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Gibson LG-1

#1 User is offline   NCtom 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 01:23 PM

Hello and Happy New year. I haven't been around in a pretty good while but have a few questions for you learned folk. I have been looking for a small bodied Gibson and ran across a 1964 LG-1 that is supposably in good condition but I haven't been able to play it or get answers to several questions.

The info about the LG-1 is all over the place so:
What is the nut width?
Is the bridge plastic or wood?
Is the bracing ladder/X?
Is the top spruce or mahogany?

As you know and can see, the early '60s was a time of many changes for Gibson and I would like to know as much as I can before I go to look at it. Thanks a lot for your help.

This post has been edited by NCtom: 31 December 2017 - 01:25 PM

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#2 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 01:37 PM

Hi Tom. The only problem I have with the LG1 is the dull sound (some like it) of ladder bracing. That's a deal breaker for me. Otherwise, spruce top and if it happens to have the plastic bridge it's an inexpensive thing to put a real one on.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 31 December 2017 - 01:39 PM

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#3 User is offline   AnneS 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 01:56 PM

I have one; had the plastic bridge swapped to rosewood a long while ago. Mine sounds quiet (as one expects from a ladder-braced situation), but I would not call it dull. Quiet but sweet.
I'm not where I can measure, but I can report that this nut is wider than that of a particular '69 j-50 that I have access to. Of course, I wouldn't want to assume too much, but there's a chance that the '64 LG-1s still have the wider nut.
Mine still smells great, too!
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#4 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 02:07 PM

A 1964 LG-1 should have:

> 1-11/16" nut
> Ladder bracing
> Spruce top
> Plastic non-adj. bridge
> Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
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'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 ES 330 VOS / '12 LP Special
'12 J-185 / '13 LG2-AE / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15
> Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-John Lee Hooker 1964 Sheraton
'05 McCartney 1964 Texan (Terada-Elitist) / '09 Elitist 1965 Casino
> Martins: '00 OOO-16 / '01 Custom Rosewood D / > Ibanez: '81 M-340
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#5 User is offline   NCtom 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 02:26 PM

Thanks for the answers. I did some more research since posting and with that and your responses got a little better feel for it. Quiet I can handle, not so sure about the other things. I hope to see it this coming weekend, I will keep my fingers crossed.
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#6 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 03:35 PM

Plastic bridge is black. Only you will know. As noted, easy to replace. There is one at GC in Asheville I believe in very good shape. Prices on these have been climbing steadily in the past 5 years or so. Now seem to be going for $1500 if a good one. 1964 was still a very good year for Kalamazoo. Try it, you’ll like it.

This post has been edited by fortyearspickn: 31 December 2017 - 03:38 PM

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#7 User is offline   tpbiii 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 04:17 PM

Here is a demo of a 1959 LG-1.
Never criticize a musician until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Then you will be a mile away and you will have his shoes.
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#8 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 07:03 PM

Wow. Can't say that's anywhere close to "dull" ! Thank you sir.
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#9 User is offline   mking 

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 07:26 PM

I have owned a 1963 LG-2 and I now own a 1947 LG-2. I had the chance to play an LG-1 in a shop in Colorado and it sounded great. There is nothing wrong or dull or sub-standard in the sounds or tone of an LG-1. They just sound different than their LG-2/LG-3 counterparts because of the bracing. If you like the sound of the LG-1 then go for it. The only thing I would consider is changing the plastic bridge to a wooden bridge.
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#10 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 05:49 AM

View PostAnneS, on 31 December 2017 - 01:56 PM, said:

I have one; had the plastic bridge swapped to rosewood a long while ago. Mine sounds quiet (as one expects from a ladder-braced situation), but I would not call it dull. Quiet but sweet.
I'm not where I can measure, but I can report that this nut is wider than that of a particular '69 j-50 that I have access to. Of course, I wouldn't want to assume too much, but there's a chance that the '64 LG-1s still have the wider nut.
Mine still smells great, too!


'Quiet but sweet' works.
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#11 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 10:13 AM

I owned a 1959 LG-1 for a bit. I never really cared for it. Not saying it sucked by any stretch of the imagination. It sounded a whole lot better than my ladder braced 12 fret concerts. It is just that there are ladder braced 00 guitars out there I like better. My favorite 00 size 14 fret ladder braced guitar for many years now has been a mid-1930s Kay K6. Built with the same woods as the LG-1 but with a bit fancier appointments having a bound top and neck. I am convinced though what comes into play is the Kay has a longer scale. These things can rattle the fillings out of your teeth.

This post has been edited by zombywoof: 02 January 2018 - 10:14 AM

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#12 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 06:36 PM

I had a ‘51 LG1. I did not care for the board radius (9-3/4”)
I thought it had the classic Gibson thump with no sustain. That may be a desirable sound for some.

