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Misc. Photo


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Gibson L-1

Below are numerous detail photos and a list of identifying features.


Above photo: The Gibson L1 standing with its original hard case.  Date of mfr: circa 1916- 1917.  The style is in the Spanish tradition which Gibson followed in several of its models during this era.

DSC_1484.jpg (421655 bytes) Spruce top with orange stain and varnish.

DSC_1485.jpg (352593 bytes) Maple back and sides with dark stain.

DSC_1429w.jpg (60366 bytes) The hollow body is not flat on its front and back surfaces but has contours like a violin. 13.5" wide.  Hence the term "archtop"

The archtop configuration was a Gibson invention.  

It has a round sound hole with 2-rope decorative wood inlay pattern. Ebony fingerboard.  Strings are anchored by what is called a "trapeze"

DSC_1451.jpg (371169 bytes)

DSC_1501.jpg (346356 bytes) Note missing ebony peg string anchors.  The two missing pegs had actually worn out and were no longer functional.  An instrument repair technician strung the guitar as is seen in this photo.  This I have come to understand is an entirely acceptable work-around.  The other solution would be to find replacement ebony pegs.  These may be available today, but at that time (1969) they were not.  In any case, the guitar plays just as well in this configuration.

DSC_1430w.jpg (49743 bytes)


DSC_1481.jpg (241561 bytes) An interior detail shot showing the neck block stamping.  

FON = Factory Order Number.  Location: neck block inside body.  number: 3585  This number is useful to determine approximate date of mfr. According to one source it was made circa 1905 - 1906, or perhaps to 1908.

DSC_1426w.jpg (184264 bytes)

Above photo shows early white ID label type. 

It says : Gibson : Guitar --- Style: L-1   (the type, style and number were hand written in pencil)

Number: 38259  It is difficult to get a clear photo showing the pencil lettering. 

DSC_1470_edited-1.jpg (646033 bytes)  I used  the 'replace color' function within photoshop to make the ID label easier to read..  Here the handwritten pencil stands out with greater contrast against its background.  The handwriting for the style designation is not legible or recognizeable

DSC_1406w.jpg (72771 bytes) Pearl inlay says "The Gibson"

DSC_1404w.jpg (59766 bytes) The tuners are not original.  Harmony, I believe.  Replaced in the 1960's or 1970's.

DSC_1391w.jpg (53811 bytes) Looking at the interior construction.

DSC_1381w.jpg (54512 bytes)  

DSC_1427w.jpg (79485 bytes) DSC_1428w.jpg (68524 bytes)  

DSC_1482.jpg (261433 bytes) Another shot of the trapeze at the bottom end.

DSC_1483.jpg (275215 bytes) Trapeze detail shows a patent note that says July 19, 1910.  That is a solid clue.  It the trapeze is original, then the guitar must have been made after the date stamp on the trapeze.

DSC_1506.jpg (328600 bytes) DSC_1507.jpg (248719 bytes) DSC_1512.jpg (287016 bytes)

Photo evidence suggests that there had been a 'floating pick guard" clamped to the guitar, but has been removed.  See catalog page description for the L-1 below.

DSC_1511.jpg (515293 bytes) DSC_1513.jpg (301175 bytes)


My Dad's Gibson.  As an adolescent he studied guitar.  This guitar was bought second hand from an unknown individual circa mid 1930s.  The era of the Great Depression.

model: L-1 Archback
date of mfr: ~1917
details: Seasoned Maple body back and sides with dark finish. Neck is Mexican Mahogany.
spruce body (top side) with orange finish
ebony finger board with pearl inlay dot pattern consistent with a Gibson catalog page from the era.  style=L1
original tuners replaced with Harmony components circa 1960's
Full trapeze / floating bridge with pins string anchors.
condition: very good cosmetics and playable.

Hard case detail photos:

DSC_1433.jpg (332088 bytes)

The original leather handle failed due to age and use.  I fashioned a replacement out of multiple strands of hemp twine. It seems entirely serviceable this way.

DSC_1434.jpg (371909 bytes) DSC_1435.jpg (416965 bytes)

DSC_1436.jpg (344545 bytes) DSC_1437.jpg (426636 bytes) DSC_1438.jpg (480514 bytes)


DSC_1780.jpg (314170 bytes) Found a shipping carton from a local guitar store.  Gratis.  Thanks to Guitar Center in Lynnwood, Wa.


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