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1936 Gibson L-4

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Serial #: 92831, 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 Brazilian rosewood bridge, original nickel trapeze tailpiece, bound firestripe tortoise pickguard, nickel Grover Sta-Tite tuners with "butterbean" keys. PUTW Powerstrip under-bridge pickup with 1/4" endpin jack.

Notes: 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 it 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 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 is in superb original condition, with a subtly applied dark tobacco sunburst over a nicely 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 butterbean style nickel keys. Tone and playability have been optimized with a fresh set of frets on a precision leveled fingerboard, and a single hairline crack between the tailpiece and bridge has been immaculately resealed. The neck is comfortable, with a classic prewar vee profile. The top is carved very delicately, and the lightweight body sings like a bird: wide open, clear and transparent, with exceptional brilliance and balance. An added plus is the PUTW Powerstrip under-bridge pickup with 1/4" endpin jack, for exceptionally accurate acoustic tone. 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 red-stripe hardshell case.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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