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Gibson CL-30 Deluxe 1997


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Hopefully this will be a help with anyone looking to buy a CL-30 Deluxe vintage 1997 Gibson Acoustic. I just bought one at Cream City Music in WI after doing alot of searching and finding some conflicting info. I will update this with photos what I can.


There's quite a bit of variation in the info on these which were made in 1997-98 and I've heard also 1999 The main thing I was trying to learn before purchasing this 1997 Deluxe was about the solid wood vs laminated


I've heard that the 1997 models were laminated with arched backs and 1998 they switched to solid wood and flat backs. I believe this is reversed as far as wood is concerned because mine is 1997 with an arched back and solid Bubinga.


Photos I've seen of the 1998 models are all two piece backs with the stripe down the middle (on the outside) however I just saw a photo of a 1997 Deluxe with a two piece back also. I would imagine (and maybe someone can comment) that the two

piece backs could be laminated.



For what it's worth mine is 1997 Deluxe and the folks that sold it (Cream City Music) researched and found Gibsons info said solid Bubinga back and sides. It sure looks solid so I'm confident mine is Solid Spruce top and Solid Bubinga back and sides



Hope that might clear something up for anyone searching for specs.


Now as to the sounds playability etc... The action is on the higherside 5/32 bass 4/32 treble but in fact I had a Blueridge BR-140 that was set at 3/32 and 2/32 (according to the seller Elderly Instruments) and this Gibson is easier to play, feels like

less tension and I can fret things more easily up high on the Gibby than on the Blueridge so height is also got to be coupled with total build.


Sounds wise it's obviously played in and matured wood 20 years old and it's a great cutting sound (Bubinga is said to be bright) that has good bottom and balanced mid. I personally like that not necessarily brighter per se sound but a more direct poweful

sound that cuts, it's very round and full but more penetrating than some newer Gibsons I tried like the J series. (Which were alot more money)


The construction is of course superb gorgeous sound hole Abalone nice looking binding, very unique fretboard inlays, Rosewood ( I believe) mustache bridge and finish is flawless. I got an original HSC with purple fuzz this guitar was a real find it literally looks like no one touched it except for the tuners are well used some gold has worn down but I cannot see any fret wear.


IMO it was so much worth it ($1,300 tax included and case)


On that count, the case is clearly made for this guitar as it has some "plunge" to the back of it via a pad so there's exactly enough room for the back to not get pushed on or sit right up against the case too tight. I'd be a bit careful about a non-Gibon case for this guitar with an arched back.


Hope that helps anyone and I'll get some photos as soon as I can. Here's a link hope it works to the ebay listing where I saw the guitar there are photos https://www.ebay.com/itm/1997-Gibson-CL-30-CL-30-Special-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-Natural/362180741024?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

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An arched back will almost definitely be laminated. I suspect a little bit of seller spout has come your way to seal the deal. Some high end Gibson archtops have carved backs but I’ve not come across any flat tops with carved backs that aren’t small-batch built/custom shop instruments, definitely no Gibsons as the process is very difficult and time consuming, not to mention prohibitively expensive accordingly:


That being said, a laminated arched back isn’t a bad thing at all. Some of the best and most projecting flat tops I’ve played have had arched lam backs. ‘70s Gospels are superb, as are Guild G37s...both laminated, braceless arched backs. They’re stronger and more resistant to climatic changes, and make for superb projection and a very focused sound. Great for recording.

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My general understanding is that arched backs can really vary. If the guitar has a back with a pronounced arch with no center seam than it was built with laminate. I owned a transitional Guild D-25 (spruce top, arched back) and still own a mid-1950s Epi FT-79 built with laminate arched backs. If the back, however, is only slightly domed it can have a solid wood back plate but it will also be braced. Both of my 1930s Oscar Schmidt guitars were built like this.

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