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Gibson Style O in Natural


Matteoce0
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I just recently came in to possession of an old 1921 Gibson style O artist Acoustic most every example of this guitar is in sunburst or black. Mine is in natural. Were natural finishes on the O produced less or are there just less examples of them out there. Any help would be appreciated.

image0.jpeg

Edited by Matteoce0
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4 minutes ago, slimt said:

Nice piece of birch on the back.   The top is missing its finish, rosette  the first two numbers look like 33. 

So was the finish and rosette actually taken off or was this manufactured that way?

Edited by Matteoce0
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Congrats!  These are about as cool looking as it gets. 

While I am certainly not an expert on these guitars, I am another who is of the opinion that the  guitar has had a top refinish,  I have seen them in black, burst and various shades of brown but never one with a natural top.  I have, however, run across I think it was a 1910s  L-1 with a natural top.  But the absence of any purfling  around the soundhole  indicates the top was sanded down.  The tailpiece also may not be  original.  I would expect there to be  a pin tailpiece.   But if not,  the  string through tailpieces  Gibson used during this period,  were built differently with the two long pieces  being attached to the top of the  bar holding the strings and not beneath it, I f this makes any sense.  And I could totally be on puppy chow.

Edited by zombywoof
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Blonde top guitars were certainly made.   And obviously there were Style Os built with a natural top although the two that I found on a quick search dated to before 1910.    Today we call those instruments pumpkin tops because  the finish Gibson  used on the spruce  turned a  tawny orange color with the passing of time.   While it is always risky making evaluations from photos, I am not really picking that color up in your photos.   But again, the most telling fact is that the purfling line around the soundhole is not visible which shows that the guitar has been subjected to some kind of intrusive changes in its past life, 

As I am not a collector, to me it really would not matter.  Myself and more than a few of us  tend to seek out these  "Player's Guitars."  We get the sound and feel we want but minus the often hefty price tag..

 

,

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2 hours ago, bobouz said:

In 1921, this guitar was most likely produced with a sunburst, black, or sheraton brown finish.  The tailpiece is a much later Kluson style.

 

Here is the tailpiece on  a 1920 L3 I will be looking at this week,

Gibson-L3-bridge.jpg

This  is another style of trapeze tailpiece from the period in this case on a 1921 L1 (a guitar I will not be looking at)

Gibson-L1-Tailpiece.jpg

 

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8 hours ago, slimt said:

I dont recall ever seeing a sheraton brown or a natural. 0.    Not saying there isnt any.  Ive never seen one of either at all the vintage guitar shows Ive been too.  

Slim, I mentioned Sheraton-brown above because it was such a common finish for Gibson in the era of the OP's guitar, and I have seen examples of the O-Artist that for all the world appear to be finished in that color.  The 1921 L-1 was listed as having a Sheraton-brown finish, and of course many lower level 'A' mandolins used it for their finish in the late teens & early twenties. 

But I think you are correct in that for the O-Artist (being a top of the line model), Gibson listed the finish as "shaded mahogany to sunburst," even when some examples looked very similar to Sheraton-brown with a rather modest sunburst. 

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18 hours ago, bobouz said:

In 1921, this guitar was most likely produced with a sunburst, black, or sheraton brown finish.  The tailpiece is a much later Kluson style.

 

I always associated the Sheraton Brown finish with the Lloyd Loar era.  The 1917 Gibson catalog describes the Style O as having a finish shade of golden red to dark mahogany.  The 1921 catalog gives it as a finish blend from dark mahogany to sunburst.  There is no mention of the Style O being available in what Gibson described as golden orange finish in 1917.

 My main question though would be what impact, if any, the sanding of a carved graduated top would have on the instrument.

Edited by zombywoof
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For this guitar, I suggest the Original Poster call Gruhn Guitars in Nashville and talk to one of their vintage guitar experts.  Usually they are more than willing to talk about a specific vintage guitar and share their vast knowledge.  The only thing they won’t do over the phone is give a formal appraisal, for that they require a payment, photos of the guitar, etc.  They will, however, usually give free price ranges.  And, they usually seem very open to just talking about vintage guitars as that is what their store specializing in, and they are always looking themselves to find a potential elusive holy grail vintage instrument.
 

If you call them and they speak with you (if they available during this pandemic), let us know what info they tell you, so we can all also learn.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark
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6 hours ago, slimt said:

Hi.   I have a A model 1918 Gibson with that brown on it.       That era  of instruments  Is very cool.  
 

Yes, I really like that era, too - with many fine sounding instruments.  I used to have a 1919 ‘A’ mandolin & currently have a 1922 with truss rod - It’s a little sweetheart!

To my knowledge, Gibson frequently put Sheraton-brown on all the lower ‘A’ models up to the A-2 (within that era, and going a bit beyond the Loar years).  I’ve never seen it on an A-3, A-4, F-2, F-4, or F-5 (again, even if sometimes the Cremona-ish bursts had a coloration similar to Sheraton-brown).  That’s what got me to thinking about the O-Artist being too high up the food chain to be done in Sheraton-brown, and the catalogs appear to confirm it.

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