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How Old is this?


rjc guitar

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Hello!

 

A customer of mine is having me reglue a bridge on (he thinks) is a very old Gibson "parlor size" acoustic. The headstock reads " The Gibson" in a scroll type font. The # inked on the neck block reads 9238. I will try and attemp to post a few pics later if needed. The guitar is in VERY, VERY good condition with the exception of the bridge coming up and the center seam seperating. It has a very strange bridge (to me anyway:-k ) Looks to be Mahogany backsides and may be a cedar top. It has a dark burst finish and I haven't removed the bridge yet to tell for sure. Rosewood board, standard dot markers, white binding on body, neck and inside sound hole.

 

I checked this site with no luck : http://www.gibson.com/Files/downloads/bluebook/GibsonAcoustics.pdf

 

Any idea guysgals?

 

Thanks in advance!! :-({|= :-

 

-Rick

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I could be a smart alec and say according to the photos that guitar is from January 28, 2009.... :-({|=

 

But I won't... :-$

 

I am sure someone will be by and tell you a bunch about this little treasure. Very cool looking! Have you strung it up and tried it?

 

Just saw your from Minnesota too! Lovely day to be messing around with a little Gibson Parlor if you ask me!

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Looks like I need to re-set the date on my camera#-o

 

I just took these today!

 

No I haven't strung it up, I just got it last night and need to repair it. The owner just asked if I could help him determine the age and model.

 

YUP! Minnesota, you and I have actually "communicated" before, it was about my son playing hockey, it was in a thread in the "lounge" area if i remember!

 

have a great day!

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The guitar is a L1. The bridge is original. They used at least three variations of bridges on those guitars. This is the era L1 that Robert Johnson is pictured with. Check the bracing. They came in four different configurations, X, H, A and ladder. The A is an X brace that does not extend above the soundhole, you will figure it out. The earlist of the L1 had no truss rod and ladder bracing. The H bracing was next, A bracing and the X bracing. You see more of the H braced, very few of the X braced, though I have seen an X braced L1 with this bridge.

 

Is the inked number clearly 9238 or could it be 9838. The 9838 makes a little more sense as putting this guitar around 1929. It looks like a guitar that may have X bracing.

 

The top is spruce with a hand applied finsih.

 

Terry

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Nice L-1! Circa 1928/29. (There weren't any flattop L-2s 'til the next, larger L body style). Terry, as always, is correct. That's the original bridge. I've seen those more often on NLs of the era. How about you, Terry? As for body depth, as best I can figure, these things did vary a bit. I've got an L-1 of the era with a body that's 4 1/8 deep at the endpin:

 

1066828549033810361S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Those hand stained (not sprayed) 'bursts over red spruce are my favorites.

 

Nice guitar!

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At first I thought it may have a deep body like a Nick Lucas, but I think it is just the angle of the picture.

 

What is the body depth?

 

I have seen a couple of Nick Lucas with this bridge and both were X braced.

 

Have you checked the bracing on this guitar?

 

Looks like overspray on the back inside the soundhole, not unusual.

 

I sold one recently with the seven pin bridge.

 

this guitar looks to be in very nice condition.

 

Terry

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Hi and THANKS for the replies ](*,)#-o

 

The lower bout measures 4" at the strap pin.

 

It is X braced

 

Neck shape I would call a "c" shape, very comfortable neck!

 

The # ink stamped is very clearly 9238.

 

It is a spruce top ( evident after I removed the bridge )

 

JT: it looks identical to the one you pictured.

 

The owner mentioned he thought it was built in the late 20'searly 30's but wanted to confirm with someone who knew, and that's why I posted here!!

 

The guitar is in extremely nice condition, look like it was built in the 90's!!

 

I think it may have had a coat of nitro at one point because of the lacquer overspray in the soundhole ( the rest of the interior is not lacquered as "jchabalk" asked.

 

Any idea what something like this would sell for?

 

Thanks again for ALL your replies, VERY appreciated and I will pass on this info to the owner!!

 

-Rick

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Any idea what something like this would sell for?

 

I believe that the going price is about $500. But you can tell the owner that I'll give him $1000 for it, just because I'm a nice guy. :^o

 

-- Bob R

 

P.S. Well, then, how about $2000? No? Oh, well ... .

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Rick,

 

IMHO, these Robert Johnson era L-1s are extraordinarily good guitars. Mine is A rather than X braced, but still sounds big and warm. The really short scale (approx. 24 1/4) makes for easy playng and bending with light strings. As you know, they are built very lightly. The only tops that I've measured that were thinner than a 1920s L-1 are 1920s Larsons. These L-1s are just about as lightly built as a guitar can get and still survive.

