3/18/2016

1940s/50s Gibson L-30 "Hollowbody Electric" Guitar


A couple guys from Montreal came down today to browse the shop and bring this in -- for a surprise repair visit! Having come all that way, I'm not going to turn them down -- so this got a "while you wait" session late in the day. This only got light work -- some fret reseating, a fret level/dress, slight compensation on the bridge topper, new tuner buttons, and a good setup -- but look at all that's been done to it!

This guitar started out as a '42-'45 (probably '42) Gibson L-30 (carved-top, flatback) acoustic archtop guitar and, at some point, had its braces hacked-up, soundposts installed, and a '50s Gibson P-90 installed in the bridge position. Both tonally and functionally this reminds me ever so much of that wonderful old ES-150 I used to have. The guitar, as you'd expect, doesn't do a whole lot acoustically anymore but the plugged-in vibe is ridiculously delicious. The owner even has flatwound strings on it -- yum!


The top has a ton of pickwear, tons of old repaired cracks (and a punched-in section to the bass side of the pickup), and a replacement (but good) bridge. I'm almost wondering if someone brought this to Gibson for the wiring and pickup install sometime in the '50s as, like I said, the installation is really similar to that old ES-150 and the wiring harness looks like a legitimate Gibson rig.


The guitar has a Brazilian rosewood board and bridge, a mahogany neck, and solid maple back and sides. The top is solid, carved spruce.

This has that early-40s Gibson neck feel (medium C) and a 1 11/16" nut width. It's comfortable in that classic 40s/50s Gibson way and the 24 3/4" scale length is very familiar.


The frets were super, super worn on this guitar and we were lucky to save them for use at all. They feel like the height of Gibson frets from the 20s, now.






The old Kluson tuners rebuttoned nicely.


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