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1937 Gibson L-4 Vintage Pre War Archtop Acoustic Guitar w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1937 Gibson L-4 archtop acoustic guitar in excellent, crack-free condition, complete with the original hardshell case. A Pre-War example of the L-4 that was produced in a very brief window of time, this guitar features a solid hand-carved and bookmatched spruce top paired with solid maple back and sides and a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard capping a one-piece mahogany neck with a deep V profile carve.

Structurally identical to the original iteration of the L-5 which Gibson discontinued in '36, the L-4 boasts the same tonewoods, bracing, 16" lower bout width and 24 3/4" scale. In fact, the L-4's floral inlay is actually more upscale than the simple block inlay on the L-5s which preceded it. Bright, crisp and incredibly detailed, this L-4 has ideal bloom and midrange chop with exquisite projection. Extremely responsive to picking dynamics, the trebles are both sparkling and full-bodied, with a tight, present bass register. Weighing 4lbs 12oz, we've had this L-4 professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-53 bronze strings, comfortable action, and accurate intonation.

The one-piece mahogany neck has a deep V neck profile carve, measuring .940" deep at the 1st fret and 1.040" at the 9th. The neck profile shows modest palm wear through the nitro gloss central to the V and on the fretboard edges primarily behind frets 1-9. The bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard features intricate pearl floral inlay, professionally refretted with flawless slender vintage-spec "banjo" frets, and the guitar plays easily in every register up the straight neck. The modern hand-carved bone nut measures a full 1 3/4" in width, and the bound headstock features Gibson's small script Pre-War text and fleur de lis inlay as well as original nickel-plated open gear tuning machines with butterbean buttons.

The body retains the original Brazilian rosewood bridge with compensated saddle, and the bridge has ample room for adjustment on both thumbwheels, given the ideal neck set. The stock nickel trapeze tailpiece rounds out the hardware, and the tortoise pickguard was hand-cut in-house, carefully matching the shape of Gibson's Pre-War L-4 guards and secured with a modern bracket. The white oval serialized label is visible through the F hole.

The Sunburst gloss nitro lacquer finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting tight lacquer checking across the body and pick scuffing on the upper bout, extending beyond the treble-side F hole. Crack-free, the guitar shows various nicks and minor marks on the body as a whole consistent with careful use, and a small spot of light buckle rash central to the lower bout on the back.

The original hardshell case with black textured exterior and purple interior is included. The case retains its original latches with a modern handle on the original rings.