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1948 Gibson L-7 Vintage Archtop Guitar, 100% Original w/ McCarty Pickguard, Case


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Up for sale, a 1948 Gibson L-7 archtop acoustic guitar in excellent, 100% original condition, complete with the original McCarty floating pickguard assembly and hardshell case. One of the first L-7s to be outfitted with the McCarty floating pickguard, the McCarty guard was originally introduced at the June 1948 NAMM Convention, subsequently offered as a standard appointment on the L-7.

Featuring a full 17" lower bout width and all solid tonewoods, this golden age Gibson archtop features a hand-carved spruce top, heavily figured carved flame maple back and sides, and a two-piece flame maple neck capped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Identical in construction to the L-5 and differing from that model only in its cosmetic appointments, this L-7 is a stunner both acoustically and plugged in.

Strung with 12-54 nickel flatwound strings with a wound G, the guitar's unplugged sound has exquisite clarity and breadth, with equal presence on each string and a midrange-forward bark and cut when you dig in hard with a flatpick. The McCarty pickguard has a P-90-style pickup with 3/8" alnico rod magnets mounted to a floating five-ply pickguard with a screw-on jack (also mounted to the guard). The pickup is hyper articulate and glassy, with a Tone control that has a broad sweep from percussive treble snap to smooth, mellow woof. Weighing 5lbs 14oz, this GIbson has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with low action and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has light flame figuring along its length, with a round, substantial C-shaped profile carve that fills the palm and chords easily, measuring .885" deep at the 1st fret and 1.010" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard features pearl trapezoid inlay and the original slender "banjo" fretwire which has been leveled and crowned in the guitar’s lifetime, currently quite low yet showing no wear. The guitar plays easily up the 25 1/2" scale, with a straight neck and responsive truss rod, and the nut measures 1 11/16" in width. The headstock is fitted with the original Kluson Deluxe Pat. Pending single line tuning machines with stock keystone buttons. These are some of the very first Kluson "single lines" ever produced, and they still turn smoothly and hold pitch reliably, with a bend in the D string tuner arm that doesn't affect functionality. The back of the headstock also retains its original stinger.

The McCarty pickguard assembly is intact and completely original, and hardware includes the carved and compensated floating Brazilian rosewood bridge and the nickel-plated Gibson tailpiece with raised diamonds. The original white oval serialized label is visible through the soundhole, with a serial number that dates to late '47 (the pickguard assembly pushes production to mid-'48).

The original Sunburst finish on the spruce top is paired with a Walnut gloss, highlighting the heavy flame figuring on the carved bookmatched back and sides. The nitro lacquer has been buffed to a high gloss, with prominent lacquer checking across the body and various small dings and finish scuffs commensurate with light use. There is a very cleanly repaired split in the maple rims on either side of the neck joint (not interfering with the neck itself in any way), and an additional professionally addressed split on the bass side of the top emanating from the F hole. The neck exhibits palm wear through the gloss on the profile shoulders, with some prominent lacquer checking in the higher registers of the carve and across the heel.

The original black hardshell case with purple interior is included, with original latches and a modern handle.