1933 Gibson L-00, Sunburst

By Gibson

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Superb 1933 Gibson L-00 in fantastic played but preserved condition. With an evocative deep Sunburst, Featherweight construction and a large rounded V profile neck its easy to see why the small bodied entry level Gibson flat-top from the 1930’s has had such an enduring appeal for decades.

The L-00s first appearance was in 1932 catalog but production started a couple of years earlier. Featured alongside the L-0 and L-1, the L-00 was the most affordable guitar in the Gibson range at $25 without a case, still a lot of money in depression-era America. The catalog listed the model as having: “Neck, back, and rim made of Honduras Mahogany; northern Spruce sounding board - finished throughout in lustrous black ebony - hand shaped neck fitted with Truss Rod- rosewood fingerboard, pearl position marks - long wearing frets- rosewood bridge - Mona Steel strings.” The L-00 was an instantly success for Gibson and production remained high until 1942 when Gibson reduced the number of available models in the Catalog due to WWII. Although still in production the L-00 was seldom produced before the model was discontinued in 1945 as Gibson looked to revise it’s range postwar.

This guitar, FON 710 is verified in Joe Spann’s Guide to Gibson Guitars as a batch of L-00 produced in 1933 and has the expected traits from this period of production. The body/neck joint is at the 14th fret, the guitar features a white silkscreen Gibson script logo on the face of the tapering headstock. The reverse of the headstock is stamped ‘Made In the U.S.A’ signifying it was an export instrument either for the Canadian or European market. Appointments are suitably restrained with a single white celluloid bound top, tortoiseshell pickguard, simple 3-ply rosette and rectangle bar bridge. The Sunburst finish is the earliest style adopted by Gibson with a deep perimeter and small sprayed deep sunburst. Internally the top is X-braced with a small, thin maple bridge plate and the lining is solid. Despite being an affordable model at the time, the L-00 was built using what today would be in any manufacturers wish list of materials including an Adirondack spruce top, Honduran Mahogany neck, back, and sides, and Brazilian Rosewood bridge and fingerboard.

This guitar is a very nicely preserved example with repairs consistent with the maintenance necessary to keep these lightly built guitar playing. The neck has been reset and the guitar features a new frets and a replacement saddle. The Ebony nut is likely original but has been removed from the guitar at some point. The original Rosewood bridge looks to have been reglued and lost a little of it original height. The maple bridge plate is very clean and looks to a replacement and there is a small repaired crack to the top between the sound hole and fingerboard. The original finish has typical checking, with some edge wear, dings, dents and scrapes overall but no large areas of wear. Tuners are the original Waverley 3-on-a-plate strip tuners original to the guitar.

The guitar has a transitional ‘V’ profile neck that feels softer than the necks that would follow. Measuring a mammoth 25.5mm at the 1st fret it feels surprisingly comfortable given the measurements. The nut width is 1-11/16” or 43.42mm, slimmer than the 1-3/4” wide nuts used on earlier examples. The guitar has an action at the 12th fret of 3mm with plenty of height to the saddle for adjustability. The L-00 has remained one of Gibson's most popular Depression-era guitars, then and now and for many 1933 is the definitive year for the L-00 which by then has a consistent 14 fret body join, a more robust build (although still light) than earlier guitars with solid non-kerfed lining with a comfortable soft V profile. The guitar has an open, dry balanced voice, darker with more thump than later examples yet retaining great note separation and sustain. The Guitar comes safely stored in a Hiscox case.

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