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Please ID old archtop acoustic


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Hi, this is the old Gibson archtop acoustic that my aikido instructor has. It used to be his father's, and he figures it is from the 1920s or 1930s. Can anyone identify which model this is? Pic is not very good, but I'll try and describe. Black, on the head it just says Gibson, dot inlays. No model or serial number anywhere on the guitar.

 

ERIK

 

post-40008-085939600 1327252972_thumb.jpg

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It looks to be an L-30. The best I can determine they were built from about 1935 to 1942.

 

The distinguishing factors being the black finish, small body, and dot inlays.

 

IF this guitar has top-only binding, it would date it to 1935, as sunburst finish and back-binding were "standard" in 1936. In the late 30's the bridge spec was changed from rosewood to ebony.

 

Look carefully inside the guitar through the f-holes, there may be a "factory order number" ink stamped somewhere. This FON may contain a letter "date code" which would confirm it's birth date.

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Thanks! I found a page on the L-30 and the pics match up exactly. I took a light and tried to look through the f holes but saw nothing. I'll give it another go when I see the guitar again. It has a lot of wear, rough marks, a crack running right beneath the trapeze, but I put some new strings on there and she sounds really good. Thanks again. ERIK

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Gibson also made what they called the "Special #3" which was essentially a black L-30 like yours. However, they also made black L-30s as well, so it could be either. Is there any numbers stamped inside the body? That could help lock down the date. The date it almost certainly mid to late 30s.

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  • 3 years later...

That gold headstock decal is c. 1942 and 1946.

 

Before that, it was white. Between, it had the banner.

 

'

 

It IS white... you might need to adjust your monitor settings (what color was the dress, blue and black, or gold and white?).

 

Anyway, the "D" in the FON is 1938, PERIOD. This is a fully documented fact, not up for discussion.

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Also I cannot find any numbers on this one. It appears to be from the same era because they came from a friends uncle who played in the 40's.

006.jpg

 

This one looks to be an ES-125. late 40's- early 50's. A full frontal shot(head to toe) would be more helpful with IDing. Pickguard would have been black.

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The acoustic looks to be an L-30 or L-37. I'm not sure I know how to tell the difference from 1938. Sometimes the finishes were different, and during certain years one of them did not have back binding. 1938 is right in the middle of the "crossover" specs.

 

Published documentation and details of the economy models is much harder to find than the "collector" models.

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In this case, DG, D denotes 1938 and G denotes Gibson. As Larry says, cut and dry. Nice guitar [thumbup]

 

That is true, but if I read Spann correctly that stamp on the headstock is not a FON -- it is a serial number. There is a FON and it MAY be somewhere else in the instrument.

 

We have several instruments from that period which are done the same way. Keep looking -- you may still find the FON.

 

It IS white... you might need to adjust your monitor settings (what color was the dress, blue and black, or gold and white?).

 

Are we talking about the same picture? I am talking about the black guitar in the OP. The dots look white -- the tuners look white but by comparison, the GIBSON looks not so white. If it is white, you are right.

 

Also, I now realize that the gold decal did appear before 1942. I realized it because our 1939 HG-00 has one [thumbup].

 

Best,

 

-Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...

That is true, but if I read Spann correctly that stamp on the headstock is not a FON -- it is a serial number. There is a FON and it MAY be somewhere else in the instrument.

 

We have several instruments from that period which are done the same way. Keep looking -- you may still find the FON.

 

 

 

Are we talking about the same picture? I am talking about the black guitar in the OP. The dots look white -- the tuners look white but by comparison, the GIBSON looks not so white. If it is white, you are right.

 

Also, I now realize that the gold decal did appear before 1942. I realized it because our 1939 HG-00 has one [thumbup].

 

Best,

 

-Tom

In that era,Gibson still wrote FON's in pencil ,later going to rubber ink stamps. Look through the upper F hole , should be on the back as seen through the f hole.

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