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1954 Gibson L-7

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Serial #: A-18007 Factory order #: 4677-30

Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .89/.95

Materials: Solid carved solid spruce top; solid carved flamed maple back; three-piece maple neck; solid rosewood fingerboard with split-parallelogram mother of pearl inlays.

Hardware: Vintage correct aged hardware includes Kluson Deluxe tuners with single ring tulip keys, wide bevel 5-ply pickguard, triple parallelogram trapeze tailpiece with rosewood cover plate. Rosewood compensated adjustable bridge with LR Baggs T-bridge piezo saddles, 1/4" endpin jack. Fishman Pro-EQ outboard preamp included.

Notes: In Gibson's venerable Kalamazoo factory, most instruments until the early 60's were stamped or inscribed inside with a tracking number, which indicated when work on the item began. Known as factory order numbers, the year in which they were assigned is often earlier than the year of the serial number on the label, which was not affixed until the instrument actually shipped.

By the early '50s, sales of old-school acoustic archtops declined rapidly in the rage for the newly popular electric models. And with a factory order number from 1950, this lovely guitar appears to have languished at the plant for some four years until it finally left Kalamazoo. (Confirming the tale is the peghead logo, whose dot over the lowercase 'i' was attached to the capital 'G' until 1951.) So there you have it.

In any case, she's a lovely old box, whose flame maple neck makes it structurally identical to its costly L-5 cousin in all but cosmetics. The solid carved maple back is handsomely figured as well, beneath the dark walnut stain standard on the model. One of just 23 shipped that year, it's a late example of the classic noncut 17" body with a carefully graduated solid spruce soundboard, parallel braced for maximum projection and punch.

Nicely maintained, the instrument shows no apparent cracks or structural repairs, with all original sunburst lacquer finish showing some light to moderate playwear, mostly around the pickguard, bridge and neck heel. The guitar is fitted with vintage correct aged hardware including Kluson Deluxe tuners, a wide-bevel 5-ply pickguard, and a hand antiqued trapeze tailpiece, with a secret.

Beneath its hand crafted rosewood cover plate, secured with Velcro, rests a 9V battery, which powers active LR Baggs T-bridge saddles, which are individually routed into the custom rosewood bridge. As each string has its own dedicated transducer element, the result is an amplified tone of surpassing balance and faithfulness, further enhanced by the Fishman Pro-EQ preamp which is included. Suffice to say, we have yet to hear a piezo archtop bridge system approaching this level of fidelity. (But don't bother looking for this rig off the shelf: you'll need a darn good luthier to install it.)

Weighing just 5lb 6oz, the guitar is happily light in weight, and balances nimbly on the lap or the strap. The neck has a classic full C profile, and the action is smooth and low over a fresh high precision setup. The acoustic voice is notably full and forward, with excellent clarity and projection, and warm, woody overtones. And all ensconced in its well traveled brown Gibson Lifton plush lined hardshell case.

Better late than never, this unique guitar was well worth waiting for. 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. Action set to 4-5/64" at the 12th fret, with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings.
























































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