1928 Gibson L-4 Carved-Top Archtop Guitar

This snakehead L-4 is a stunner in many ways. It's a customer's instrument and was in for glorified setup work -- some seam repairs on the back/side join, a level/dress of the frets, bridge adjustments/modification, and setup -- and now that it's done-up it's serving admirably.

A previous repairman had thinned-up the back of the neck a bit and so compared to the average old-style L-4, this guitar is much more playable. It's more like handling a late-'30s Gibson neck as opposed to a chunky '20s one.

Tonally, it's much different than what an L-4 was in the 1910s and early 1920s as the body is wider, the top carve is a little different, and the bridge sits at the widest point of the top. It sounds full and rich compared to the older, small-body models which are much more cutting and biting in their sound.

The "11 1/2" fret neck joint might not be a winner for everyone but as a chordal backup guitar for old-time, country-blues, and the like it's a superb choice. It carries really well and has good volume and punch.

The top is carved spruce while the back and sides are maple. It has a mahogany neck and ebony fretboard and bridge. The original adjustable bridge needed slight tweaking to get enough adjustment room to make it useful, though that is pretty much par for the course on old Gibsons.