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LG1, 2, 3, B25, F25


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Hello again everyone!

In my everlasting, never ending search for the right guitar I have stumbled on a neat old LG1 in a local shop that needs to be rebuilt.  I'm interested in possibly picking up the local LG1 as a project guitar.  It's a 60's era (big pointy pickguard, belly up bridge, etc) and it would be a long project for me to work on but might be fun and may work out well.  They also have a great little B25 that I played for a while.  That one was tempting but the 1 5/8" nut was a deal breaker - it had such  a good sound.  But this interaction helped me to realize that my pursuit of a L-00 may have been misguided and I should be looking at the various LG body styles - LOTS of them out there too. 

Over the weekend I've been doing a good bit of research on these and found some great info but one thing I can't find much on is what neck style, shape, thickness, nut width came with certain years.  Can someone help steer me right with the 40's, 50's, 60's details? 

How about the F25?  I know that one is a 2" nut and 12 fret but is it also still short scale? Skinny or fat neck? I haven't found much on that one.  

 

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It is probably too big an overall question, CJ....., just massive.

Perhaps start with just the LG1?  Get a few pages and then try the others in another thread?

There are not a lot of small body players here, so...me.

50s  models are the best to me, chunky neck, but it is still a 1 11/16” nut. Ladder braced, great for slide and vocal type guitar sounds.

Mine (52) arrived from eBay, last time I did that, in a guitar bag with a broken zipper and the neck sticking out  the top.....splits and cracks and a huge bow in the neck.....Fleeced, eh? Ripped off and from somebody near your place, true!

I put it in Open D and it is committed to a life of slide. (Still) I doubt anyone else would ever buy it, so next stop, firewood probably. Unplayable and not worth the cost of repairs.

 

BluesKing777.

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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I can only speak for the '68 F25 I owned...hugely wide nut (2") but an incredibly flat and shallow neck profile. Would have been lovely with a deeper and more meaty neck...as it was, it was painful to play for more than half an hour for me, despite sounding terrific. Different hands may find it fits better though, I know Grampa on here loves his to bits. 

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3 hours ago, Jinder said:

I can only speak for the '68 F25 I owned...hugely wide nut (2") but an incredibly flat and shallow neck profile. Would have been lovely with a deeper and more meaty neck...as it was, it was painful to play for more than half an hour for me, despite sounding terrific. Different hands may find it fits better though, I know Grampa on here loves his to bits. 

 

It sounds like the neck on these may be more similar to a classical guitar than a conventional steel-string guitar. At least the pre-1969 versions of this guitar were designed for either steel or nylon strings, making them neither fish nor fowl.

My classical guitar has a 2"+ width at the nut, and the dead-flat (no radius) fretboard typical of classical guitars. It cannot easily be played in the styles many of us use for steel-string guitars.

I'm pretty sure Tom Barnwell here has one in his collection, and maybe he will comment on it. Others here have had them as well.

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5 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

It is probably too big an overall question, CJ....., just massive.

 

Thanks BK!  I tried to edit after posting that as I realized it was too much, but the edit function was gone.  Oh well.  I agree though, way too much to talk about here.  So how about necks?  Do any of these have 1.75" nut widths?  When do the skinny necks show up, 60's?

@Jinderthat's good info, thanks!  I've wondered if those were flat and skinny  like a classic guitar.  Makes sense.

@j45nick I've read a bunch of Tom's posts - such a wealth of information!  

Again, thanks everyone for humoring a Gibson Newb's questions.  

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2 hours ago, CJB said:

Thanks BK!  I tried to edit after posting that as I realized it was too much, but the edit function was gone.  Oh well.  I agree though, way too much to talk about here.  So how about necks?  Do any of these have 1.75" nut widths?  When do the skinny necks show up, 60's?

@Jinderthat's good info, thanks!  I've wondered if those were flat and skinny  like a classic guitar.  Makes sense.

@j45nick I've read a bunch of Tom's posts - such a wealth of information!  

Again, thanks everyone for humoring a Gibson Newb's questions.  

 

To answer some of your questions 1946 is generally the last year for the 1 3/4" nut although there  will always be some overlap in specs  between late-1946 and early-1947 as you will find in any transition year.  And the skinny butt necks show up in 1960.

Oddly the F25 would possibly  be the only 1960s Gibson 6 string I would  snag.  Wide nuts and flat boards generally work well with fingerpicking which is why I assume the model is nicknamed "The Folk Singer."  The key for me would be string spread at the bridge. 

