta-Tite tuners with scalloped keys. The lustrous Cremona finish is all original, and in fine condition, apart from some typical scattered finish nicks and some light thumbwear to the neck. The top centerseam is solid, with some checking along it under the tailpiece, and a single hairline crack under the pickguard has been soundly resealed.

The voice is notably brilliant: wide open, clear and transparent, with excellent balance and projection. An exceptinal rarity in design, and the best kept secret in a true prewar master quality Gibson archtop: the working player's L-5. One only, call now.

Setup: 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. Action set to 4-5/64" at the 12th fret, with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings.

Case: Original Gibson deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.


























































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