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


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Up for sale, a 1951 Gibson L-7C vintage cutaway 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, a figured carved maple back and maple rims, and a two-piece flame maple neck capped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Identical in construction to the L-5C and differing from that model only in its cosmetic appointments, this L-7C is a stunner both acoustically and plugged in.

Strung with 11-50 flatwound strings with a wound G, the guitar has a prodigious acoustic voice, with exquisite percussive chop, midrange presence and overall tonal breadth. 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 pickup blend knob and Master Volume and Tone knobs. Weighing 5lbs 10oz, 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 worthy of the "baseball bat" moniker that fills the palm and chords easily, measuring .900" deep at the 1st fret and .999" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard features pearl split parallelogram inlay, freshly refretted with slender vintage-spec fretwire. The guitar plays easily up the 25 1/2" scale, with a straight neck and responsive truss rod, and the modern hand-carved bone 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. Controls include Master Volume and Tone pots, with a Blend pot on the treble-side cutaway that provides a smooth gradient between the two pickups. There is also a slight upward deflection central to the pickguard assembly that stays out of the pick path.

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 near-mint 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 light flame figuring that extends across the bookmatched back. There is extremely tight, faint lacquer checking across the body, light buckle rash on the back, and various dings and scuffs consistent with decades of careful use, largely relegated to the rims on the lower bout. There is one small piece of replaced multi-ply top binding adjacent to the pickguard bracket, and a sliver of new maple dyed to match on the treble side rim in this area as well. There is also one very slight and professionally addressed split in the maple on the treble side rim by the rear strap button. The neck profile gloss is very smooth overall, with a few isolated nicks and shallow wear through the gloss behind fret 4.

The original brown Lifton hardshell case with brown felt interior is included, with original latches and handle, and the small Lifton badge intact outside the case pocket. A screw-on cable for the McCarty electronics is also present.