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Maple Mountain

1923 Gibson L3

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Hello. I'm new. I'm providing specs on a 1923 L3 I purchased recently, in case they are of value to anyone. I conclude it's a 1923 because the FON, is 30 off from a 1923 that was documented as having shipped from the factory on June 15, 1923. Specs: Slant "The Gibson" logo in mother of pearl with vine inlay below partially covered by the truss rod cover; 13 3/4" lower bout; 10" upper bout; 18 3/4" long body; 24.25" scale length; ebony strap button; 1 7/8" wide nut; spruce top, mahogany body; ebony fingerboard with pearl dot position markers; adjustable and reversible ebony bridge with feet. (By reversible I mean the top can be flipped over to raise the action for lap steel playing. I was told it came from the factory with the reversible bridge and two nuts, one for lap steel and another for regular playing; red burst top; red back; one-piece mahogany neck; white ivroid-bound body and fret board; truss rod; three-on-a-plate open tuning machines with leaf engraving around each screw; unbound headstock; aluminum truss rod cover engraved with the name of the original owner; metal trapeze "PATENTED JULY 19,1910" bridge plate (circumference of the low e hole will only accommodate a "11" or smaller string); 13 frets to the body; no cross brace above the sound hole; one small cross tone bar below the sound hole which bridges the gap between and touches two lengthwise sound bars that run the entire length of the top; multi-stripe sound hole rosette with herringbone middle stripe sandwiched between two thick light-colored stripes; thin black and light stripes on the inner and outer edges of the rosette; "GUITAR" and "L3" stamped on the inner label with the serial number written in pencil. FON stamped on the neck block; two pick guard mounting pins in the fret board, but the pick guard is missing. That's about it. I believe this guitar to be all original, including the case, with the exception of the missing pick guard.

 

For information, the guitar is more mellow than I expected it to be,but when I temporarily put a rosewood bridge from a 1960's Kay archtop on this L3, it softened the tone compared to the original ebony bridge. The rosewood bridge has no feet and the ebony bridge does, so I don't know if the change in tone was caused by the wood or the bridge design. The ebony bridge it back on, it now has phosphor bronze 11s on it, and it sounds great. The strings sound evenly with good separation; the volume is impressive for a parlor-size instrument,and the tone is pleasing. It can whisper clearly and it can growl if attacked hard with a pick. It responds well to a varied attack, to sliding,bending and intensity. The response is quick, and the sustain is also very good. It maintains tone quality all the way up the neck. It's a fine guitar, both in sound and appearance,and it won me over as soon as I played it, even though the strings were many, many years old. IT could use fret crowning. This guitar has an interesting history, which I won't take the space to relate here, except to say that, as well as having a lot of playing time, it was stored in a closet and not played for over 50 years because someone didn't know the bridge could be flipped over and the nut replaced to lower the action for normal playing. Considered to be unplayable and in need of repair, it was then sold cheaply at a yard sale. Unfortunately, I was not the person who bought it from the yard sale, so I paid more for it, but still got it at a very good price. Also, it has no cracks, only a ding here and there.

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Hello, welcome.

 

What a lovely old guitar - your description of the tone makes me want to play it!

 

Congrats, wish you many happy hours of playing....I'm envious!

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Welcome, nice guitar. I bet if you re-posted this in the acoustic forum you'd get some attention on that guitar and specs. Looks nice, but that's as much as I know, those guys know everything.

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