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I need a history lesson - Gibson Bs and LGs

Geoffrey Lawton

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I wouldn't consider the smaller bodied Gibsons student models, although it's easy enough to rationalize that a large percentage of students are young people who would likely buy a smaller guitar. And the fact that Gibson made gazillions of the LG0 at around a hundred bucks retail and were likely marketed directly to the new young guitar player just adds to it.


I think it's more a preference for body size is all. Besides the ergonomics, they just sound different. It depends on what you want in a guitar and some fingerpickers want something that responds quickly and has a good balance. Myself, I prefer I big thumpin' bass so I'm not a huge fan of the LGs.


Many people claim there's a big difference in tone between the ladder bracing and X bracing. Maybe so; but I've found that legends about Gibson construction aren't always true. Case in point, I owned two B25s within a few months, an early '67 with lighter bracing, small bridge plate, upside down bridge..... sounded uck. I owned a late '67 B25 with heavier bracing, big pad, belly-down bridge, all "bad" stuff. Sounded great!


But back to original point, I think because of the relative austerity of the LG models they have a rep of being lower end models overall. I think if Gibson had made an LG with fancier appointments there might not be that sweeping generalization. Something with fretboard binding, larger inlays.... something like a CJ165 maybe. At least then the line would have run the gamut a little more.


Someday I will be hung for being an armchair quarterback.

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I agree Ksdaddy on the suspect conventional wisdom. These are guitars that have to be tested and experimented with. In addition, a good luthier can do amazing things to these guitars. I have a banner LG-2 that sounds and plays like magic--like a 000-18GE, but with a lot more mojo. But I've also played banner LG-2's that can't compare in sound to my '67 B-25N. Go figure. And i have '57 LG-1 that I prefer to a '57 LG-2 that I once owned, but go to a store an pick up an LG-1 and it could sound dead. ??


That providenet site is the best little history I've seen. A lot of good info can be found on the UMGF vintage section as well.

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Geoff: another good source is Gibson's Fabulous Flat=Top Guitars, An Illustrated History & Guide (Eldon Whitford, David Vinopal & Dan Erelewine). Great photos, lots of good information. Although somewhat out of date, and at times not entirely accurate, it's still the best book available on vintage Gibson's and Gibson acoustic history. You can probably pick up a used copy on Amazon.


As your probably aware, the B-25 was the successor to the LG-2 and LG-3. Basically the same guitar with some minor tweaks. The Fabulous Flatatops book seems to indicate that the LG-2 (1942) was response, at least to some extent, to materials shortages during the war (the LG-3 came out in 1946). I agree with ksdaddy that these were not necessarily student guitars. The LG-1 (1947) and LG-O (1958) though seem to have been intended to appeal to a market with less cash, including students. The LG-3 was the most expensive of the L:G line. Still, all were well made, good sounding guitars, especially after 50 or so years.


All of the above information is from Fabulous Flattops. An interesting book to have.

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  • 12 years later...

Zombie Thread -  BUT ....         To dispel the "Student Guitar Myth" ....     I bought an LG1 new in 1964. Had it for 40+ years before giving to my son.  I paid $125 for it.   The minimum wage at the time was  $1.25.   I know, because that was the source of my funding!  Roughly 100 hours of work at the local Mom & Pop grocery store.    My previous/first guitar bought a couple of years earlier was $25.   THAT was the definition of a 'student guitar' back then.    Today, the minimum wage is $7.25.  100 hours will not get you a new Gibson anymore.  Gibson is higher priced/valued - because now, unlike in the 60s -  there was not a plethora of Chinese guitars available. 

Flash forward to today.  Is a Gibson G-45 Studio at $1,000 -  a 'Student Guitar" because it is at the bottom end of their price ranges?    Not when you can buy a brand new Epiphone for 1/4 of that.   Some 'students' in our local high schools have brand new Cameras. Better cars than many of their teachers.  Does that make the Camaro a 'Student Car' ?   In the mid-60s, when even indulgent parents would not shell out 4x the cost of an instrument hoping their kid would take to music -   I  doubt there were any struggling with Mel Bay #1  who had a Gibson.  

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