The Bluesbox Collection

1954 Gibson L-50

I bought this guitar in October of 1996 at the Blue Note guitar shop in Berkeley. The back is plain walnut stained maple (no sunburst). Someone in the past has sanded off the finish from most of the neck. There is evidence of some singed finish up on the peghead so I suspect that this guitar was in a fire and the finish on the neck was damaged. I was able to enhance the playability by using super-fine steel wool to hand rub in an oil finish. Everything on this instrument is stock except for the pickguard. This one has an aftermarket copy of an L5 pickguard, which only varies slightly from what would have been on it originally. The L-50 was introduced in 1932 as a budget carved top for the amazing price of...$50! Hence the model number - L-50. The original L-50 model was an archtop with a flat back and a round sound hole, but the model was changed in the 40's to be fully arched and with f-holes. The specs did not change again until the early 50's when the fret markers were upgraded to the trapizoid shape you see here (previously they were dots). They didn't sell well after 1950 and so the model was discontinued in 1966, although stocks were still being sold as new guitars as late as 1971. This one has a real nice neck and the carved top gives it a super sound. These are not considered very collectable - not fancy enough, but it is one of my favorite guitars for jam sessions because it has a radically different tone then your average dreadnaught with plenty of presence to cut through the din of multiple banging guitars. It also stands out because it doesn't look like the guitars that everyone else is playing. The one problem I have with this instrument is that the upper bout is a bit wider than average and so I have yet to find a case that fits it snugly. I use a dreadnaught gig bag most of the time. Fortunately, this is not a guitar that I would consider taking on a trip, since I paid about $1000 for it and it is somewhat delicate.

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