12/11/2016

1942 Gibson L-00 Flattop Guitar





Built nearly a decade after the last L-00 I worked on, this 1942 L-00 has some modernized features but retains the healthy, robust, mids-centered punchy tone that these are known for. Purists will catch the over-large replacement bridge right away (more on that down the post) and the replaced tuner buttons, saddle, and pins -- but otherwise the guitar is quite original and pretty darn clean for its age.

This one was built in wartime (an H-suffix factory order number tells the tale) and, thus, is a "last of its breed" guitar as design elements changed a bit after the war. It has a solid spruce top, one-piece solid mahogany back, solid mahogany sides and neck, and a Brazilian rosewood fretboard. The only cracks I've found on it are a small, repaired, hairline on the back upper bout, a tiny center-seam separation (not really, though) at the end of the fretboard on the top, and an almost-crack (not open as it's directly over bracing) to the side of the pickguard. The finish is in good shape and gleams beautifully with just a minor amount of use-wear and pickwear around the soundhole.

Work included replacing a funky old bridge, a new saddle, fret level/dress, new pins, new tuner buttons, and general setup. It plays great with 1/16" DGBE and 3/32" EA action at the 12th fret and is strung with 12s.



...right? It's gorgeous.

The top has a typical, minor amount of "belly" directly under the bridge. I like to call it "doming" on Gibsons as they seem to get about 1/32" to 1/16" of overall deflection over time in a domed shape under the bridge rather than a "wave" or "curl" behind the bridge like on some other makes. No worries.


The original, ebony nut survives -- amazingly.


The neck has a very comfortable medium, C-shaped profile that's just a hair larger than 1950s Gibson profiles and the truss works perfectly. The Brazilian board has a 12" radius.


Don't you love the multi-ply binding? It's bound on the top and back.



The firestripe pickguard is lovely!



Here's my replacement, rosewood, bridge. I know it's not correct at all, but I didn't have many choices. The top had been mucked-up finish-wise from the installation of...


...this same-size, four-bolted, warped-out monster. My work included removing that, repairing minor top damage, filling the old/second set of pin-holes, and then gluing, installing, and color-matching as best as I could, the new bridge.


The end result is at least vintage-ish and has a drop-in, compensated saddle for easy adjustment. The pins are ebony. The new bridge is a little taller by 1/16"or so than a comparable original Gibson bridge, so its slightly-over 1/16" height on the saddle belies the fact that there's plenty of airspace under the strings and over the body.



The back is very pretty, one-piece, solid mahogany.



The original tuners got new tuner buttons as all of the originals were missing. After a lube, they're working just fine.


The whole aesthetic is painfully classy.


Here's that stable, repaired hairline on the back. It runs from under the neckblock and terminates at the first back brace.







The endpin is black plastic.



A rigid, foam, "hardshell" flight-style case comes with it.

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