Edited by zombywoof
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Just now, zombywoof said:

 

To answer some of your questions 1946 is generally the last year for the 1 3/4" nut although there  will always be some overlap in specs  between late-1946 and early-1947 as you will find in any transition year.  And the skinny butt necks show up in 1960.

 

Excellent, thanks!  That changes the budget considerations considerably.  

Thanks @Dave F! There's also a 30's L00 in Asheville I just saw.  This time I'm going to try to stick with the LGish range.

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10 minutes ago, CJB said:

 

Excellent, thanks!  That changes the budget considerations considerably.  

Thanks @Dave F! There's also a 30's L00 in Asheville I just saw.  This time I'm going to try to stick with the LGish range.

 

If you are unwashed when it comes to old Gibsons it is best to bring somebody along who know the guitars.    Sometimes the smart move is to buy from one of the big sexy vintage dealers.  You will pay more but at least you know you will be getting what you think you are and in the condition described.

Also  particularly LG2s built in the 1940s can be all over the place in sound.  I used to own a 1946 LG2 and a friend dropped off a 1947 guitar to see if I was interested in it.  Noticeably different sounding guitars.  But then again they were built when a part was considered finished when it looked "close enough."   The one LG2 that still haunts me though is a Banner I ran cross three years ago now at a small guitar show - a 1944 maple body version.  It ended up being one of those the fates combined to keep us apart things.  The owner was not set up to take plastic and with it being a Sunday just prior to the show shutting down I did not have time to run home and get a check book while the banks were closed so no way to get the cash.   In the end I just had to rack it up to it being one of those things which was not meant to be.  

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1 minute ago, Eracer_Team said:

Remember the time you spend rebuilding it, could be time enjoying playing and making music..

I spent far too much time with a tube amp hobby 

That's a good point and something that I'm weighing.  I enjoy working with my hands and fiddling with stuff but I'm not so sure I want to open this door.  

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2 hours ago, zombywoof said:

 

If you are unwashed when it comes to old Gibsons it is best to bring somebody along who know the guitars.    Sometimes the smart move is to buy from one of the big sexy vintage dealers.  You will pay more but at least you know you will be getting what you think you are and in the condition described.

Also  particularly LG2s built in the 1940s can be all over the place in sound.  I used to own a 1946 LG2 and a friend dropped off a 1947 guitar to see if I was interested in it.  Noticeably different sounding guitars.  But then again they were built when a part was considered finished when it looked "close enough."   The one LG2 that still haunts me though is a Banner I ran cross three years ago now at a small guitar show - a 1944 maple body version.  It ended up being one of those the fates combined to keep us apart things.  The owner was not set up to take plastic and with it being a Sunday just prior to the show shutting down I did not have time to run home and get a check book while the banks were closed so no way to get the cash.   In the end I just had to rack it up to it being one of those things which was not meant to be.  

 

I'm thoroughly unwashed so that's a great point to consider.   I've found a few looking at some of the sexy dealers.  Their prices are high but about what I'd expect and about what I'd expect for the knowledge and experience that goes behind buying from people that know their stuff.   Much preferred to buying off a person on FB marketplace asking $3500 for an LG1 that has been sitting for 30 years in a Texas attic.  Thank you.  Bummer that one '44 maple body eluded you.  Never know why sometimes but I think if we knew everything then we'd have a miserable life.  

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All of the LGs, B-25 and the F-25 have the same scale length with the exception of the LG-2 3/4, which is a completely different beast.   The F-25 is an oddball in part because it was built according to folk revival recommendations that one start out with nylon strings and then go to steel.  It also is closer to the original conception of these guitars, which are all descendants of the GS (gut string) classical guitars of the immediate pre-WWII period.  They're true grand concert guitars, the equivalent of a classical guitar or a Martin 00.  

I have a great weakness for the LG-2; of the literally hundreds of guitars I have owned, much less many others I have played, the ONLY one that I still regret parting with was a 1960 LG-2 that was once my primary guitar.  Had I known then what I know now, and had I found MY sound in those years, I would still be playing it.

I would steer you towards LGs, with some notes and observations - 

An x-braced LG covers a lot of the same territory as a J-45 or J-50, but with the emphasis shifted in a couple of ways.  The LGs are more upper mid-range and clarity, especially the post '55 with the wider, flatter bracing on the tops, vs. the lower mid-range and more blended sound of the Js.  LGs are more focused and projecting to my ears, Js are more enveloping, encompassing, with more presence.  

