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NGD: gorgeous old 1930s acoustic

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by jayyj, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    Just picked this up last week, a wonderful featherweight Gibson L-1 from 1931. I'm a big fan of small bodied Gibsons, and have owned two for about fifteen years, a '26 L-1 and a '39 L-00, but the early 30s ones always interested me for their super light construction and this is a really nice example. The bracing is the lightest I've ever seen on a built for steel guitar, and actually lighter than a couple built for gut Martins of the era I've handled. It makes for a wonderfully responsive guitar although it's less of an all-rounder than the L-00. For fingerstyle it's perfect though.

    And I don't think Gibson ever bettered their first sunburst.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CNzlR0LiJVc/?igshid=12fs5xx74o1px
     
  2. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    Gorgeous indeed, don't think I've played any from the 20's/30's but have played a couple of the 'banner' era and they were very responsive, lovely to play, 1942/3 LG0 and Southern Jumbo.
     
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  3. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice score. Outstanding!
    Congrats.
     
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  4. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    WOW!!!! Gorgeous guitars you have! I'm sure they sound magnificent. Did the L-1 need any work? Those are really amazing guitars, congrats.
     
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  5. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    AWESOME!!!

    I was going to suggest Martin Retro monel strings, but it sure looks like a nickel alloy is already on there.

    1931 is the transition year from what I can tell. Before that, the L Series had the big circular body, then in '32 they had the bell shaped body like yours, but were joined at the 14th fret.

    1931 is the best year to find the bell shaped body joined at the 12th fret. Some Gibson re-issues had that configuration, but no way are they as light as yours.

    Those also record wonderfully, the bass comes through making it sound much bigger.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  6. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Beautiful!
     
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  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Cool!
     
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  8. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats on the new Gibson Jay.

    That's one beautiful sunburst top.

    I hope one day to run into an older Gibson like that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  9. sloppychops

    sloppychops Tele-Holic

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    Those are both great looking guitars! I especially like the burst on your newest one.
     
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  10. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice. Definitely a fingerpicker's guitar.
     
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  11. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yowza!
     
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  12. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Tele-Holic

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    Congrats on that fine old Gibson.
     
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  13. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I am actually not a fan of small body acoustic guitars, but I do believe that particular instrument would have a chance of converting me.

    Beautiful!!
     
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  14. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, those are amazing! Thanks for the pics.
     
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  15. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    Congratulations, that is a beautiful guitar. I recently picked up a 1920 L3, which is a completely different animal, but it has turned me on to pre-war Gibsons. Enjoy the new addition to your family.
     
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  16. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks! Not a great deal, there's a very slight hump in the fingerboard over the body - well, it's actually the whole top that has a bit of a ripple in it - so it was choking a tiny bit but the action was very low so for now I've just brought it up a touch, and I did some nut work but otherwise pretty good for a 90 year old. It's had a fairly recent neck set and a replacement bridge (and probably bridge plate) which are the usual big issues with these, so the big jobs have already been done.

    I don't think the L-1 was ever out of transition! I have one of the early small body L-1s and it's lovely as long as you play to its strengths - it's not a versatile guitar at all, but excellent at what it does. This '31 is probably more like the '26 than it is an L-00 but the larger body/soundhole and X brace (the '26 is H braced) make it much stronger in the bass.

    Gibson are really frustrating with reissues, particularly of the small body version which they've almost never got right (one of Ren Ferguson's last projects before leaving was a decent looking batch of high end L-1 copies but 99% of them are way off the original design in any of its variants) and the majority of the L-00 and Blues King models are too heavily built. I did have an L-20 for a while which was an early 90s rosewood 12 fretter, sounded great but it was built like a tank.

    I don't think anyone would dare make a reissue as light as this though, you'd have to make a leap of faith that the top was going to twist and belly and find a shape it's comfortable being in, so I can't see that being an easy sell on modern owners. I believe Waterloo do a Kel Croyden clone which is pretty light but I've not tried one.

    Still playing with strings, it currently has Elixir 11s, previously 80/20 12s. Retros I like but I'm not sure I want to run 12s on it, but I may still try a set at some point.

    I love those early archtop L models - I've had a couple and wish I'd kept one. They're very cool and unique sounding guitars.
     
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  17. JSMac

    JSMac Tele-Holic

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    Just beautiful!

    I just happened to spot this '34 L-00 on the local CL.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    Without a doubt one of the nicest guitars ever posted on here!
     
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  19. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm speechless. Pure beauty.
     
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  20. CJM3309

    CJM3309 Tele-Holic

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    Best thing posted in a little bit on here! Beautiful and thanks for sharing. Enjoy it
     
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