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1941 Gibson L-4, Long Scale

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Serial #: 97060, white Kalamazoo label FON#: 3376G-11

Body size at lower bout: 16", Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .91/.94, 1st/10th frets.

Materials: Solid handcarved bookmatched spruce top; solid 3 piece maple neck with walnut centerstripe; arched tiger flame maple sides and back; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, split-parallelogram mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and fleur-de-lis headstock inlay; prewar fat script pearl Gibson logo; triple-bound body; bound fingerboard; bone nut.

Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes Waverly open back tuners, raised parallelogram trapeze tailpiece, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge, adjustable truss rod. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: Since its introduction in 1912, the Gibson L-4 has been remarkably consistent in design, with a 16" lower bout, a scale of 24 3/4" in length, and a solid mahogany neck. So influential has been this design that to this day, virtually all 16" archtops have been built with that same short scale fingerboard, no matter the maker. So imagine our surprise when we first encountered this extremely rare variant of the model, produced only in a few months before the advent of the US entry into WWII.

On the standard 16" parallel braced L-4 body is a factory installed neck, with a long scale 25 1/2" fingerboard and extended peghead, as standard on the L-5 and other 17" Gibson archtops. And the neck is solid maple as well, rather than the usual mahogany. Research has uncovered a handful of similar examples, all from the early 1940's. When regular production resumed after the war, the L-4 promptly reverted to its prewar specs. So what gives?

Here's our best guess. In 1939, Gibson introduced the natural finish as a premium option exclusive to its top-line L-5 and Super 400 models. So popular was the new finish that the firm extended the blonde finish option to its L-7 and L-4 archtops the following year, quickly switching the necks to maple to match the bodies. At this point, Gibson would be able to use a standard maple neck blank on all its L-series archtops, with only cosmetic modifications to differentiate the various models. So for the first time ever, Gibson made a long scale 16" archtop. And also, as it turned out, for the last time as well.

This striking guitar is the only example of this rare model in natural finish we have seen to date, and is graced with tiger flame maple of exceptional intensity throughout. And unlike postwar versions, this guitar retains the suspended fingerboard, ideal for placement of a floating pickup. Body and neck show no cracks or repairs, with all original finish and nickel hardware, and a vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, crafted from an original template. Carefully maintained, the guitar shows little in the way of pick or buckle wear, with only scattered finish nicks and normal age checking in the warmly ambered natural blonde finish.

At just 5lb 6oz, the instrument is notably light in weight, and well balanced on the lap. The back and sides show intensely figured flame maple, with a soundboard of fine grained bookmatched solid carved spruce. Fresh pro fretwork and a high precision setup make for smooth low action, over a classic gentle C profile neck. And all in its original arched black plush lined hardshell case, complete with a vintage box of Black Diamond Strings.

Combining the clarity and comfort of Loar's 16" L-5 with the power of the 17" neck, this unique instrument is as rare as it is handsome. 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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