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1947 Gibson L-50 Vintage Carved Top Archtop Guitar, Mahogany Top w/ Case


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Up for sale, a circa 1947 Gibson L-50 in excellent condition and in perfect working order. A model that enjoyed a particularly long production run (1932-71), the L-50 holds the distinction of being the most popular Gibson acoustic archtop ever produced. A notably rare variant produced in very limited quantities, this L-50 features a hand-carved mahogany top paired with mahogany back and rims (in lieu of the L-50's usual spruce/maple pairing).

A premium archtop with a 16" lower bout and the same general dimensions as the upscale L-4, the L-50s tonewoods are rounded out with a one-piece Honduran mahogany neck capped with an unbound Brazilian rosewood fretboard. Woody and sweet with a dry percussive cut, this Gibson delivers substantial projection and bark when digging in. Trebles have plenty of presence and are punchy without being overly so, and the wound strings are focused and clear with an underlying warmth attributable to the mahogany top. This L-50 weighs 4lbs 6oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 12-54 bronze strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The Honduran mahogany neck has a round "baseball bat" C-shaped profile carve with full shoulders and rolled fretboard edges, measuring .905” deep at the 1st fret and .990” at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearloid trapezoid inlay, and the original very slender “banjo” fretwire is extremely clean, ostensibly leveled and crowned, showing only light wear on the crowns of frets 1-3. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nylon nut measures 1 11/16” in width. The headstock is one of the first to feature Gibson's "modern" headstock logo, in sharp contrast to the script logo offered in '46. The original Post-War Kluson open-gear strip tuners are intact and function reliably, fitted with new white buttons. There is tiny "Made in USA" text on the back of the headstock, and not to be confused with later (and much larger) Norlin-era text with the same wording, this USA badging was used to signify guitars from Gibson's golden age exported to international markets.

Hardware includes the original nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece and compensated floating Brazilian rosewood bridge. The neck set is ideal, and there's room for adjustment at both bridge thumbwheels, with action at the 12th fret measuring 7/64” on the bass side and 4/64” on the treble side. A modern single-ply tortoise pickguard has been custom-made to match vintage spec for the model.

The original subtly shaded nitro lacquer gloss finish exhibits heavy lacquer checking across the body, and very minor chipping adjacent to the F holes. There are two slender repaired splits on the treble-side lower bout rim adjacent to the tailpiece, and playwear is limited to some minor nicks and scuffs on the body as a whole. The neck profile retains its gloss, and lacquer checking is far more minimal on the neck.

A vintage black molded hardshell case with blue plush interior is included.