Up for sale, a 1947 Gibson L-7 archtop in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. As Gibson's most popular professional sized archtop, the L-7 is identical in construction to the venerable L-5, with only minor cosmetic differences and the same legendary Gibson Jazz Box tone. With its generous 17" lower bout, hand carved Adirondack spruce top, and hand carved figured maple back, this all solid wood vintage archop has a richness and detail to the tone that is unparalleled. Sure to satisfy the needs of serious players and the exacting standards of collectors, this vintage Gibson is 100% original aside from a professional refret and new bone nut, and comes complete with a second pickguard boasting a Kent Armstrong floating PAF!
Currently strung with Thomastik Jazz Bebop 12-50 roundwound nickel strings, this guitar is a joy to play, with an acoustic tone that has great projection and midrange power. The treble response sparkles with a roundness and punch commensurate with the impressive size of the instrument, and the wound strings are focused and clear, with a great bloom that stays present without being too boomy. Of course the optional and self contained extra floating pickguard adds a whole palette of electric tones to the mix, with a volume knob and a discreet 1/4" jack mounted to the underside of the pickguard. The Kent Armstrong PAF has 12 adjustable pole pieces for optimal string balance, and these pickups are shielded, wax potted, and hand wound in the USA using Alnico V magnets. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this L-7 is dialed in with low, comfortable action.
The figured maple neck has a generous and full chunky C shaped profile that falls firmly in Gibson "baseball bat" territory, with big shoulders and a shape that fills the palm, yet still allows for deft lead work and easy chording. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearloid split-parallelogram inlays and a professional refret with wire that matches the width and crown of Gibson's fretwire in the era. The new frets show virtually no wear, with perfectly rounded crowns and great playability up the neck with no buzzing or dead spots. There is light wear into the fretboard itself from honest use over the decades, with fainter wear in the first position and a few deeper grooves beneath the plain strings from frets 8-10. The nut measures a full 1 11/16" in width, and the original nut has been replaced with a hand carved piece of bone. The headstock boasts one of the very last "fat script" pearloid Gibson logos as used since the '30s, along with a crown inlay and original open back Kluson tuners with original keystone buttons.
On the body, the original carved and compensated Brazilian rosewood floating bridge is intact, along with the original nickel trapeze tailpiece with raised parallelogram crossbar. The Kent Armstrong pickup and replacement tortoise pickguard are currently mounted with the original nickel pickguard bracket, and a second pickguard bracket is included with the original tortoise pickguard. While the stock pickguard is included with this L-7, it is starting to show symptoms of off gassing and light disintegration around where the bracket mounts, and as such is not mounted on the guitar at this time. Visible through the bass side F hole, this guitar has one of the earliest postwar "A" prefix serial numbers on a clean and original white oval label.
Cosmetically, this guitar is in truly fantastic shape, with zero cracks or repairs and a rich and 100% original nitro lacquer tobacco sunburst finish. The maple used in the hand carved back and neck is highly figured, with curly flame figuring most prominent on the guitar's lower bout. There is faint finish checking across the entire body and bound headstock, along with an assortment of scattered small nicks on the body as a whole, and one particular scuff of note adjacent to the treble side edge of the tailpiece crossbar. There is also moderate wear down to the bare maple along portions of the neck profile between frets 3 and 9.
The original hardshell case is included. The case is in great overall shape, with working latches, a replacement handle, clean purple interior, and a black exterior. There is a bit of black gaffe tape along one edge for cosmetic reasons, but the original textured covering is really remarkably well kept given the materials used and vintage of the instrument.