A Brief History from our Tech Writer
Wartime brought drastic change and strict regulation to manufacturers all across the States, and guitar makers like Gibson were not spared the effects of the war effort. Those guitars lucky enough to have been built at all between 1941 and 1945 were often made of whatever spare wood the builders could find, and often were finished over to cover unavoidable blemishes in some pieces, like wartime J-45s. Variations in figuring and out of the ordinary bindings are part and parcel for guitars in this era, making for some unique pieces across even standard Gibson models.
This piece is one such example; a 1945 L-7 archtop in sunburst finish. This piece shows its uniqueness in its highly figured sides and neck, along with a non-bookmatched two-piece back; likely a product of “use what we have” mentality at the wartime Gibson factory. The piece features open-back tuners, an adjustable rosewood bridge, and a rare wood crosspiece rather than the standard trapeze tailpiece. The bound tortoise pick-guard has begun to dry and crystallize but is still decent shape. A few bumps and chips dot what is largely a very clean and well preserved finish. The top shines up nicely and the tight-grain spruce looks beautiful through the finish. The neck is quite thick and is surprisingly very straight, with only a little relief on the bass side, luckily avoiding a dramatic dip at the neck joint like so many other guitars of this age. The frets have some wear from the past decades, but they still have life in them and feel great under the fingers. With its great age, you might expect this guitar to be very mellow, and while age brings it a nice warmth, this guitar has a wonderful brightness to the high end that balances the booming lows perfectly. This guitar would be a welcome addition to any Gibson collectors showroom and would be equally at home in the hands of an old-style jazz man. The instrument ships in its original hard-shell case, but said case has sustained damage and the top is no longer attached to the bottom.
Weight: 5 lbs. 11 oz.
Nut width: 1 ¾”
8./10 (excellent condition) 1945 Made in the USA
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