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1963 Gibson Super 400CES Venetian

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Serial #: 61761

Body size at lower bout: 18" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut width: 1 11/16"

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched fine grained solid carved spruce top; figured solid carved fiddleback maple back and sides; solid tiger flame maple neck; ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl block fingerboard and peghead inlay; 5-ply body, neck, head and pickguard binding, triple bound f-holes, polished bone nut.

Hardware: 100% original hardware includes twin gold Patent Sticker humbucking pickups, engraved gold-plated tailpiece, gold Kluson Sealfast tuners, 5-ply bound tortoise pickguard, gold reflector cap knobs and three way switch, truss rod cover with "Custom" imprint, compensated adjustable gold Tuneomatic bridge with Brazilian rosewood base; original pots, caps and wiring harness.

Notes: Introduced in 1934, the Super 400 is the pinnacle of the Gibson line, the largest and most expensive production guitar of its era. The cutaway version made its debut in 1939, and the first electric model, the Super 400CES, arrived in 1951, equipped with twin P-90 single coil pickups. Alnico V pickups were introduced in 1955, and Gibson's famed Patent Applied For humbucking pickups were added to the model in late 1957.

In 1960, Gibson abandonded the classic curvilinear Venetian cutaway profile for a new look: the Florentine cutaway body. With its sharp pointed contour, this design remained standard on the model until the end of the decade, along with the arched laminate back, another unique feature of the era. Tiny production numbers for this most costly model meant that many examples were custom ordered. And the intriguing features of this striking instrument suggest that at least one customer was nostalgic for the classic look of the original Super 400CES of the 50's.

One of just 14 blondes from its model year, this remarkable instrument is built with the rounded Venetian cutaway body, a trademark of the Super 400C throughout the 40's and 50's. In addition, the guitar is crafted with a solid carved back of bookmatched bigleaf maple, in vivid contrast to the one-piece veneer backs of the typical 60's model. With its extravagant fiddleback flame, the back on this instrument is masterfully bookmatched for maximum symmetry in the woodgrain figure. Small ladder braces around each pickup demonstrate conclusively that the electronics were factory installed at the time of manufacture, as well as the tone bars, which are intact and positioned around the pickups. (Interestingly, the label is designated as 'S-400C', suggesting that the guitar was started as an acoustic model, then electrified before completion, presumably as a custom order.) No similar guitar of this era is pictured in Van Hoose's definitive book on the model, nor do we know of another: this intriguing guitar may well be the lone Venetian Super 400CES of the 1960's.

Lovingly maintained, the guitar remans in 100% original condition, with all factory finish, hardware and electronics, without cracks, pick, thumb or fingerboard wear. Remarkably, the warmly ambered golden blonde finish is almost entirely free of the typical finish checking one normally expects in an instrument of its vintage as well. Apart from some normal plating wear on the pickup covers, and a trace of light buckle worming on the back, the instrument appears to have slumbered peacefully for over half a century.

With a fine grained, quartersawn soundboard of solid carved spruce, this guitar shows a dramatic 3 piece tiger flame neck as well. The neck has a sleek effortless feel, with a gentle medium C profile, full 1 11/16" nut, and a solid ebony fingerboard that glides smoothly under the fingers, with a fresh high-precision setup over immaculate original frets. The voice is incomparably rich and luxuriant, as befits an instrument of its imperial pedigree, with the buttery warmth that's the signature of the super jumbo body. Nestled in her original Gibson Faultless plush lined case, this unique instrument offers the best of both decades: true 60's humbucking tone with classic 50's design. The rarest of opportunities for player and collector alike. One only, call now.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, crowned 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 strings (.013-.056). 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: Original black Gibson logo Faultless arched hardshell case with gold plush lining.







































































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