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1948 National 1160 Vintage Acoustic Guitar Valco X-Braced & Gibson-Made w/ Case, LG-3


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Up for sale, a 1948 National 1160 in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. Sold via Valco's top-tier National brand, the 1160 was first offered in '48 and the introductory specs of the model only lasted until mid-1949. As Valco didn't have the facilities to produce acoustic instruments in-house, they contracted with Gibson for this model, and complete LG-3s were provided to Valco and fitted with National's shield logo and a distinctive bridge and pickguard. What makes the introductory examples very special is that the first 1160s were set-neck instruments, and the necks were ostensibly carved by Gibson, while models from 1949 and beyond have bolt-on necks which National made in-house.

This guitar is a lovely example of golden-age Gibson quality, boasting the same tonewood compliment as its Gibson equivalent with an X-braced spruce top, solid Honduran mahogany back, sides, and neck, and a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Like the best LG-3s, it offers a bold sound with plenty of volume and authority. Featuring exceptional string-to-string clarity and percussive snap, the guitar is very rewarding for flatpicking and has a range of smooth, dulcet tones for fingerpicked work. The treble register is particularly punchy and full, and the wound strings have a taut, muscular low-midrange growl. This National is featherweight at 3lbs 13oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with fresh 12-53 strings and comfortable action.

The Honduran mahogany neck has an extremely hearty baseball bat U-shaped neck profile carve with generous shoulder, measuring .950" deep at the 1st fret and 1.145" at the 9th. Unlike Gibson's LG-3, the 1160 has a non-adjustable rod in the neck, which is very straight, and the neck is topped with a thick jet black Brazilian rosewood slab. The original slender frets are intact and in remarkable shape, showing just a touch of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-3 and virtually no wear further up the fretboard. The scale length measures 24 3/4", and the nut is a full 1 3/4" in width, hand-carved from bone. The National metal shield is intact on the headstock face, and the early V-prefix serial number badge on the back dates to '48. The original no-line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines are intact too with original buttons that show only minor shrinkage and still function as they should.

The original rosewood bridge sits flush with the top, and the saddle has modest height, offering ideal action in every register. String spacing at the bridge measures 2 5/16". The soundhole is framed by the original marbled brown tortoise pickguard, and there is broad finish checking on the crack-free spruce top, and tighter spiderweb checking on the back. The nitro lacquer finish is 100% original save for targeted touchup on a singular crack on the back, professionally repaired both structurally and cosmetically and extending from the upper bout to the waist. Two back braces were also reglued in the past, with some excess glue beyond the edges of the braces. Wear is otherwise limited to scuffing and small nicks central to the back of the body, and only a few additional minor marks on the body as a whole. The neck profile is extremely clean and smooth, free of palm wear and exhibiting only a few tiny nicks, with the original nitro gloss retained on the entire profile length.

The original faux alligator chipboard case is included and equally as nice as the guitar, with original functional latches and handle and a well-preserved exterior.