1936 Gibson L-7 - Sunburst

By Gibson

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The Gibson L7 model was introduced in the early 1930s as a 16” carved top and arched back acoustic archtop which according to the 1934 Gibson Catalog “fills a serious need for an instrument with full grand auditorium size, carved top and back, “f ” sound holes and a dependable quality at a popular price – an instrument such as only Gibson can produce”.

By 1935 the model was brought in line with several other ‘advanced’ models and increased to 17” wide with an X-braced top. An incredibly popular model for Gibson, the L-7 was essentially a less ornate L-5 but constructed by the same craftsmen from the same material supplies.

Our 1936 guitar was brought in to us by the instruments second owner and it is a great example. The 30’s Sunburst finish is still rich and vibrant with very little wear evident and only minimal lacquer sinking into the handcarved book-matched spruce top. The solid northern Maple back and sides are equally clean and the whole instrument blacklights well with no signs of repairs or finish work evident. The only sign of any wear is to a small section of played through lacquer on the back of the neck. The elaborate pearl ‘picture frame’ inlays and ornate vase and curlicues headstock inlays are unique to the L-7 model.

The neck is a C shape, classic mid-thirties Gibson profile with a 1 11/16” nut width, feeling instantly familiar and very comfortable.  Tonally the instrument has an authoritative sound but still has all the classic traits X-braced archtops are known for. It is  balanced  with a smooth sustain and less percussive than a parallel braced design.

The guitar has a nice action, currently set up with 11 gauge strings, with height to adjust the bridge if needed or a heavier gauge string required. Sadly the guitars original celluloid pickguard is starting to off gas and will require attention or a reproduction guard soon. The guitar has ‘Made in the USA’ impressed on the back of the headstock indicating the guitar was always intended to be an export instrument.

The guitar comes with a period plush lined case that appears to be of UK origin.

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