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1984 Gibson Citation

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Serial #: 81584003, orange oval label, soundboard signed by Custom Shop luthier Aaron Cowles

Finish: original violin finish, nitrocellulose type

Body size at lower bout:17" Body depth: 3" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut width: 1 11/16"'

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; highly figured quilted maple back and sides; 5 piece tiger flame neck with walnut centerstripes; solid ebony fingerboard with high color abalone block fingerboard inlay; abalone "fleur-de-lis" inlay with prewar thin script Gibson logo on peghead face and back; deluxe 9-ply body binding, 5-ply peghead and fingerboard binding, 3 ply back binding, triple bound f-holes, solid bone nut.

Hardware: 100% original 24 carat gold hardware includes engraved trapeze tailpiece; Kluson Sealfast tuners with tulip keys; gold floating Gibson BJB humbucking pickup with 1/4" jack mounted to underside of pickguard; solid ebony bridge with abalone inlay; quintuple-bound burled maple pickguard; solid abalone truss rod cover.

Notes: Introduced in 1969, the Gibson Citation was the most ornate, labor intensive and costly production instrument the firm had ever made. With a staggering $2500 price tag, the guitar was over twice as expensive as the Super 400CN, until then Gibson's top-line acoustic archtop. An ultra-premium, presentation grade instrument, the Citation embodied the highest standards of custom handcrafted luthiery, built with a tap-tuned x-braced top, and extravagantly figured tonewoods. With its rainbow Paua abalone inlay and brilliant 24 carat gold plating, the Citation was the most extravagantly appointed archtop Gibson had made to date.

The initial release produced a scant eight Citation guitars between 1969 and 1971. According to most sources, the Citation was reissued between 1979 and 1983, in another run of about a dozen more examples. However, this remarkable instrument demonstrates that at least one Citation was produced the following year, as it is clearly labeled with a serial number from 1984. After a hiatus of almost a decade, the model was revived again in 1993, and has remained in production to the present day, on custom order only.

Several features suggest that this guitar may be unique, even among Citations. The light true nitro finish is applied in a violin hue, a richly burnished tone we've yet to see on any other example. And notably, the 20's style thin script logo and fleur-de-lis of the headplate are replicated on the reverse side of the headstock as well, another motif that may be specific to this instrument alone.

This striking guitar is carved of rare, ultra-premium quilted maple of extraordinary depth and intensity. The polychrome abalone fleur-de-lis in the peghead is echoed in the bridge feet; one of Gibson's most venerable inlay motifs, it is complemented by the clouds in the fingerboard, a tribute to Epiphone's top-line archtops. Lovingly maintained in museum quality condition, this guitar has 100% original hardware and electronics, and is without pick, buckle, thumb, fingerboard or fretwear. Apart from a small finish nick near the bass soundhole, and a pair of small imprints on the peghead binding above the nut, most likely from a guitar hanger, the instrument is otherwise without evidence of playwear.

The gentle D profile neck is slim and inviting, with smooth low action over finely dressed original medium jumbo frets, on a solid ebony fingerboard. The voice of the tap-tuned X-braced soundboard is delightful: clear, woody and deeply resonant, with excellent balance and abundant natural reverb. Close inspection reveals an inscription on the centerstrip underneath the soundboard as follows: 'Custom tuned and built by Aaron Cowles.' One of Gibson's top craftsmen for over two decades, Cowles set up his own shop after the company left Kalamazoo, and has built celebrity grade custom guitars for such luminaries as Travis picker Tom Bresh ever since.

As befits an instrument of it's exalted pedigree, this instrument is fitted in the best as well: a Calton deluxe ATA certified molded fiberglass hardshell flight case, with deep velour lining, the best protection a guitar can get. A one-of-a-kind masterpiece, this guitar is a spectacular example of Gibson's very best, combining exceptional tone, playability and beauty in one memorable instrument. 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.



















































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