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1936 Gibson L-75

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FON #: 811 B-3, stamped on neck block

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, back and sides, bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.

Hardware: 100% original hardware includes compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge, original raised-diamond trapeze tailpiece, contoured tortoise pickguard, Grover nickel-plated Sta-Tite open back tuners.

Notes: One of Gibson's rarest archtop models, the elusive L-75 went through a different permutation in each of its first four years of production. Debuting in 1932, the L-75 premiered with a 14 3/4" flat-backed maple body. By the following year, the body had been converted to mahogany and fitted with a fanciful pearloid fingerboard and peghead, ala Gibson's contemporaneous Century of Progress flat top. The following year, the body of was enlongated and the neck fitted with a dot inlay Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. After no less than four different designs in as many years, this ever-mutable model assumed its final form in 1935, with a 16" body identical in dimensions to the 20's era L-5.

Though functionally similar to the 14 fret L-4 of the early 30's, the L-75 retained a solid carved mahogany body, unique in the Gibson line. The resulting design made it one of the lightest archtops ever produced, and lent the voice an appealing warmth and clarity. In addition, the later L-75 was finished with a distinctive lateral sunburst on the sides, a pattern very rarely seen on any Gibson guitar. This remarkable example has been preserved in stunning under-the-bed condition, with 100% original hardware, finish, and case. With a formally shaded dark tobacco sunburst over a nicely bookmatched handcarved solid spruce top, the guitar shows no cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and retains its original frets in gleaming condition. All original hardware includes nickel raised-parallelogram tailpiece, compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge, original contoured tortoise pickguard, and nickel Grover Sta-Tite keys.

The neck is comfortable, with a traditional vee profile, and the action is smooth and low over a nicely level Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. The top is carved very delicately, and the lightweight body weighs in at an astounding 4lb. 5 oz. This feather light construction is a clue to the extraordinary voice of this instrument. Clear, throaty and unusually transparent, the guitar simply thunders in the bass register, with an extremely 'wet' natural reverb in the treble range. It's the sort of wide open voice one associates with instruments that have been battered for a lifetime, all the more surprising in such a pristine example. Combining the superior projection of the arched soundboard with the enhanced bass response and sustain of a flat top, this guitar is an extremely versatile instrument suitable for a wide variety of musical styles.

Though Gruhn lists the L-75 as produced through 1939, there is no trace of this scarce model in any Gibson catalog after 1936, the year this exceptional example rolled off the line. It's the only one we've found to date, and given how rarely this Depression Era guitar is seen in the vintage market, there can be little doubt that this shiny specimen remains one of the finest examples of this rare model in existence. Call now: the next one could be some time in coming, and we'd be amazed to see a cleaner one anywhere.

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 plush lined arched hardshell case.


















































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