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J-200 Koa
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Guys,

 

I have never ventured into the vintage market before but this caught my eye. I have always been intrigued by the fretboard and headstock of these little guitars.

This example has obviously seen it fair share of use and abuse. Good deal or a potential disaster? Restore or leave it alone? Thanks in advance!

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1930s-Gibson-LC-Century-of-Progress-flattop-acoustic-guitar/253830914885?hash=item3b19806345:g:55MAAOSwwNtbgGBH

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I have been watching that one as well since it popped up. know another guy who is also biding his time on it. Problem is I am far from an expert on this model. I would say the guitar has also lost its original finish which put together with the lack of original pickguard and tuners could knock the value down as much as 60%. If you are unwashed when it comes to old guitars though it is always best to cough up the extra dough and buy from a reputable dealer. There are plenty of them out there with less than original instruments you can get at a deep discount. But you know what you will be getting is what you think you are and will also get an honest appraisal of condition. Hopefully Tom will who knows far more about these guitars than most of us will chime in.

Edited by zombywoof
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I have one of the '94 RI's and like it. They have a sound of their own. As long as the bidding doesn't go crazy I would jump on it.

If I got it, I have a guy that would put a nice burst on it for $250. I wouldn't want to put much more than that into it.

The condition of the fretboard does look a little scary.

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I am a sucker for cool old guitars, but you must know the context to know what to expect.

A few points:

The top is refinished. Done badly (over sanded) can destabilize the guitar. Done right (very little wood removed and a thin finish) they can be as good as new.IT is maple B&S -- maple does not cut as well in an acoustic band as mahogany or rosewood. That may be fine -- if you like new maple, then you should love vintage maple.Most of these have laminated B&Ss.

Historically I might have been interested if it was really cheap or if I had a chance to examine up close. I don't think this one allows that option unless you lived close.

Good luck.

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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Well, if you are looking to blend in at the next PraiseFest, then this is not going to be your guitar. With the exception of that wonderful headstock, fretboard, and dainty bridge, any air of originality is long gone, so that's most likely thrown any collectors off of the trail. Imho, it actually looks better, less contrasty without the sunburst. The guitar has already suffered enough- let it stay as it is, for better or worse, the act of it's getting stripped of it's burst is part of it's history, why deny it. No, no experience here with respect to Century of Progress guitars, but beater Gibsons, . . .er, "player grade" Gibsons are a favorite category of mine. It seems a shame so many people avoid old guitars because they think they are fragile, hothouse flowers. Here is a guitar that you pretty much can't hurt- absolutely no guarantee of any kind of tone quality, but the 00 body shape is arguably considered to be one of the punchiest, barkiest blues boxes you can get your hands on. They're loud. . . almost shrill. Add to that the maple (and here, I agree with Zombywoof's recent impression that the sound just seems to bounce off of the insides of the maple bodied guitars), and this might be the perfect combination to take the edge off of any tone-negating factors such as repaired body cracks or a pearloid fretboard.

"Might be".

 

So if you've been considering some general purpose small bodied guitar for couch and bonfire duty, and you have an idea of what that would cost you, then figure how far above that you would go to have something so unique, something you really wouldn't have to worry too much about. As opposed to if you just bought some econobox, you'd probably end up learning a lot about Century of Progress guitars, and maybe some other stuff, as well.

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Well, you have found yourself a rare "mother-of-toilet-seat" Gibson. The Century model L-C was remarkable for its excessive use of pearloid which at the time was considered en vogue. The material was also used in making many toilet seats in the 1930s, hence the nickname of the guitar. It is a particularly showy guitar, however many of which supposedly don't sound good due to the plastic limiting the sound of the guitar. They are, however, properly X-braced so you never know until you do.

 

The model itself is certainly a collectible guitar but the collectibilty of the example on offer here is long gone since its originality has been extensively been tinkered with including the finish, and its condition isn't in great shape even after the repairs most of which seem properly done. But you don't even know that until you have inspected the insides.

