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1951 Gibson L-7 Vintage Archtop Guitar w/ Double McCarty Pickguard, Case


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Up for sale, a 1951 Gibson L-7 vintage archtop guitar in exceptional condition, complete with the original Double McCarty floating pickguard assembly and hardshell case. The McCarty guard was originally introduced at the June 1948 NAMM Convention, subsequently offered as a standard appointment on the L-7, with the two-pickup Double McCarty assembly being the more upscale and desirable of the two options.

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 bubble 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 12-52 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 two P-90-style pickups with 3/8" alnico rod magnets mounted to a floating five-ply pickguard with a screw-on jack (also mounted to the guard). The pickups are hyper articulate and glassy, with a three-way rotary pickup selector (Off-Neck-Bridge) and dedicated Volume knobs for each pickup. Weighing 6lbs 3oz, this GIbson has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with low action and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has flame figuring along its length, with a round, substantial C-shaped profile carve worthy of the "baseball bat" moniker that fills the palm and chords easily, measuring .915" deep at the 1st fret and .990" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard features pearl split parallelogram inlay, refretted with medium jumbo fretwire which has well-rounded crowns and shows virtually no wear. The guitar plays easily up the 25 1/2" scale, with a straight neck and responsive truss rod, and the original nylon nut measures 1 11/16" in width. The headstock is fitted with the original Kluson Deluxe no-line tuning machines with stock keystone buttons. The back of the headstock also retains its original stinger.

The Double McCarty pickguard assembly is intact and completely original, and both pickups have strong, even output. This Gibson benefits from an ideal neck angle, and the proximity of both pickups to the strings is optimal. The three-way pickup selector does toggle between pickups reliably with detents for each setting, and the knob can also spin somewhat freely on its shaft beyond its switch positions (given the invasiveness of making any adjustments to the potentiometer, we've left well enough alone). Hardware includes the carved and compensated floating Brazilian rosewood bridge which has room for adjustment on both thumbwheels. The nickel-plated Gibson tailpiece with raised diamonds rounds things out. The original white oval serialized label is visible through the soundhole, with a stamped A-prefix serial number that dates to '51.

The original Sunburst finish on the spruce top is paired with a transparent Walnut gloss, highlighting the heavy bubble figuring that extends liberally across the bookmatched back, with lighter figuring on the rims. There is extremely tight, faint lacquer checking across the body and headstock, and cosmetic wear is limited to some faint finish scuffing central to the back, a few light marks on top, largely along the lower bout edge, and a touch of pick scuffing just beyond the treble-side edge of the McCarty guard. The neck profile also retains its smooth gloss, with palm wear through the finish behind frets 1-4.

The original hardshell case with smooth brown exterior and green felt interior is included, with original latches and a modern handle. A screw-on cable for the McCarty electronics is also present.