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Gibson 1937 Super 400
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Serial #: 94265 white oval label, hand calligraphed. FON#: 1297C-1
Body size at lower bout: 18" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .90/1.01, 1st/10th fret
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: 100% original hardware including compensated rosewood bridge with pearl wedge inlays (extra bridge saddle included); ornate hand-engraved gold trapeze tailpiece with Super 400 script logo; 5 ply bound marbled tortoise pickguard; gold Grover Sta-Tite tuners with individually engraved keys; art-deco design truss rod cover; engraved gold pickguard support.
Notes: Introduced in 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 top-line models left the factory. In his book on the model, Van Hoose writes that these first model 400s, with their graceful smaller upper bout and extravagant engraving, were made only through 1936. This example, however bears both a serial and factory order number from 1937, and Gibson's ledger confirms it was shipped to a customer named Volkwein in Pennsylvania on April 13th of that year. One of only 84 examples of all types produced in '37, this magnificent instrument would have to be one of the very last original design Super 400s ever made.
With the classic features of those earliest Super 400s, this guitar has the nimble 24 3/4" scale, X-braced top, and small bound f-holes, as well as 100% original finish and hardware, including the original marbelized pickguard in splendid shape. The back and sides are positively aboil with intensely figured bubble (or blister) maple, a highly decorative variety virtually unobtainable today. Well played and well cared for, its original Cremona sunburst finish is beautifully aged, with the back of the neck worn as smooth as an old cello (a clue to its magnificently played-in voice) and a bit of normal arm and buckle wear on the body.
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. Each individual tuner button is hand engraved in a graceful floral pattern, as seen on Martin's fanciest Style 45 guitars. The heelcap is hand inscribed in Old English script, which is echoed on the hand-lettered label inside the body. Pearl wedges are inset in the back of the peghead, and even on the bridge itself. Even the humble pickguard support bracket is inscribed with an art-deco motif. The neck profile is remarkably comfortable, 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 smooth and low over a fresh high precision setup.
Particularly notable is the voice: the X-braced soundboard is clear, open and deeply resonant, with the richness and warmth only a well played example can offer. This superb instrument combines the highest standards of playability, appearance and rarity, and represents a unique opportunity both for the serious player and collector alike. One only: call now
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-.056). 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.
Case: Original deluxe brown leather plush lined hardshell case.