 

Random thoughts on observing the eBay photos of the guitar:

 

  • The serial number (FON) should still be readable on the neck block on the inside?!
  • Is the truss rod still doing its job?
  • I don't like the new machine heads since the originals were 3 on a plate per side. Unevenly mounted?
  • Hairline crack down the back of the neck starting from the peghead?
  • Shiny spots where the neck meets the peghead. Some sort of glue or re-finish?
  • Back cracks look properly repaired from the outside—I wonder, though, how the (repaired?) damage looks from the inside and whether it is cleated.
  • Any loose braces on the inside?
  • The crack on the sides must be looked at. Doesn't seem to be just a finish crack either. Hopefully, the crack can be split enough to fill it with wood glue. Otherwise it's a dirty CA job or no repair job at all. Cleating hopefully not necessary.
  • Hefty grooves in the fretboard. Nothing a skilled luther couldn't level out with super glue to make it perfectly playable again. Can't use rosewood/ebony dust, though, since the underlying material is pearloid. Tedious repair.
  • Seller says "action is set great." How exactly, and is the neck straight?
  • No original case is a real bummer.
  • What kind of strings are on there? Anything other than super lights will rip this thing further apart.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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Tom also makes a very good point about sound. I am in mourning for a guitar I recently sold which makes me pretty vulnerable at the moment as not only do I have expendable cash but cannot shake the felling the only way to console myself is to replace it. Thought about throwing out a Hail Mary bid on this one at the get go. But being old and cheap (both me and the guitar) does not mean the guitar would automatically work for me. I have not had enough experience with them to know. Then again, the only way to find out would be to buy one.

Edited by zombywoof
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Those who either fear or disdain 'vintage' guitars for whatever their reasons might be are well advised to leave them alone. An erudite collector, of which there are few, Tom is a fine and rare exception, would likely avoid this one - and the usual collector (value over all else and snob appeal a close second) won't be interested. A player who appreciates the sound one can derive from the specific style and age (the new ones rarely have "it") of the instrument needs to evaluate personal finances - how much can you afford to sink into repair/restoration after purchase - and then act accordingly. I've had really good luck with this kind of thing, much prefer 'vintage' over new/nearly new, don't much care about collector value, and would rather sink money into saving an oldie rather than buying a recent product. That being said, if I wanted one of the Century models, I'd gravitate toward the one under discussion. I don't, though, so no gravitational pull exists.

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Given the seller's substantial eBay transaction count with 100% positive feedback, his attempts to point out where repairs have been done, and the fact that he worked with a supposed well regarded luthier, and description of the guitar already being brought to comfortable playing condition, the concern over major repairs needing to be done might be unwarranted. Add to that, the eBay's focus on siding with the seller in most instances, and it really becomes more of a question of whether or not you could play a genuine-article 1930's Gibson V profile neck most of the night, or would you want to/need to switch it up with something more familiar.

 

It might be that most of the maples back then were laminated, but I've never seen or had any old lam-bodied guitar show any cracking, so this very well could be solid maple b&s. Of course, inquiring for pics under the hood might also determine if the current century might be the Century of Cleats.

 

MSIUjxg.png?4

 

 

vs

 

 

VutannI.png?1

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While it may be a fig newton of my imagination I swear when I looked earlier there were two bids on the guitar. It is apparently back down to one so somebody must have withdrawn a bid. Second thoughts coming into play?

Bid fearless:

 

Bid retraction and cancellation history

Bidder Action Date of Bid and Retraction

9***a(2073)

Cancelled:$1,200.00

Bid:26 Aug 2018 at 8:08:02AM PDT

Cancelled:26 Aug 2018 at 1:45:31PM PDT

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I thought the headstocks were supposed to have the pearloid also.

 

7C056CCD-86AE-4394-8EA1-F358F2D36359_zpsemze2enk.jpg

 

 

Not all of them... The Burst shown is a early example..Ive also seen the version with the Jewelled beads on the headstock as well. That natural Refin one may of had alot of work done.. But still would be a cool playable Guitar..

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Given the seller's substantial eBay transaction count with 100% positive feedback, his attempts to point out where repairs have been done, and the fact that he worked with a supposed well regarded luthier, and description of the guitar already being brought to comfortable playing condition, the concern over major repairs needing to be done might be unwarranted. Add to that, the eBay's focus on siding with the seller in most instances, and it really becomes more of a question of whether or not you could play a genuine-article 1930's Gibson V profile neck most of the night, or would you want to/need to switch it up with something more familiar.

