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1948 Gibson L-7P Custom Round Hole Cutaway
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Serial #: A-2645 FON: 3422-13
Body size at lower bout: 17", Nut: 1 11/16" Scale length: 25 1/2"
Finish: Cremona sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.
Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid maple back and sides; three-piece tiger maple neck; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and compensated bridge, block mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and "crown" headstock inlay; script pearl Gibson peghead logo, triple-bound body, 5-ply bound fingerboard.
Hardware: Original hardware includes nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece with raised parallelogram design, compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge, adjustable truss rod. Vintage correct hardware includes beveled 5 ply pickguard with aged binding, correct Kluson deluxe vintage style 16:1 tuners with antiqued housings.
Notes: Do not adjust your set: you're not seeing things. This one-of-a kind instrument is one of the rarest Gibsons ever made.
From the very first year the company offered the model in a cutaway configuration, the L-7P (or "Premiere"), this guitar is one of only 39 examples recorded in that debut year. And with its unique combination of features, we feel safe in concluding that this custom example is most likely the only one like it in existence. For starters, there's the round soundhole, in the style of the prewar L-4 model, the only one we've ever seen on an L-7. Then the block inlay, multi-bound fingerboard with pointed extension, as seen on the upmarket L-5. Someone thought long and hard about just what they wanted, and the good folks at Gibson made it happen.
Though we don't know who ordered this distinctive instrument, some clues to its history may be inferred from the labeling. Curiously, the guitar has not one but two original Gibson white oval labels. The first was applied in the customary location on the inside of the back, beneath where a bass f-hole would be placed in a conventional archtop. (This label bears the designation "L-7P", as would be expected in an example from that first year.) Similarly, a factory order number is stamped underneath where a treble f-hole would be as well. These markings suggest that the body was begun as a stock model, and was pulled off the line for completion as a special order. After the custom soundboard was fitted at the factory, a second label was then placed so as to be visible underneath the round soundhole. (This second label bears the same serial number, but the model name is inscribed as "L-7C", suggesting that the instrument, begun in late 1948, was completed the following year, after the catalog designation had been changed for the model.)
The voice of the guitar is every bit as compelling as its looks. The round hole design produces substantially deeper bass response than conventional f-hole instruments, while the arched body lends stronger projection and a quicker attack than ordinary flat tops can produce. At just 5lb. 7oz. the instrument is exceptionally lightweight, adding to its rich resonance and wonderful playability. She's been kept in excellent condition, with no cracks or pickwear, and only a bit of old fingerboard wear to show for her long career. Fretwork is high and level, with smooth low action, and the neck has a distinctly slim, modern feel, not clubby or veed in the least. All original sunburst finish is intact, and protected by a light dusting of vintage style nitrocellulose lacquer to the top only, which still shows some old checking and a few scattered dings near the soundhole and tailpiece. Finally, the back shows handsome blister maple figure under the deep walnut finish, and the sides are graced with tiger flame figure throughout.
D'Angelico, D'Aquisto and Epiphone all made a few round hole cutaways, but this Gibson is one of the rarest products of the Kalamazoo factory we've ever seen. Don't hold your breath waiting for another. Call now.
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.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" 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: Deluxe plush-lined arched hardshell case.
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