Rare and magnificent Gibson LG-2 from 1945, in excellent original condition.

Here is a particularly well preserved example of the infamous “Banner” guitars, built during the Second World War and so named because of the banner-shaped decal applied to the headstock of the instruments stating “Only A Gibson is Good Enough” – far from wishful thinking, these flat-top guitars have the reputation of being the best ever produced by Gibson (which we readily concede in view of this guitar) and were made by the “Kalamazoo Gals”, the predominantly feminine workforce at Gibson while men were called in to the war.

The LG series to which the LG-2 belongs has enjoyed great success and particular longevity: the LG-2 is the first to be introduced, starting off in 1942 in replacement of the L-00 style. The main difference is a slightly reduced body width for the LG-2 due to insufficient stocks of wide spruce boards for making the tops. In fact, the shortage of materials resulted in the need to build guitars from existing parts and materials, and Gibson ended up keeping the L-00 in production longer than initially planned; the two models will thus co-exist over the course of approximately 4 years. The LG-2 is the middle model in a range consisting of three instruments, with the LG-1 aesthetically identical to the LG-2 but featuring a simpler ladder bracing instead of the X-bracing and the LG-3 identical in terms of construction and bracing but with a natural finished-top. During the war period, the specifications of Gibson flat-tops often varied considerably, dictated both by the restrictions in place at the time and the limited availability of materials. One constant is that they are almost always excellent-sounding instruments, regardless of variations in construction – this is, in our opinion, the nature of instruments reduced to their bare essence by the force of the circumstances surrounding their manufacturing.

The guitar presented here is superbly light and sonorous and incorporates a combination of particularly interesting features: it sports a spruce top with a beautiful Sunburst finish, where many instruments of the period were constructed entirely from mahogany. The top is very lightly braced and the X is positioned closer to the sound hole which, alongside a thin rosewood bridge and light bridgeplate are largely responsible for the sound that guitars from this period are known for. The back and sides are maple, beautifully wavy on the back – this is another very rare feature, although unsurprising as maple was readily available in the US without need for importing mahogany and other such exotic woods. Another interesting point is that the fingerboard is not made of rosewood but of gum wood, a species native to the American southeast and substituted for rosewood during these times of rationing. All the wood used is therefore sourced directly in the United States! The maple neck is made of 5 pieces, and, luckily, features a truss-rod: among all the restrictions imposed by the war, those on steel were particularly draconian and many Gibson necks of the period are reinforced with wooden blocks of questionable durability, which is not the case here. We also note the original Kluson “rivet” tuners positioned on a thin metal plate, the design of which was specially revised in 1943 to minimize the metal needed for their manufacture.

The condition of this instrument is absolutely impeccable: no breaks or repairs to are to be noted, the original Sunburst finish, beautifully crazed, has retained all its shine, the original pickguard is also present. The guitar received a full refret job in our workshop with all the necessary care to preserve the original patina of the fingerboard, the frets also correspond to the type originally used. The setup of the guitar has been optimized, frets planned and polished, nuts adjusted to achieve low action and perfect intonation. All in all, this “Banner”, although known to be difficult to play due to its round and thick neck, is extremely easy on the left hand and you can easily spend hours enjoying its rich sound in complete comfort.

Sold in a modern shaped case, with its certificate of authenticity produced by Jérôme Casanova.


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