1936 Gibson L-00, Sunburst

By Gibson

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Wonderful Dustbowl-era Gibson L-00 in fantastic condition. One of the nicest preserved examples we have had through the shop and an excellent player. Dry, crisp Mahogany tones with an era-defining large V profile neck and featherweight construction. The guitar come with the original bill of sale dated to 1937 from Sydney Acott & Co. LTD - The Music House, Oxford as well as a later correspondence and photograph from the original owner of the guitar in 1969.

The L-00 has its first catalog appearance in 1932 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 948B is verified as a batch of L-00 produced in 1936 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 Sunburst is the medium version used from the mid-30’s with the iconic fire-striped tortoise pickguard and simple 3-ply rosette. The body has a white celluloid bound top with unbound back and neck. The top is X-braced with a small, thin maple bridge plate and the lining is kerfed. 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 well preserved example and the guitar remains crack free. The reverse of the headstock is stamped ‘Made In the U.S.A’ signifying it was an export instrument either to Canada or Europe. There have been repairs consistent with the maintenance and playability of the guitar, the neck has been reset and the guitar sports a new set of frets and a replacement saddle. The thin nitrocellulose finish is in excellent condition, backlighting consistently with some light play wear evident to the neck and fine lacquer checking throughout. There has been some reworking to the original bridge but it doesn’t look to have ever been removed from the guitar. The tuners are rare, original open book 3-a-side open back Grovers with white buttons. The nut is Ebony and looks to be the original. The neck has a deep V profile that measures 24.4 at the 1st fret and 25.16mm at the 7th fret. The nut measures 43.13 wide The action is a hair under 3 mm at the 12th fret and the saddle has height for adjustment.

A stunning and vibey, small bodied Gibson acoustic with a beautiful sweet and balanced tone and fantastic provenance. The guitar comes with a later, likely seventies Hard case.