3/28/2013

c.1958 Gibson L-48 Archtop Guitar




This clean L-48 dates to 1958 though I'd had it pegged down to between '55 and '60 before I found the factory order number inked just above the treble f-hole on the back. I just finished a light setup of the guitar and it's now being consigned through the shop by a friend of mine.

Because it's post-1954, it has a laminated mahogany top, mahogany sides, and a laminated maple back. This means that it's got a pressed, rather than carved, top. From a player's point of view this isn't always a bad or less desirable thing: pressed tops tend to be more stable and have more consistent tone and as long as the guitar is made well they can sound pretty darn good (as this one does). With the current strings on it (they feel like 56w-12 phosphor bronze) it's got more than enough volume to cut through and a good, rumbly bass.


This guitar is all-original except for the tailpiece hanger and endpin. The finish is also in fantastic shape save for the (very typical) weather-checking that you find on almost any old guitar. The sunburst is nice and subdued yet glows richly.


Please excuse a bit of dust on the headstock.

This guitar seems to have not been played all that much and stored safely away in a case which is the reason it's so clean. The frets have only the most minor wear and don't even need a leveling or dressing after all these years.


Faux-pearl dots in a rosewood board. The neck profile on this is similar to other late 50s and early to mid 60s Gibsons I've played, meaning: fast! Folks who like slick, speedy necks will enjoy the feel of this one.


The original, adjustable rosewood bridge is all intact as well. Note the slight scuffing of the finish under the feet: someone dabbed a little glue to keep the bridge in one place a long time ago. Unfortunately they had it in the wrong spot for proper intonation, so when I moved it the outline of the glue dabs creeps out from the front edge of the bridge.




This has that typical 16" Gibson archtop shape and feel with the 3" depth sides. I love the way these sit in the lap -- it's like playing a much smaller guitar but with the benefit of the big wide lower bout and power of a full-size guitar.






The original Kluson Deluxe tuners work just fine.



There are a couple scratches here at the endpin area and then a "buckle rash" on the lower bout rear, but otherwise the guitar is super clean. Note the replacement hanger for the trapeze tailpiece: the original is in the case but it's long since snapped.


This comes with a good hard Gator case, too!

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