1930s Gibson L-30 Archtop Thinline Body Conversion Guitar

My friend Charlie bought the parts of this instrument in an auction -- the original '30s Gibson L-30 neck and top (with busted-off side remains) -- and I finally got around to doing something with it. I mated it to some really old cedar (from '30s telephone poles -- provided by my buddy Butch) which I hollowed-out on the quick (Forstner bit!).

I had to move the neck "inboard" almost 2 frets to get enough area to glue into the body... the original dovetail was not useful as it was quite damaged... and so this has changed from a 4" depth carved-top guitar with a 14-fret joint at its inception to a thinline (1 1/2" body depth) instrument with a 12-fret joint. The joint was "oh so fun" to cut-out and of course I glued it all up with epoxy and thickener and it's pat and sturdy.

It's got plenty of volume and snap for such a thin acoustic -- I'm not missing anything with it and it can hang-in with a group if you play it "snap-chord"-style like you... would... on an archtop -- but it definitely doesn't have the bass you'd get with a deeper guitar, of course. It has a mandolin-like presence to the upper-register notes and you can very definitely hear that more when you're crosspicking and playing fills and whatnot.

To sum it up -- it does what I want it to do -- it fits in an electric guitar gigbag, sounds good singing-with or jamming-with, and looks nice and classic from the front. The cedar will also ding and scratch easily so it will eventually merge with the aesthetic of the rest of the guitar (tortured).

The tuners and tailpiece are '50s parts-bin fins, the bridge is a newer rosewood one, and the strap buttons are new, of course, with aged finish. The nut is new bone, too, but the truss cover is original. It's lightweight at 3 and a half pounds or so as well. I'm on the fence about a pickguard or pickup but if I do go "electric" with it, it'll be a K&K acoustic pickup, probably.

Ready for some criminal undertaking shots? Here ya go...


Reese said…
I like everything about this being.
Rusty said…
Great save !!! I applaud what you have done to save this cool piece.
Btw is this guitar for sale ?