I've never had the opportunity to actually play an F-25, but I would like to.  The ones I have heard sound to me like they split the difference between a J-45 and an LG-2, with a little more low end and the strange juju that 12-fret grand concert steel strings bring to the party.  People who have actually played them can chime in, but I got the impression that while the F-25 fretboard isn't as curved as a conventional Gibson, it's still not entirely flat and the nut width is a somewhere between 1.75 and 2 inches.  I would love to explore that someday.

Heretical observation - as you price old LG-1s (which have their own arch top-like vibe, and which usually get labeled blues and slide instruments), LG-2s and LG-3s (which have gotten much more pricey the last couple of decades) and B-25s (also getting pricier than they once were), maybe you'll find yourself in my camp.  I lean towards newer instruments based on the old ones, because I just can't afford to pay the additional tariff involved in collectible artifacts.  

Should the stars align and I have the necessary pile o' shekels to make it happen, I keep hoping to score a 2013-15 era LG-2 American Eagle.  I'll gladly surrender the cool sunburst and live with the strange mix of a straight-sided pre-war headstock with postwar logo for the light build and the lovely tone I keep hearing out of them - especially considering the price they go for, used.  For that matter, I bet one could buy a brand new LG-2 for less than a compromised vintage one, and the new ones appear to be really lovely as well.

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31 minutes ago, rustystrings said:

Heretical observation - as you price old LG-1s (which have their own arch top-like vibe, and which usually get labeled blues and slide instruments), LG-2s and LG-3s (which have gotten much more pricey the last couple of decades) and B-25s (also getting pricier than they once were), maybe you'll find yourself in my camp.  I lean towards newer instruments based on the old ones, because I just can't afford to pay the additional tariff involved in collectible artifacts.  

 

I'd say that's more practical than heretical.  But I'm not an expert on either.  I do have a 2020 LG2 that I'm crazy about.  That's what got me chasing this rabbit to the source so to speak.  It's pretty fascinating to me so far.  

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8 hours ago, CJB said:

Thanks BK!  I tried to edit after posting that as I realized it was too much, but the edit function was gone.  Oh well.  I agree though, way too much to talk about here.  So how about necks?  Do any of these have 1.75" nut widths?  When do the skinny necks show up, 60's?

 

 

Which brings us back to Waterloos and modern creations to get a 1 3/4" nut and nice spacings..... (your LG2 is a 'modern creation').

Do you have a budget? The 1 3/4" LG2 BANNERS are few and far between and probably $10K, more...

The 50s models are 1 11/16" nut - my workaround is to put a capo on 3-4 to give me more space across, but then we get less room along....

Here is the book you could buy with some answers:

https://www.amazon.com/Gibsons-Fabulous-Flat-Top-Guitars-Illustrated/dp/0879309628

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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@BluesKing777 I'm thinking my budget is more 'mid 50's ugly functional'.  I'm ok with wear and tear that doesn't impede playability and tone,   Previous repairs, neck sets, character marks and eventful history as long as it sounds great and plays well (but won't be a near future project) are all ok by me.  My styling preferences are more 40's/early 50's.  How's that for an answer? 😄 . 

I'll have to get a copy of that book, thanks!

Random question that has come to mind as I hunt... is a shiny (oversprayed?) bridge a common thing on these?   I noticed that on one at Retrofret.  

And regarding the F25, one just came up on reverb yesterday that looks nice.  

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2 hours ago, CJB said:

@BluesKing777 I'm thinking my budget is more 'mid 50's ugly functional'.  I'm ok with wear and tear that doesn't impede playability and tone,   Previous repairs, neck sets, character marks and eventful history as long as it sounds great and plays well (but won't be a near future project) are all ok by me.  My styling preferences are more 40's/early 50's.  How's that for an answer? 😄 . 

I'll have to get a copy of that book, thanks!

Random question that has come to mind as I hunt... is a shiny (oversprayed?) bridge a common thing on these?   I noticed that on one at Retrofret.  

And regarding the F25, one just came up on reverb yesterday that looks nice.  

 

You will have to be quick if that 'player' guitar comes up - the rest of the forum could run you over.....

I would look at a good real LG2 or LG3 1950s, cost way more but that says something...??? (The LG1 were cheapies and considered student models and have mostly been junked). Bargains are slim on the ground! And Jedzep or Zombie probably get them first!