 

It might be that most of the maples back then were laminated, but I've never seen or had any old lam-bodied guitar show any cracking, so this very well could be solid maple b&s. Of course, inquiring for pics under the hood might also determine if the current century might be the Century of Cleats.

 

MSIUjxg.png?4

 

 

vs

 

 

VutannI.png?1

 

 

 

 

 

Nice comparison shots!

 

 

 

Here is my L-0, below...

 

 

I cannot imagine my current life of guitar playing without this guitar and the little 'adventure' involved in getting it up to playable. Worth all of the mucking around. Fabulous. But would I do it again? Nope. Not when Waterloo guitars are around....Bill Collings has nailed the 'thing' with these old ones and put it in a beautifully tuned little machine.

 

5mcsGInh.jpg

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Nice comparison shots!

 

 

 

Here is my L-0, below...

 

 

I cannot imagine my current life of guitar playing without this guitar and the little 'adventure' involved in getting it up to playable. Worth all of the mucking around. Fabulous. But would I do it again? Nope. Not when Waterloo guitars are around....Bill Collings has nailed the 'thing' with these old ones and put it in a beautifully tuned little machine.

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Never met a guitar that I could not imagine what my playing life would be like without. But I do know about the "adventure" of getting them to a point where they can once again do what they were designed to. Been there more times than I can recall and will probably be there again as at the moment I have a basket case pre-1937 L-00 in my sights.

 

One of the better posts though I have read over at the AGF posed the question that if the Waterloos had been available earlier would you ever have bought the originals they were based on. The problem, of course, is I am willing to bet most of the folks over there with a quick answer have never been closer to an original than the pages of some magazine. My answer though would be no. Not that I do not like the Waterloos but I am not quite sure Collings has nailed the "thing." For what it is worth, the Waterloos generally sound a whole lot better than many of the guitars they are based on. So while I may be inclined to spring for a Warerloo that does not mean I am going to part with the originals. I still, however, cannot believe they can offer that one Waterloo with a hand rubbed varnish finish for the price they do. That is like a $2K upgrade alone.

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Ha ha de Ha, that was my post on AGF......

 

 

I am very pleased with my X braced Waterloo 14 fretter and have considered getting the ladder braced same body shape model as well. I played it the other week and peeled off some RJ type stuff and it does have ‘it’, Zomb! My X braced has ‘it’. Except my X braced can also happily do some rock, country, jazz as well as RJ.

 

Everything is double the price here but the X is a fraction of the cost of getting an original here, not counting CITES.

 

Look at it this way.....if I put my small body guitars on stands in front of me and I had never seen or played them before........and play some RJ with things all over the neck on each.......my Waterloo is just.....’it’. And I would buy it in a flash...ha, I did! And it has nice new frets! Neck, bridge....etc. And I was settling down on a nice seat at the music shop to get stuck into the ladder with a sunburst and really give it some......and a guy wanted to talk learning fingerpicking styles to me. You got to be kidding....now? And BK behaved himself and babbled somethings and the shop was about to close and........etc. And I also want the Waterloo Stella just on the looks - haven’t played one - if they brought it out in black like the Gambler, I may just have a conniption fit... [laugh] [laugh] [laugh]

 

 

BluesKing777.

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One of the better posts though I have read over at the AGF posed the question that if the Waterloos had been available earlier would you ever have bought the originals they were based on. The problem, of course, is I am willing to bet most of the folks over there with a quick answer have never been closer to an original than the pages of some magazine. My answer though would be no. Not that I do not like the Waterloos but I am not quite sure Collings has nailed the "thing." For what it is worth, the Waterloos generally sound a whole lot better than many of the guitars they are based on.

 

It's a very split opinion...along with a few other issues. i wouldn't mind having onemsp_thumbup.gif

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Guys,

 

I have never ventured into the vintage market before but this caught my eye. I have always been intrigued by the fretboard and headstock of these little guitars.

This example has obviously seen it fair share of use and abuse. Good deal or a potential disaster? Restore or leave it alone? Thanks in advance!

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1930s-Gibson-LC-Century-of-Progress-flattop-acoustic-guitar/253830914885?hash=item3b19806345:g:55MAAOSwwNtbgGBH

 

Did you snag it, J2K?

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