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1944 Gibson L-7

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Serial #: 97978, white oval label FON#: 2226-5

Body size at lower bout: 17", Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .92/.96

Materials: Solid carved bubble flame maple back and sides; carved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid tiger flame maple neck; rosewood fingerboard and bridge, split-parallelogram mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and "crown" headstock inlay; triple-bound body, bound fingerboard and headstock.

Hardware: Original compensated adjustable rosewood bridge; adjustable truss rod. Vintage correct hardware includes antiqued nickel open-back tuners; brushed chrome trapeze tailpiece, and bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: By 1944, in the depth of the Second World War, Gibson instrument production slowed to a trickle, as the firm devoted itself to strategic materiel. Only a skeleton crew was assigned to finish up back orders, making guitars from the war years the rarest of the 20th century. Materials were tightly rationed, so Gibson made creative use of its vast parts stock, making wartime instruments the most distinctive in design as well.

So busy was Gibson with defense work that the firm shipped only 241 labeled instruments of all types that year, the second lowest in company history. Introduced in the early 30's as an affordable alternative to Gibson's premium L-5 model, the L-7 had the same scale, bracing and materials as its upscale cousin, with the sole exception of a mahogany neck. But by the time this guitar left the factory, a maple neck was standard on the L-7 as well, leaving chiefly cosmetic differences between the sister models. As a consequence, the L-7 became the favorite of the working player, and Gibson's most popular full size archtop.

Crafted with nicely figured bubble maple back and sides, the guitar has a solid carved spruce soundboard, parallel braced for maximum volume and power. At barely over 6lb. this handsome instrument is light and well balanced, with a gently rounded traditional C profile neck. A true bandstand veteran, the guitar shows smooth thumbwear extending the length of the maple neck, highlighting its deep tiger flame figure. The soundboard and back show no apparent cracks, and only a single short, soundly cleated crack in the bass side near the waist. The subtly shaded mahogany sunburst finish is original as well, with some spot touchup mostly confined to the area underneath the pickguard, and the upper part of the neck.

The peghead is fitted with wartime style open back tuners, with vintage patina and smooth modern gearing, and the trapeze tailpiece is in the traditional style for the model as well. Fresh pro fretwork is bright and undented, with smooth low action over a high-precision setup. The voice has the clear, open volume of a soundboard well played-in over decades of vigorous strumming, with powerful projection and pronounced reverb in the upper register. And while we'll probably never know the actual identity of its longtime owner, his initials are in no doubt, as they remain faintly inscribed just below the heelcap: 'F.P.M."

Ensconced within its original brown arched hardshell case, a superb player from Gibson's rarest era, with the tone only decades of rhythm can produce. One only: call now.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as required; 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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