Less money than a vintage LG2/3  with 1 11/16" nut and we are back at.....nowhere.

In a few years time and you throw your old junker on the bonfire, you will think back to what poor old BK777 said about the Martin CEO7 (early models with nicer wood!) and how that would make a great companion guitar to your new LG2 and Waterloo mahogany top! Mine is incredible after a great setup....

Check out the comments on this sale - may have said the same thing!:

https://reverb.com/item/36118313-martin-ceo-7-2013-180

 

Some videos....plenty of other CEO7 videos but I think these sound about right.

Fingerpicking:

 

 

Strumming:

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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Stirring it up again I see!  😉   Man, those do sound good though and no doubt have a solid following for a reason.  I have to say that I like the tone of my LG2 better.  With that I think I've got modern wood covered so I'd really like to try some old wood so I'm heading toward an older LG1.  I have been talking with several folks out there and have found some semi-local inventory that I hope to try out when time and pandemic allows.  

 

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1 hour ago, CJB said:

Stirring it up again I see!  😉   Man, those do sound good though and no doubt have a solid following for a reason.  I have to say that I like the tone of my LG2 better.  With that I think I've got modern wood covered so I'd really like to try some old wood so I'm heading toward an older LG1.  I have been talking with several folks out there and have found some semi-local inventory that I hope to try out when time and pandemic allows.  

 

 

Well, go for a mid 50s Gibson LG3 if you want old wood...or 30s L-00, but LG1.....?

Honest, mine is in a closet in a rack of other guitars and I was going to drag it out last night, but thought......(swear words).

If you want to try your guitar repair skills, try a cheapie junker first, leave the poor old Gibsons be.

I have a photo of my 1959 LG3 to post but Imgur is down.

Edit - Imgur still down - everyone must be posting guitar photos!😤

Here is a Reverb listing...I said LG3 because you already have the LG2 and the paint job...save up and get something like this....

 

https://reverb.com/item/37685197-1957-gibson-lg-3-vintage-acoustic-guitar-x-braced-natural-w-case-lg-2

 

Edit..Imgur back up! Here is my 59 LG3..wouldn't you prefer to own something like this? Great guitar! (I'll blame the camera  - it doesn't show the checking and wear marks)

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BluesKing777.

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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58 minutes ago, CJB said:

Stirring it up again I see!  😉   Man, those do sound good though and no doubt have a solid following for a reason.  I have to say that I like the tone of my LG2 better.  With that I think I've got modern wood covered so I'd really like to try some old wood so I'm heading toward an older LG1.  I have been talking with several folks out there and have found some semi-local inventory that I hope to try out when time and pandemic allows.  

 

I had a ‘51 LG1. My impression was it had that thump and sound I was looking for but the ladder bracing gave it a quick decay which many like but I don’t. Plus some of those early post war LG1’s had a 9.75” radius fretboard as did the one I had. I didn’t care for that. I’m not sure what years that feature was around.  The ‘42 LG1 was X braced and like the LG2 and LG3. It was made for only one year but shipped out over the next couple years. When they started making them again after the war the LG1 was changed to a student model ladder braced and was kept pretty plain to keep its cost down. 

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1 hour ago, BluesKing777 said:

Edit..Imgur back up! Here is my 59 LG3..wouldn't you prefer to own something like this? Great guitar! (I'll blame the camera  - it doesn't show the checking and wear marks)

 

oh man, that is sexy.  Yes, I would like to have something like that for sure!  I just don't think that I can justify the dinero.  Besides, I like dirty tone isn't that the basis of the LG1? 

50 minutes ago, Dave F said:

Plus some of those early post war LG1’s had a 9.75” radius fretboard as did the one I had.

I didn't realize that - thanks for mentioning that.  

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I guess it all comes back to getting a guitar to try, otherwise it is all talk.

I know fairly well straight away if I play one.

Maybe have a look for a used one that has a 'Return' policy... get it delivered - you can play it  - and send it back like everyone else seems to do. ) Retrofret says return within 2 days of delivery - you don't get long!

Or save your coins until you have enough for a negotiation with an owner.

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777
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Tilting at windmills, but to attempt yet again to dispel the myth that the LG1 was a 'Student Guitar" ...     They sold for around $110 back in '64 when I bought mine new at the Sam Ash on Long Island.   It was my THIRD guitar and I was a couple of years past my One Year of lessons.    My first guitar  - an actual student guitar was a $25 Stella from Macys.    THAT was what a student guitar looked like and cost back then.    I bought my LG1 with wages from a part time job getting a $1.25 minimum wage at the local grocery store.  Plus trading in my 1 year old Gibson C-0 Classical Guitar.  The LG1 was my one and only for ... well, roughly 40 years. 

