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1936 Gibson Super 400

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Serial #: 93738 white oval label, hand calligraphed

Body size at lower bout: 18" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 11/16"

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 hardware includes compensated rosewood bridge with pearl wedge inlays ; extremely ornate hand-engraved gold trapeze tailpiece with Super 400 script logo; Grover Imperial tuners; deco design truss rod cover; engraved gold pickguard support; ebony bullseye endpin. Vintage correct 5 ply bound marbled tortoise pickguard.

Notes: The arrival of an original series Super 400 is rare enough hereabouts, and always cause for celebration. Introduced in late 1934, 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. In 1935, the first full year of production, only 63 Super 400 guitars were built, and the year this stunning example rolled off the line, production had dwindled to a mere 29 instruments total. Indeed, in his book on the model, VanHoose lists a total of only 92 first version Super 400 guitars altogether. With its graceful smaller upper bout, extravagant engraving, and handsome bubble maple body, this guitar is an exceptionally attractive original issue Super 400.

This remakable instrument includes the classic features of the earliest versions, with the 12 1/2" upper bout, 24 3/4" scale, and X-braced soundboard, but exhibits the larger soundholes of the later versions of the model, making this surely one of the very first examples to be so constructed. The back and sides are crafted of bookmatched blister maple, a scarce variety virtually unavailable to luthiers today.

Suffice to say, the craftsmen of Gibson left no surface undisturbed by decoration. The tailpiece engraving is distinctly more ornate than following models, more 20's in its style than 30's. The tuners are the earliest and most graceful version of the legendary Grover Imperial, the first 16x1 gear tuner made. Pearl wedges are inset in the back of the peghead, and even on the Brazilian Rosewood bridge itself. Even the humble pickguard support bracket is inscribed with an art-deco motif.

She's been maintained in magnificent condition, without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and the body shows neither cracks nor structural repairs. The original dark Cremona sunburst finish is deeply aged and shows no more than a few traces of scattered checking beneath a light dusting of some older clear lacquer. The neck profile is remarkably comfortable, a pleasing gentle C, with neither the hard vee or the clubbiness associated with many prewar guitars. Enhancing ease of play is the smaller upper bout, a body distinctly more comfortable to hold and play than later versions. The truss rod works perfectly, and the action is low over a wonderfully level solid ebony fingerboard with fresh pro fretwork. And fittingly, the instrument is nestled in its original Gibson G&S Masterkraft deluxe plush hardshell case with covering of genuine leather.

The voice is clear, open and deeply resonant, with a firm low register, sparkling highs, and the wamth only these big bodies can deliver. This superb guitar combines the highest standards of playability, looks and rarity, and represents a unique opportunity both for the serious player and collector alike.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as necessary; 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-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" 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.

Case: Original Gibson G&S Masterkraft brown leather deluxe plush hardshell case.

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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