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1917 The Gibson L-1 Archtop


Serial # 33030

Introduced in 1902, the Gibson L-1 archtop is one of the company's most venerable models. Gibson's unique carved body guitars were a revolutionary innovation: with their arched soundboards and backs, and tailpiece-and-bridge construction, the instruments were specifically designed for steel strings, and produced greatly increased volume and projection over the diminutive parlor guitars of the day. The 13″ 'Concert' size body was standardized on the L-1 in 1908, along with the 13 fret neck, bound fingerboard, and slanted script logo.

At a mere 3 lb. 13oz. this instrument is exceptionally light in weight, with its finely carved parallel-braced soundboard offering remarkable clarity, definition, and headroom. At the same time, the round port produces a uniquely mellow and resonant tone, with a bit more sustain and lower midrange response than later f-hole guitars.

With it's generous 1 13/16″ nut, the L-1 is particularly well suited to fingerstyle play, and positively barks under a good stiff pick. This example is in superb condition, without cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and shows an immaculate recent vintage style nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The neck is contoured to a generous V profile, and the solid ebony fingerboard is admirably straight, with smooth low action over fine original frets.

Ideal for ragtime, blues, early jazz or old-time country, the L-1 is a versatile wonder, comfy to hold, and a positive delight to play.

Body size at lower bout: 13 5/8″

Scale length: 24 3/4″

Nut Width: 1 13/16″





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