A $110 guitar from the mid-60s would be  equivalent to anywhere between $700 and $800 today.    Most students (depending on your definition)  do not spend that much on their first or even second guitar today.    I would hope we here don't consider the Gibson G-45 which sells for $800  a  'student guitar'.     Yeah, we all know someone who is flush with cash and gets a J-45 as their first guitar.  But that doesn't make it a 'STUDENT' guitar.  

An LG1 back in the day was a respectable entry guitar into the respectable Gibson brand.  Before Taylor,  and other manufacturers came along.  Before Japan and China started making them.   Like with automobiles - there were only a handful of choices available, and Martin and Gibson were at the top of the heap. 

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Here’s an excerpt from guitarhq

LG-0, LG-1, LG-2, LG-3, B-25, B-25N Flattops
Three LG-1, LG-2, LG-3 models were all introduced in August 1942. But the LG1 and LG3 stopped production right after introduction (only about 100 of each model was produced in 1942), leaving just the LG-2 as the only model made through WW2. All three models had different top/brace materials. The LG-1 had a mahogany top and chocolate brown top finish, the LG-3 had a blond natural spruce top, and the LG-2 had a spruce sunburst top. So the most common war-time (banner logo) 14.25" Gibson was the sunburst LG-2. After WW2 the LG-1 and LG-3 were reintroduced, but now the three models had different features between them (the LG1 for example now had ladder bracing with a spruce top and sunburst finish). In 1958 the LG-0 was introduced as the new low-end flattop model (ladder bracing, mahogany top, brown top finish).

Collectibility: Script logo (pre-1947) LG-2, LG-3: C+, all others: D-.
The LG-2 and LG-3 due to their spruce top and "X" bracing, are much better instruments than the LG-0 and post-WW2 LG1 models. B-25 and B-25N models, although X-braced, are constructed with adjustable bridges and other 1960's features that make them undesirable. Unfortunately, since all models are essentially student models with narrow 14 1/8" wide bodies (2" narrower than a J-45, and .5" narrower than an L-00) and are quite plentiful, they are not real collectible (though the script logo LG-2/LG-3 are quite good for their size and some people do collect them).

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1 hour ago, Dave F said:

Here’s an excerpt from guitarhq

LG-0, LG-1, LG-2, LG-3, B-25, B-25N Flattops
Three LG-1, LG-2, LG-3 models were all introduced in August 1942. But the LG1 and LG3 stopped production right after introduction (only about 100 of each model was produced in 1942), leaving just the LG-2 as the only model made through WW2. All three models had different top/brace materials. The LG-1 had a mahogany top and chocolate brown top finish, the LG-3 had a blond natural spruce top, and the LG-2 had a spruce sunburst top. So the most common war-time (banner logo) 14.25" Gibson was the sunburst LG-2. After WW2 the LG-1 and LG-3 were reintroduced, but now the three models had different features between them (the LG1 for example now had ladder bracing with a spruce top and sunburst finish). In 1958 the LG-0 was introduced as the new low-end flattop model (ladder bracing, mahogany top, brown top finish).

Collectibility: Script logo (pre-1947) LG-2, LG-3: C+, all others: D-.
The LG-2 and LG-3 due to their spruce top and "X" bracing, are much better instruments than the LG-0 and post-WW2 LG1 models. B-25 and B-25N models, although X-braced, are constructed with adjustable bridges and other 1960's features that make them undesirable. Unfortunately, since all models are essentially student models with narrow 14 1/8" wide bodies (2" narrower than a J-45, and .5" narrower than an L-00) and are quite plentiful, they are not real collectible (though the script logo LG-2/LG-3 are quite good for their size and some people do collect them).

 

The good thing is that a guitar does not have to be "collectible" in order to be a really good musical instrument. My re-topped and otherwise non-stock 1950 may no longer be collectible in any true sense, but it is still a really nice musical instrument.

If you are looking for a player guitar rather than a collectible guitar, an LG-1 may be a good choice if you are looking for that dry, quick-decay effect that is often a part of great Americana and traditional music.

That's especially true if it comes at a great price. You get a vintage Gibson and a good guitar for less money than you would normally expect to pay.

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