1956 Gibson LG-1 Flattop Guitar

I love old '50s LG-1s. They're woody and folksy but not too bluesy or spanky. The good ones (like this) really love getting attacked with a heavy-handed flatpicking approach. I'm still more enamored of an LG-2 for an "all-arounder" guitar, but these LG-1s record easily and have a distinct tone that sits right in the pocket.

This one was just here for repair, though it's obviously had a great life. It has tons of wear and tear throughout and probably has a million stories to tell. It's neck is that perfect, full-medium-C shape and it has the older, tighter, 10" board radius that makes it feel like "home base" to my paws.

Initially I thought it needed a neck reset, but upon clipping the strings I found a very-loose upper brace and a neckblock "pinch" -- meaning the block had shifted forward because two hairline cracks on either side of the fretboard had allowed it to travel.

Repairs included: shoring-up that block with a big rosewood "popsicle brace" and gluing/mating that with the reglue of the long upper-bout brace. I also cleated/sealed some previously-glued back cracks, made a new brace (from a vintage brace) for the middle-back, refretted the neck from frets 1-15, filled/redrilled the pinholes to patch a damaged bridge plate, cleaned it up a bit (removing a lot of gunk from the board), and set it up.

Setup notes: it plays beautifully with bang-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret with 1/8" of saddle adjustment left. The neck is straight and the truss works. The new medium-size frets really help bring the "fresh from the factory" feel back to the guitar. The originals were almost worn right down to the board (from playing and previous level jobs) on the treble side in frets 1-7.

Scale length: 24 11/16"
Nut width: 1 5/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 3/8"
String spacing at bridge: 2 3/16"
Body length: 19"
Lower bout width: 14 1/4"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 11"
Side depth at endpin: 4 3/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Bracing type: ladder
Fretboard: rosewood, synthetic nut
Bridge: rosewood, synthetic saddle
Neck feel: medium-full C-shape, 10" board radius

Condition notes: it's almost all original but does have replacement tuners and pins. The red pickguard looks killer. There are various cracks and old repairs but it's still going strong and, of course, there's a ton of wear-and-tear throughout the finish that's very evident. Much of the clearcoat is chipping-off as it ages on the back and sides. The bridge also looks like it was attacked on the top with some sort of file and shows deep gouging around the saddle area. I left that alone but did re-stain the top deck of the bridge to get its color more consistent.


Warren said…
Very nice Jake! Cheers!