FON 1390A. Gibson’s 14 fret maple Nick Lucas Special is considered by those who are lucky enough to have played or owned one to be among the finest sounding acoustic guitar models ever built. So few were made, though, that most of players have not been able to develop a first-hand opinion.
Many followers of our website will be familiar with the earlier Nick Lucas versions – those built between 1927 and 1932 – with their 12 or 13 fret necks, various bracing patterns, and both large and small bodies. But the 14 fret maple is a completely different animal, with its more robust build, 14 fret bridge placement, and maple back and sides. This example is both loud and balanced, but with all the richness and warmth we want to hear in a vintage Gibson. The extra air volume inside the guitar translates to increased bass response and overall-bigness of tone, and the Nick Lucas really responds in a big small guitar kind of way. It’s quick and raw, but refined enough for smoothness.
Really at home under a heavy right-hand fingerpicked attack, the guitar is equally adept at clean and precise playing and a medium energy. Flatpickers will appreciated the guitar’s archtop-like quickness and articulation, mixed well with the guitar’s big flat-top warmth, darkness, and subtlety.
A unique guitar amongst unique guitars, this Nick Lucas features a darker than normal sunburst finish, which was likely a custom one-off order. It’s not uncommon to find custom features on high-end vintage Gibsons, and we suspect the original buyer for this guitar stipulated a sunburst that looked more akin to the rubbed sunbursts of a few years earlier. Time has erased the full story, unfortunately. Regardless, it’s a particularly attractive sunburst, and appears to be factory original.
The guitar is in excellent condition. Apart from the saddle and frets it is completely original. There are no internal repairs other that a few cleanly reglued back brace ends, and the original bridge plate is in excellent condition. The original bridge has been reglued, and there is small finish repair on along the front’s edge. The neck has never been reset, and the neck angle is fine. The bridge is full thickness, and saddle has the perfect height. The back of the guitar shows two repaired cracks and localized overspray that’s cleanly blended in. The neck is original and not terribly worn, and the number 2301 was stamped into the back side of the headstock. This was an export guitar, and the extra numbering was likely a distributor’s inventory number. Made in USA stamped on the headstock. Original Grover tuners, and plastic pins.
Figured maple back and sides, Red spruce top with X bracing. 4-3/4” deep body that tapers only ½” to 4-1/4” at the heel. Dark sunburst lacquer finish, triple bound top and back, bound soundhole, firestripe pickguard. Bound rosewood fingerboard with Nick Lucas pearl inlays, mahogany neck with mid 1930’s V-profile neck carve. 1-3/4” width at the nut, 24-3/4” scale, and 2-3/8” string spread at the bridge. Action set at 5-6 64ths with regular light gauge strings.
Complete with its original red-line fitted hardshell case, this is an incredible package. It has pretty much everything one would want out of a 30’s Gibson flat-top, and then some.
Shipping into the USA?
Sending this guitar to a US address is easy to do, and there are no import fees, taxes, or duties to pay when it arrives. We take care of everything involved in shipping – all you have to do unpackage the instrument when it arrives and play!
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Folkway Music offers a 48 hour approval period. We will refund your payment if you are not 100% satisfied with your instrument. All shipping costs are non-refundable, however, and are the responsibility of the purchaser.