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1955 Gibson L-7C 'Hank Rodgers'
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Serial #: A-20494 FON: W-9444
Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .90/.99
Materials: Hand-carved solid spruce top; highly solid carved tiger-flame maple back; three-piece maple neck; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl block inlays; solid bone nut.
Hardware: Gibson 'McCarty' dual fingerrest floating pickup assembly, original compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge. Vintage correct hand-antiqued nickel triple parallelogram tailpiece and Kluson Deluxe tuners with single ring tulip keys.
Notes: The L-7C was produced in natural finish only between 1949 and 1959, and is dimensionally identical to the costly L-5C. Gibson never produced more than a few dozen examples in natural finish in any production year, and blonde guitars were premium priced as well, as they often displayed the most highly figured maple. This remarkable guitar is one of only 41 blonde L-7C models made in 1955, and it has quite a story.
Hank Rodgers was an renowned guitarist from British Columbia, and one of the first-call backup players for touring Country Western stars in Canada in the 50's and early '60s. Together with his fiddling brother Frankie, Hank toured with Opry legends including Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Lefty Frizzell and George Jones, eventually becoming one of the finest steel guitar players north of the border. This handsome guitar was Hank's own, and bears a number of highly distinctive features. Most notably, it is fitted with Gibson's Model 106-DCN 'Fingerrest' double pickup assembly. Known commonly as the 'McCarty' after Gibson's chief engineer, this innovative creation suspends P-90 style pickups in a specially designed floating pickguard. This rare double pickup version has master volume and tone controls, individual slide switches for each pickup. Two small positioning screws secure the unit in place, and it is connected to a standard 1/4" side-mounted jack. (A master mute switch, now disconnected, is present as well.) Introduced in 1948, the McCarty pickup replaced the DeArmond pickups in the Gibson catalog, and remained available until around 1970.
Another notable feature of this guitar is the fingerboard, which is fitted with L-5 style block inlays, presumbly a custom order. Finally, the guitar was once equipped with a Bigsby tremelo tailpiece, now replaced with a vintage correct triple parallelogram trapeze. (Installed without holes in the soundboard, the only trace of the Bigsby are some faint tan lines under the tailpiece.) The tuners are vintage correct Kluson Deluxes as well, also nicely antiqued. The frets are the narrow type used by Gibson in this era, and replaced probably sometime in the 60's. Carefully maintained, the guitar is remarkably free of pick, thumb, or fingerboard wear, and shows only a few random lacquer dings in the warmly ambered blonde finish. Two small cleats were installed at the bottom of the treble soundhole many decades ago, and we believe the guitar may have received some clear lacquer overspray at the same time.
The back and sides show solid tiger flame maple of exceptional intensity, and at just 5lb. 12oz. the guitar is notably lightweight and well balanced. The acoustic voice is brilliant and powerful, as befits it long professional career, and the single coil pickups convey the tone with clarity and detail. Action is smooth and low over a classic full C profile neck. And happily, the guitar is supplied with its original brown Lifton hardshell case, complete with original Gibson canvas case cover. A brilliant reminder of the glory days of southern music, played northern style. One only: 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.
Case: Original deluxe arched brown Lifton hardshell case with pink plush lining, and original Gibson case cover.