1940 Gibson-made Recording King M-3 Carved-Top Archtop Guitar

It's pretty hard to go wrong with a 16" Gibson carved-top guitar from this era. They have snap and velvet in equal portions and a clean, easy sound. The shorter scale length and lower arch to their tops gives them a creamy vibe that makes them great back-up or chordal sluggers in a trad jazz, swing, old-time, or rootsy environment.

This one bears the Recording King brand but it's Gibson-made and basically something akin to a Gibson L-50 from the time but with f-hole shapes borrowed from the Kalamazoo line and a neck with no truss-rod. The neck is 5-piece maple, however, and plenty stiff and straight. Another nice perk of this particular guitar? Zero cracks... and it's all-original throughout.

Work included: a fret level/dress, minor compensation/mod to the bridge saddle, minor reinforcement to the celluloid pickguard, cleaning, and a setup. The neck is straight and it plays spot-on with low 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. It's adjustable up/down a good amount at the adjustable bridge, too. Strings are 54w, 42w, 32w, 24w, 16, 12 standard lights.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 9/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20 1/4"
Lower bout width: 16"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/4" +top/back arch
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: maple sides, ply maple back
Neck wood: 5-piece maple
Bracing type: tonebar
Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, bone nut
Bridge: Brazilian rosewood, bone saddle
Neck feel: medium C-shape, ~10-12" board radius

Condition notes: minor scratches and weather-check throughout, minor use-wear to the back of the neck, but overall pretty dang good for its age. The frets are the low, small, old Gibson stock but still have plenty of life in them.

It comes with: a gigbag.

The tortoise celluloid pickguard has an outgassing crack/scar near the fretboard extension. I backed this with some stick-on pickguard material behind it -- it won't fall apart on you.

I love the pearl dots that Gibson added to the bridge wings on this guy.

The figured-maple back is ply but it's so pretty!

Those translucent-yellow tuner buttons are the bee's knees.