Hello, everyone. I’m back with another edition of Scotty’s Guitar of the Week!
Today, I am bringing you a sweeeeeeeet guitar. This is 1949 Gibson, that we believe to be either an L-5 or L-50. I first came across this guitar when I started my apprenticeship at Frets and Necks almost three years ago.
I love archtop guitars because they have a very unique sound. They sound thinner than big flat top dreadnoughts like a Martin D-18, but they are meant for a different style of music. These guitars sound awesome in jazz, folk and delta blues. There are also electric variants with pickups and cutaways.
These are typically made by hand-carving a bowl into the spruce top and maple or birch back.
The story behind this guitar is really sad. The original owner bought it, probably in the 1960s, because he wanted to learn to play and perform. After a few lessons his teacher told him bluntly to just sell his guitar because he couldn’t sing and would never be able to play guitar well enough to perform. As a teacher myself I was totally appalled when he told me this, because I would never turn away a student who is eager to learn. I am a firm believer that anyone can play an instrument. We might not all take the stage at Carnegie Hall, but everyone has the right and ability to partake in the joy of creating music. What that teacher did was deprive someone of joy and that’s just wrong and shameful.
The previous owner put this guitar on consignment at Frets & Necks probably around 4-6 years ago, and it sat…and it sat…and it sat…and it sat. It had many admirers, but no one wanted to take home the little Gibson, complete with her character marks and signs of aging.
I kept prodding my girlfriend, Ashley, to try this little beauty out, but she kept declining. Eventually she relented and picked her up and fell in love. Any chance she got, she came into the shop to play the Gibson. It took a few months, and a lot of fear of someone else buying the guitar as a Christmas present, but she finally gave the Gibson a home. And I’m glad she did. Not only do I get the extra opportunity to study and play this guitar, but I felt like she deserved this beauty.
This Gibson is easy to play, sounds great and produces some awesome overtones.
I’ll leave you with some pictures and a video link. In case you’re wondering, I put the hoop in the picture because my girlfriend let’s me put my music equipment everywhere, because I let her put her hoops everywhere. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Video clip of the Gibson in action.