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1966 Gibson L-7C Special
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Serial #: 849260, orange oval label
Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 19/32" Neck depth: .83/.97, 1st/10th frets
Finish: Sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.
Materials: Hand-carved solid spruce top; solid figured maple back; three-piece maple neck; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with split-parallelogram mother of pearl inlays; solid bone nut.
Hardware: Original gold hardware includes Gibson trapeze tailpiece with raised parallelogram crossbar, Grover Imperial tuners, adjustable compensated inlaid ebony bridge. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, gold Armstrong floating humbucking pickup, thumbwheel volume and tone controls, 1/4" jack.
Notes: The lustrous lacquer finish is fully sunburst, on the top, back, sides and neck. The body is carved of extravagantly flamed tiger maple, including the 3 piece neck. All hardware is gold plated, including Grover Imperial tuners, and a pearl-inlaid ebony bridge, all factory installed. Even the soundholes are bound. So why isn't this handsome guitar labeled as an L-5? Excellent question.
The Gibson L-7C was produced between 1948 and 1972, and was constructed with the same body size, bracing and scale length as its upscale cousin, the L-5C. And like the L-5, this classic model features all solid, all carved construction, including a back carved of highly figured bookmatched flame maple.
Those familiar with Gibson's popular L-7 model will recall that it was traditionally offered with sunburst finish on the soundboard only. (Many a time have we lamented Gibson hiding gorgeous flamed maple under the standard dark walnut finish.) Hardware on the L-7 is typically nickel plated, with Kluson Deluxe tuners and a plain rosewood bridge. But apart from the inlay pattern and the tailpiece design, this most unusual L-7 is essentially an L-5 in every respect, save the label itself.
The answer, of course, is engraved in graceful script lettering right on the truss rod cover: "L-7C Special". We believe the guitar was not a one-off, as we can recall seeing at least one other example with similar specs some years ago. Our theory is that a small batch of these deluxe L-7 models may hev been created on special order by a retailer or distributor of the day. Just how many of the 31 L-7C guitars shipped by Gibson that year got this upscale treatment is anyone's guess, but if more than a tiny handful were made, we'd be mightily surprised.
Weighing in at barely 5lb 15oz, this remarkable instrument is wonderfully light and well balanced, with a clear, even acoustic voice, faithfully amplified by the floating Armstrong humbucking pickup. Meticulously maintained, the guitar has 100% original finish and hardware, and appears free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Apart from some longitudinal checking on the highly figured maple back, the guitar shows few signs of age altogether.
The neck has the elegant, gentle D profile of the era, ideal for those unwilling to grapple with a big, bulky neck. A fine pro neck set has brought the bridge to full height, with smooth, low action over a fresh high-precision setup. An instrument whose striking looks are matched only by its exceptional rarity, this striking guitar offers true 60's tone, with effortless playability. 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 is set from 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with medium gauge .012 nickel roundwound strings.
Case: Original Gibson deluxe arched black plush lined hardshell case.