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Gibson HG00 1938


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Dear vintage Gibson folks,

I am new to this forum and writing from Denmark. I have been looking for a 1930s L00 for some time but they are very rare where I live. Now, an HG00 has come up for sale at about 3,500 usd and I would be interested in hearing your opinion and advice. The guitar has been modified at the nut and the bridge so that it plays like a standard guitar and not as a Hawaian. It seems to be in pretty good condition, and I would like to hear your opinion of the HG00 compared to the L00. Also, is it a problem that there is no truss rod? The luthier who modified the guitar has told me that he removed the screws that hold the bridge to the top when he modified the guitar. I guess this means that the bridge is only glued to the top. In your opinion, might that be a problem?


Well, any advice would be appreciated.


Best regards


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Hi. I believe the nut and fingerboard width is wider on the Gibson and Kalamazoo flattops of the 30's.

You may want to find out if the bracing is different and/or heavier. I believe the Hawaiian guitars in

general were made to have a less bass and less resonant tone.


A highly regarded luthier I once spoke to said he always left the screws out of the Gibson bridges (on repairs, etc) to

improve the resonance of the bridge and bridgeplate area. As long as the bridgeplate is doing its job the screws are not needed.

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My understanding was that they were braced heavier as well. I have never played a converted HG though so that is just hearsay.


If you have played the guitar and like the way that it sounds and plays then I say you should go for it. If it feels like it is "second best" then I would pass. You would always feel that you settled for less instead of holding out for the one.


I don't think the lack of truss rod is a problem if A the neck is straight now and B you aren't going to be taking it to different climates such as on tour. If you want to take this guitar on tour then I would choose something more stable and with a truss rod.


I don't think the screws are an issue. Seems like if the bridge is pulling up then it needs to be reglued right then. If the bolts are the only thing holding the bridge down then you risk damage and warping of the top.


Can you post some pictures of the possible new HG-00? Here is a link to some pictures of mine: My '33 L-00


Here is a post I did on another 00 owned by the granddaughter of the original owner. She didn't even know what it was! Instagram L-00

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I owned a very clean, nice HG00 from this era. I don't have any pictures up to post, maybe later. The sunburst on late 30s Gibson can be some of their finest. Most I have seen from this era have shading. If you look at enough Gibson guitars as I do you will begin to notice some subtle changes. Anyway that is just looks. Or do you have one of the more rare Black finishes?


Mine too was also converted with the wide neck. It played very, very well like an original Spanish set up. They do not get the respect they deserve. I do play lap style guitar, although I never raised the nut I'm quite sure it would have been been an outstanding Hawaiian guitar.


Number one is they are loud and raw. Like a heavier braced J35 variant. I'm talking about hitting them with a pic. They do well with fingers. They are heavier braced than the standard model. I think they is where they get some of the rawness and volume.


Left the screws out,well that is over and done and not worth fretting about.


$3500 is what I sold mine for a couple of years ago. It was beautiful and played like a champ. They do come up and I don't know that people jump all over them, again most people have stayed away from them without every playing one.


Have you played this guitar? Have you played any pre-war L00 varients?

These guitars don't side a new one, good or bad.



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Hello again,


Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I am going to try the HG00 later this week. I have played L-00's and L-1's from this period when I was living in NYC for a short period of time. I still regret that I didn't buy one of those, but I knew too little then. What intrigued me was the lightness and the sound. I take it from your replies that I don't have to worry too much about the missing screws and truss rod. That's good to know. Now, all there is left is to play it and consider the advice not to go for the second best. Here's a link to the seller's pictures:




Thanks again.




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  • 6 months later...

They are excellent guitars for Spanish style playing when converted (usually with just a new nut). Wonderful fingerstyle instruments with 12 frets. If you prefer a wider nut (about 1 7/8") and a full neck it is perfect.


Do not hesitate to try or buy. Too many people on the internet who have never actually played one trying to describe what it sounds like! The bracing is fine... having a 12 fret neck puts the bridge in a different spot and the sound is sweet and wonderful.

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