This post has been edited by Dave F: 03 January 2018 - 07:29 AM

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#13 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 10:26 PM

Had my '61 LG-1 rebraced years ago. Turned out pretty well.
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#14 User is offline   NCtom 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

I finally got to see and play the LG-1, but didn't buy it. It had been damaged by the cold, a particularly nasty open crack from the neck block to the soundhole partly covered by the pickguard. The crack was said to be brand new.

The "good, original" finish was in fact a fairly heavy overspray, the plastic bridge needed immediate replacement, and it looked like the cool pickguard wouldn't survive the work needed to the top.

Surprisingly, the little guitar played and sounded great. The neck was straight and in good condition. I just couldn't convince myself (and in particular my wife) that the large amounts of money required would be well spent.

I do think I'll keep looking for another one, though.
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#15 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 10:33 AM

Sorry it was a bust. If this was the $1400 git in Great Condition in Asheville - I think GC needs to re-evaluate their evaluation criteria AND pricing.
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#16 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:58 PM

Definitely an acquired taste guitar, good ones can be supremely authentic sounding blues boxes and can get surprisingly close to the early Dylan sound (despite him using a J50, albeit with very dead strings which accounts for the short sustain).

I nearly bought a ‘40s LG1 ten years back, it sounded great but was in slightly too rough a state for me to roll the dice on. Was close to needing a neck reset and has several cleated top and side cracks, so passed on it and bought a Guild F20 instead, which I eventually sold to a wonderful local singer/songwriter called James Taylor. Not THAT one!
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#17 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 06:50 PM

I see you passed on it, but I was about to say that the LG1 depends on the year and what you want it for....

Now when my '52 arrived on my doorstep quite a few years back, it was clear that the Ebay purchase was not that much of a success, in fact, I was fleeced! Neck set needed among a number of items. But one day, I tuned it to Open D and ran the bottleneck over it. Yes!! Sounds great for slide, weighs 4 feathers and a good size to lug around, the neck is the chunky 50s Gibson version. (The twenty ton National often stays in the case in favour of the LG1.) It had a cracked bridge replaced with an Ebony one...


A test track I did with the iRig on the '52 a few months back:

https://soundcloud.com/bk7-3/knees77






Posted Image


Posted Image




BluesKing777.
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#18 User is offline   tpbiii 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 07:28 PM

Here are some side-by-side comparisons of some early 60ish guitars on different styles. 64 F-25, 62 Hummingbird, 65 Dove, and 59 LG-1
Never criticize a musician until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Then you will be a mile away and you will have his shoes.
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#19 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 07:29 PM

Well, OK. You can really make that thing sing and growl, but play the same on the LG2 and let's hear. You really get a gutsy soulful texture out of all your guitars BK, but the bass side is a little muddled sounding, typical of the ladder br. Awesome playing!

I just broke my rule (again) and bought an underpriced '16 Oxnard, Ca factory M-40, which used to be the F-20. I'll play this side by side with my '69 F-20 and flip the lesser. That or mount another hanger.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 07 January 2018 - 07:38 PM

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#20 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 08:58 PM

View Postjedzep, on 07 January 2018 - 07:29 PM, said:

Well, OK. You can really make that thing sing and growl, but play the same on the LG2 and let's hear. You really get a gutsy soulful texture out of all your guitars BK, but the bass side is a little muddled sounding, typical of the ladder br. Awesome playing!

I just broke my rule (again) and bought an underpriced '16 Oxnard, Ca factory M-40, which used to be the F-20. I'll play this side by side with my '69 F-20 and flip the lesser. That or mount another hanger.


Kind to say but not true at all, JZ - I have just assembled the correct weapons for the job. The ladder braced LG1 is great for slide and if the neck wasn’t bowed, split and cracked and trying to be a crooked tree branch again, the guitar would be sensational for hokey old tunes.

I don’t have a LG2 and have never played one.....but I have my 59 LG3, has the totally wrong ‘eq’ for bottleneck - too astringent. Doesn’t work at all for that but is great for intricate things, while also great with the capo on 3 or 4 and playing thumpy bass Freight Train type picking.

And the Guild M40 would be ideal for the same things as the LG3 - I only just read an article in Guitarist UK magazine recently - they reviewed the new US made Guild M40 with the 1 3/4” nut etc, and the skinny neck and nut Guild M240E, made in China, and comes with the new DeArmond pickup.....still not enough to temp me with the skinny neck and I believe laminated b/s........why didn’t they put the option of the DeArmond on the the M40?


BluesKing777.

This post has been edited by BluesKing777: 07 January 2018 - 09:02 PM

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