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1935 Gibson Super 400

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Serial #: 92680, white oval label, hand calligraphed. FON#: 357A-3

Body size at lower bout: 18" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .93/1.04

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid bookmatched tiger flame maple back and sides; flame maple neck with walnut centerstripe; solid ebony fingerboard; mother of pearl block fingerboard split-block peghead inlay; fat script Gibson logo; seven-ply bound top, five-ply bound headstock and neck, triple bound f-holes and back; hand-engraved heelcap with Super 400 logo.

Hardware: Original gold hardware includes engraved Grover Sta-Tite tuners, engraved trapeze tailpiece, engraved gold pickguard support, deco design truss rod cover, ebony bullseye endpin, 5 ply bound marbleized tortoise pickguard. Gibson compensated adjustable rosewood bridge.

Notes: The arrival of an original series Super 400 is rare enough hereabouts, and always cause for celebration. Introduced in 1935, the Super 400 was the first commercially produced super jumbo sized orchestra guitar; the largest, most ornate and most costly guitar the Gibson company had ever produced. With a whopping $400 price tag during the Great Depression, it's not surprising that very few of these ultra-deluxe models left the factory.

One of just 92 examples produced in this debut year, this splendid instrument shows the classic features of the first generation of Super 400 models. The label and factory order numbers both correspond to 1935, and the guitar shows the smaller upper bout, X- braced soundboard, 1 3/4" nut, small bound f-holes, riveted Grover Sta-Tite tuners and 24 3/4" scale of the earliest examples. The more compact upper bout greatly enhances player comfort on the lap or the strap, while the X-braced soundboard is justly prized for its augmented bass response and sustain.

Suffice to say, the craftsmen of Gibson left no surface undisturbed by decoration. The back and sides are carved of elegantly bookmatched curly maple, with deep, symmetrical rollers of flame. The tailpiece engraving is distinctly more ornate than following models, more 20's in its style than 30's. The hand engraved Grover Sta-Tite tuners are the most ornate version of the legendary machines, a premium appointment seen only on the earliest versions of the model. Pearl wedges are inset in the back of the peghead, and the heelcap is engraved in old English script, echoing the calligraphy on the label inside. Even the humble pickguard support bracket is inscribed with a charming art-deco motif.

Lovingly maintained in superb condition, the guitar is notably free of pick, buckle, thumb, or fingerboard wear. The lustrous dark Cremona sunburst finish is deeply aged, with only light normal scattered checking, mostly confined to the back. Apart from a pair of short grainline cracks soundly resealed at the bass f-hole, the instrument shows no other signs of structural repair for its many decades of service. The neck has a classic solid C profile, neither veed or clubby, unlike many guitars of its era. The action is smooth and low with a fresh high precision setup on the solid ebony fingerboard, with fine pro fretwork.

The neck angle is excellent, with ample room for bridge adjustment up or down. (A handwritten notation '1 1/8' on the label indicates that the guitar was built with a slightly enhanced neck angle, increasing the bridge height a bit for greater volume and cutting power, an option offered on the prewar L-5 as well.) And fittingly, the instrument is nestled in its original Gibson G&S Masterkraft deluxe plush hardshell case with covering of genuine pigskin. A special plus, the multi-ply marbleized tortoise pickguard remains in brilliant condition.

The voice is exceptionally deep and resonant, with the projection and clarity of tonewood aged for the better part of a century, with crystalline highs and a powerful, throbbing bass register. Combining the highest standards of playability, looks and rarity, this magisterial guitar represents a unique opportunity both for the serious player and collector alike. 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.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
















































































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