1951 Gibson CF-100 00-Size Cutaway Guitar

This lovingly-played CF-100 has been in the same family for a long time and the current owner has played it since he was a teenager. Now that it's buttoned-up and humming it's a spot-on player and it has that classic, LG-2-style sound -- midsy, punchy, and even with good snap when dug-into.

CF-100s are rare birds and so it was a bit exciting to have one around. The sharp cutaway is always a good look on a sunburst Gibson, I think, and the extra board and headstock inlay is, of course, to be desired as well.

It has a ton of battle scars (repaired/broken headstock, lots of wear and tear, some hairline cracks in the back) but when it arrived here it had previously had a neck reset (clean job) but the soundhole had extremely dramatic distortion from compression fatigue and so the guitar's action had climbed post-reset and it wasn't stable anymore. To compound matters, the saddle is extra-tall and that just adds more leverage into the equation.

I fixed the soundhole collapse issue with some extra bracing to either side of it. I used lightweight cedar on the bass side (the longest run) and basically made an "extra wide brace" to stabilize that area. I used a thinner, smaller, triangular block of pine to help the treble side. Clamping it overnight yielded a top that was back to rights and, when strung-up, the guitar didn't deflect in that area at all. Yip! The final bit of surgery in that area was to pull-up the fretboard extension and then shim it up to better match the angle of the rest of the board.

My last work was then to give it a level/dress, fit a set of (replacement, but period-correct) Kluson tuners on it, add a strap button, fit a K&K pickup the customer provided, and set it up. I'm still not happy with the extra-tall saddle it came with because a thin, extra-tall saddle like that will always lean forward in a through-saddle-slot, but I did tell the owner that it could be solved the way I would for this -- filling the slot, cutting a wider drop-in slot, and making a new, wider bone saddle for it. The extra width and drop-in design means that the height of the saddle doesn't matter because the saddle has more grip in the slot.

Suffice to say, I'm really happy that the owner let me solve all of these structural problems for the guitar because I was worried that it had strings on it at all when it arrived.


Ivan said…
Another nice save by the country doctor!!