1923 Gibson L-4 Carved-Top Archtop Guitar

There's no doubt about it -- these small-body Gibson archtops from the 1910s and 1920s sure are easy on the eyes. They've got great lines!

This one is a customer's guitar that was in for a variety of reasons, but now that it's repaired (fixed seams at the neck joint and various side spots, a level/dress of the frets, fitting of an adjustable bridge, and setup work) it's playing bang-on.

It has a good, choppy, band-leading sort-of sound that's a bit alien to today's tastes but would have made a heck of a lot of sense in an era when a steel-string guitar was used both like a guitar and also like a snare drum or tenor banjo in a band's mix -- it was meant to keep everything together and pure volume and snap was the most important asset. This will, of course, fill that role.

As per the usual for this model, it's made of carved spruce in the top and the back and sides are maple. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fretboard and while the original bridge was ebony, we've matched the fretboard by using a rosewood bridge instead. Everything on the guitar is original except for the trapeze/crossbar on the tailpiece which is a later replacement.


Hey Jake,
Are you sure this isn't the similar L-3?
I own a 1924 L-4 (excellent guitar) and a friend owns a 1916 (in rougher shape but also excellent, quite more flat-top like and far lighter in build with a lot less of an arch in the top) and they are both the same size and have an oval sound-hole; over all sharing the same general appearance.
Either way, nice guitar!