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Need help identifying vintage acoustic (maybe a Gibson)

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by KokoTele, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I could use some help identifying this old guitar. It looks for all the world like a 1929-ish Gibson L-0, but I can't confirm. There is no logo on the headstock, no label or markings of any kind inside.

    Here's what I know:
    13 3/4" wide at the lower bout
    24 1/2" scale
    X-bracing
    W/B/W rosette
    Single ply binding on top and back
    All mahogany, including the fretboard.

    A customer brought it to me to make playable again. It was her great grandfather's guitar. It needs a lot of work, and I want to be able to advise her whether or not it makes financial sense. I doubt this guitar will be for sale.

    Any information or resources folks can offer would be much appreciated!


    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1452889599.363402.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1452890121.971111.jpg
     
  2. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool! Looks like an old Recording King I found in a thrift shop. I'll see if I can dig up a picture, but other than the finish (mine was sunburst) and no Recording King on headstock, it looks very similar. BTW, I was told it was made by Gibson. It needed a neck reset, but I got it semi-playable with a few adjustments. It was a killer slide guitar and loud, rich and deep toned while playing open position chords.
     
  3. J. Hayes

    J. Hayes Friend of Leo's

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    That definitely looks like a Gibson headstock... so it's probably a Gibson or at least made by Gibson for another company.....JH in Va.
     
  4. LeftyAl

    LeftyAl Friend of Leo's

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    No expert here,but the trussrod cover only has two screws.Gibson is the only one that I've ever seen use only two screws on their cover.But I'm no expert on these things
     
  5. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Contact Gibson and I bet they'll help you out.
     
  6. Kerry Vance

    Kerry Vance Tele-Meister

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    Are there any numbers stamped on the inside? If it is an old Gibson, ordinarily there will be a batch number rubber stamped and maybe a handwritten number after that.
     
  7. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Nope. At least according to Gruhn. In the Mar. 2016 VG he says in an article about Washburns that all off-brand Gibsons did not have an adjustable truss rod. (See p. 42).

    It sure seems modelled after Gibson though. They better watch it or they'll get sued.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  8. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    That sure is a cool looking guitar. It might be worth pondering/discussing whether the angle of "financial sense" is the primary consideration. It sounds like you don't expect the owner to try to sell it. If no sale is anticipated, the issue of economic return doesn't really have any bearing. In that case, the investment required to make it playable could be justified solely on an emotional basis due to wanting to make great grandpa's guitar playable again and the fact that it looks to be a super cool instrument (deep down).

    Anyway - that is the kind of rationalization I would use if I were the owner!

    Keep us posted.
     
  9. BopT

    BopT Tele-Afflicted

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    It is a mid 1920s Gibson an L1 I believe. There lack of Gibson on the headstock indicates that it is probably the L1. The try's rod dates it after 1924. If memory serves. Nice.
     
  10. BopT

    BopT Tele-Afflicted

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    It is a mid 1920s Gibson an L1 I believe. There lack of Gibson on the headstock indicates that it is probably the L1. The try's rod dates it after 1924. If memory serves. Nice.
     
  11. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never noticed that before but just looked at my J185 and "bingo", only two screws. My Taylor has three.
     
  12. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    With help from the Martin guitar forum, we were able to determine that it is a late 1929 L-0. The combination of x bracing and the simple bridge only occurred then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  13. Marlin B

    Marlin B Tele-Meister

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    I have a late 20s L1, The Gibson is painted on head with gold paint, this has same shape body, same carved bridge. The model Robert Johnson was holding in the only pic of him holding a guitar. Mine has a number stamped on end of neck inside. If it is an L1, it has value. Keith R plays one in latest doc, SRV has one on stage with in in video.
     
  14. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    You are very misinfomed.

    In the studio photo where he is dressed in a suit Johnson is holding an L1 with 12 frets to the body. In the photo booth shot where he is smoking a cigarette he is holding a 14 fret to the body guitar which is thought by most to be a Kalamazoo KG 14.

    I have an early 1940 Kalamazoo Oriole 14 frets to the body with a ladder braced Adirondack Spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides which are consistent specs with the KG14 (unlike the later Orioles that had laminate maple back and sides).

    My guitar has very similar tonal characteristics to Johnson's recorded sound.
     
  15. Marlin B

    Marlin B Tele-Meister

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  16. Marlin B

    Marlin B Tele-Meister

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    You are right, there is another photo of RJ holding another guitar.
     
  17. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very cool old guitar.
    Just curious... What work does it need?
     
  18. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The family elected not to do any work to it and just keep it as an heirloom.

    The top had bellied badly and the bridge had lifted. The glue on the braces likely softened while being stored in a hot attic, so those would have needed to be removed and re-glued, the bridge removed and reglued, and the neck reset. The frets were only about .025" wide and were badly worn, so it those would have been replaced and it would have gotten a new nut.

    Despite being rare, it's not very collectible and even in excellent condition it would have been worth maybe $2500. I think that after having so much work done to it, this one might have fetched $2000 on a good day and with a little luck, and was probably not sellable in its current condition.

    I tried to counsel them on how to store it, but I suspect that the only part of the message they heard was "storing it in the attic caused this damage," so it will get stored in a basement. I gave them a standing cash offer, but I doubt this guitar will see the light of day again.
     
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