 

I'd put the value around $5K. Though, Bob R is such a nice guy that I'd advise the owner to accept his offer of $500. :^o

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Thanks for the information. I keep a log of these era guitars trying to document features, years etc. This guitar is interesting because of the X bracing and the number (FON). X braced L1s are scarce. In 1929 gibsons introduced the "new" L2, a guitar with the size and shape of the current L00 only with a 12 fret neck. These production guitars were X braced. The "small" bodied guitars, such as the one discussed here, were still in the catalog.

 

As noted the bracing went through several changes on this particular model as it was the first of the Gibson flat tops. My theory is that the small bodied guitars were somewhat out of date when they introduced the new larger X braced L2, but they had some of the small bodied guitars in different stages of build. I think they X braced some of this guitars to keep up with the times (around 1929,30). The number on this guitar is not typical of 1929, 30. I have seen other X braced L1s (I have two of mine pictured below) that indicate to me guitars that had neck blocks number earlier than the production of the guitar.

 

The guitars pictured below are all L1 shaped the black guitar and the one in the middle are Nick Lucas models with the deeper body. The one on the far right is a H braced L1 with the seven pin bridge. The two with pickguards are X braced, both with numbers in the range of the guitar discussed here. (both of those numbers are earlier than the H braced L1) The finish, logo, pickguard, bridge are from a bit latter. In other words I believe the X braced L1 were built after the model was sort of out of production.

 

May be more than anyone cared to hear, but these guitars represent a important moment in the evolution of the Gibson flat top guitar.

 

As to value: around 4K.

 

Thanks again for sharing the guitar

 

Terry

 

L1.jpg

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I'd put the value around $5K.

 

As to value: around 4K.

 

These guys know what they're talking about. Depends some on how its sold. As another data point, Eric Schoenberg currently has a very nice (but black, not 'burst) 1931 12-fret L1 priced at $4875 (firm).

 

-- Bob R

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I believe the X braced L1 were built after the model was sort of out of production.

 

I agree, Terry. As you know, I've interviewed depression-era and WWII Gibson employees who have told me of "floor sweep" models and of visting the Gibson basement to find partial guitars to complete. So, it makes perfect sense to me that the X-braced L-1 small bodies were completed after the switch to the larger bodies. I only wish that I had one of two of those X-braced small bodied Ls!

 

Oh, and I think that it should be a rule around here that no matter the topic of your post, you include a pic of that lovely J-185 of yours!

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You are a very cruel person.

 

I live in Illinois too.

 

I only wish that I had one of two of those X-braced small bodied Ls!

 

The X braced guitars do have a much different fuller sound than the H braced guitars. The one with the cord has no bridge plate, well I should say the bridge plate is not under the bridge! I think they threw that guitar together in the mid to late 30s from the basement parts.

 

Oh, and I think that it should be a rule around here that no matter the topic of your post, you include a pic of that lovely J-185 of yours!

 

Now, now. John you should get one. They are something special, but I don't think it can surpass the Nick Lucas for all around guitar.

 

4-5K sounds like a good estimate on value.

 

Terry

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you guys are awesome:d/

 

THANK YOU for all the info, i'm sure the owner will really appreciate it!

 

I don't know the history or how he aqquired it, it kinda sound like he just "picked it up" somewhere awhile ago. Matter of fact he said that his kids used to play around with it let them use it as a "toy"! !!!!

 

I remember him saying that because we had the same thing in our family with a 20's mando that we used to "play" with until I found out the real story and restored it for my mother for a mother's day gift (yeah....she cried) It was my Grandpa's and was playing it when he proposed to my grandma!!!!! It has no name on it so as far as the monentary value is dose'nt matter, it's all sentimental, which to me is worth WAY more then $.

 

Thanks again and have a great day ( for you midwesterners: bunker down for the storm!)

 

If ya are ever in the twin cities look me up!!!

 

:-k:-s=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

 

-Rick

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys,

 

Well, the owner is back fom vacation and I am going to call him and get this guitar back to him today or tomorrow. With the repairs done and strung up it sounds beautiful!! VERY unique tone and quite "loud"!

 

The question I have for you is: The action is quite high, it is playable but still very high towards the end of the board. I could repair this by working on the bridge or a reset on the neck. Now, in your opinions, should it just be left the way it is and keep it as original as possible? or should the repairs be made to play it more comfortably? This of course is based on the "value" aspect of the guitar.

 

I will post back later when I speak with the owner and find out "his" history with it and let you know his reaction to what he really has here. Remember, he "picked this up" for his kids to "play" around with as a "toy" !!!

 

Thanks again!

 

_

-Rick

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