1947 GIBSON L-7


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Gibson L-7 from 1947, in very good conservation and playing condition.

This L-7 was built shortly after the end of World War II, coming out of the Kalamazoo factory as Gibson was just resuming normal production of its instruments after the disruptions caused by years of war. The L-7 was then the most affordable 17-inch archtop guitar among the models offered by Gibson, and had already established itself as a must-have since its introduction in the early 1930s. In fact, the instrument offers exactly the same qualities as the L-5, flagship model of 17-inch archtops, for around half the price – the differences between L-7 and L-5 are essentially restricted to aesthetics, their finishing elements and fittings: for the one sober and classic, the other flashy and luxurious. However, we note on the guitar presented here a carved spruce top, figured maple back and sides, a three-piece maple neck topped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, an adjustable bridge also in rosewood… a set of woods superbly chosen and shaped into a high quality instrument! The low end isn’t what it used to be…

We can also note a very specific characteristic at this early post-war period which is the conservation of the old Gibson logo, present on the head of the instrument in the so-called script style, the lettering in cursive writing is cut from mother-of-pearl and inlaid with the head veneer. This element was replaced in 1948 by the new typographic version of the logo, called block script – the one that we still find, with a few variations, today! The Sunburst present on the table has retained a beautiful shine and a still pronounced gradient going from brown to orange-yellow – one must believe that Gibson had not given up on its Cremonese inspiration! The back, somewhat marked by use, as well as the sides are finished in a translucent dark brown varnish revealing the maple patterns underneath. Although originally a purely acoustic guitar, it is appropriate nowadays, given the multitude of possible playing contexts, to provide this type of archtop guitar with a pickup allowing it to be amplified – the original pickguard having disintegrated, we made a copy of the original on which is mounted an electro-magnetic floating pickup in the style of a Charlie Christian, this having the advantage of not requiring any routing or modification of the instrument since the pickup, its volume control and jack are mounted directly on the pickguard. We obtain an aesthetic and a sound identity close to those of the first electric Gibsons without altering the acoustic nature of the instrument. Besides this element, the guitar remains in excellent original condition, including its tailpiece and Kluson tuners, and has been fully prepared for playing in our workshop – the work done includes complete refretting, making a new bone nut, and the adjustment of all the setup elements allowing to obtain a low action and a accurate intonation.

Sold in a modern fitted hardshell case.

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