The unbound neck came with a fretboard was made of “wood” that was “ebonized” or stained black. On the 5th, 7tn and 9th frets were white dot inlays. The Gibson logo, painted in white, adorned the head stock. The tuners were 3 on a side plate style with white or black buttons.
This guitar had an ebony “belly” bridge with pins securing the strings. The neck joined the body at the 12th fret. There was no pickguard on this model. The guitar retailed for $35.00 USD
Guitars in the L series were very popular with Blues players and fingerpickers due to their upper and mid range timbre and price point.
In 1930 to 1931 the body was widened to 14 ¾” on the lower bout (exactly the same shape as the Gibson L-2). The shape of the guitar was changed from a rounded bottom style. The bottom of the body was more of a square shape. The bridge was made of a rosewood rectangle with an angled saddle.
The top, back and sides were all made of mahogany. The rosewood fretboard was unbound and had dot inlays on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets. The same 3 on-a-side tuners were used.
The 1926 version included the small body with a 13 ½” span at the lower bout. The end of the body was elongated and rounded as was the style of the day. This guitar had a slightly arched spruce top that was stained amber. However some models did come with a natural finish.
The rosette around the sound hole was fancier than that of the L-0 with 3 consecutive black rings with white rings between them. The back had a slight carve and was made of birch as was the guitars sides. These were stained brown.
The Gibson logo was painted in white on the head stock. The tuners were 3-on-a-side plate models. This list price for the L-1 was $50.00 USD.
The only change in 1929 was the addition of an extra bridge pin, though some 1928 model, like the one pictured, had this feature. Some models made later in that year had a rectangular rosewood bridge.
|1930 L-1 catalog|
Despite the improvements, the price was dropped from $50.00 to $37.50. These were the Great Depression years. No changes occurred until 1937 when the model was discontinued.
The top of the body was bound with white trim and had a white pickguard.
The unbound V-shaped neck had a fretboard of ebonized “wood” with white dot inlays at the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets. It joined the body at the 12th fret. The logo on the head stock read either The Gibson or Gibson in white paint. The tuners were 3-on-a-side plate open back tuners.
The top was bound on all models and some came with back binding too. This guitar came with white dot inlays on the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets. The headstock now read Gibson in white paint. There was a fire-striped tortoise pickguard (not made of tortoise shell.) The model listed at $27.50 USD.
All guitars had top and back binding. The guitar listed at $30.00 USD.
|L-2 1929 Catalog|
Many had a pickguard that was bolted on the top and the side of the guitar, similar to what is found on Gibson archtop guitars. The top was available in a gray or natural finish.
The top remained spruce, but the back and sides were mahogany instead of rosewood. The headstock logo stated “Gibson.” Two years later the L-2 was discontinued.
|Gibson L-2 Florentine|
In the case of the instrument pictured above, the Venetian scenes were hand-painted using oil based paints and the spruce body was left unfinished. The fretboard of the neck was topped with pearloid material. Instead of position markers, scenes of Venice are scrimshawed in between the frets with a coat of lacquer preserving the work. The headstock is inlaid with rhinestones, which not just provide a center decoration, but outline the guitars head. The entire body is painted, though some of this has worn off of the back of the neck, due to it being played. This late 1920's version features the rounded bottomm a V shaped neck and H bracing. The tuning buttons are pearl.
|Late 1920's Gibson L-2 Florentine|
|Check out the bodies depth and the width of the neck.|
Let me clarify the term Jazz. It was originally associated with an amalgam of syncopated popular music. This sort of music was played by New Orleans artists as well as small orchestras. It was the music of the 1920’s long before it became Jazz as we know it today.
The Gold Diggers of Broadway. In this movie he sang two songs that would become popular, which were Painting the Clouds with Sunshine and Tiptoe through the Tulips.
|From Gibson Catalog|
This was in 1924. I said, "If you'll build a guitar to my specifications that's not too bulky, I'll throw this guitar away” I wanted a wider neck, deeper sides, and a smaller body that would be more presentable on stage.
|All Brazillian rosewood.|
He did not actually throw the Galliano guitar away, but gave it to his brother, Anthony. Lucas kept a backup guitar in the event a string would break during a performance.
His collection and other memorabilia are now housed at a Santa Monica theater where he often played. The collection includes some other Gibson models including a J-160E, several Gibson Lucas guitars, a Martin 000-45, his Galliano and an Orpheum signature archtop.
|1928 Nick Lucas|
|1928 with trapeze|
The original models had the round bottom body. There was a special “Nick Lucas” label inside the body.
|1928 Nick Lucas|
|1929 Nick Lucas|
|1930 Nick Lucas|
This guitar came with an elevated pick-guard or a glued on pick-guard. The fretboard was now made of ebony and raised off the guitar’s top.
|1934 Nick Lucas|
|1964 Bob Dylan with '30's Nick Lucas|
In those days these were considered “used” guitars and could be bought rather inexpensively. Gibson did not take advantage of reproductions in those days.
|1935 Gibson L-C|
|1943 L-1 and L-3|
By 1962 to 1963 the L-Series were replaced by the B-25 models. These were discontinued in 1977
In 1987 Gibson was under new ownership. This year the company bought out the Flatiron Mandolin Company and moved its acoustic manufacturing operations to Bozeman Montana. By 1990, under the leadership of luthier Ren Ferguson, Gibson began creating a reproduction of its L-00 series guitar along with many other of its well-known models.
|2014 L-00 Pro|
|2014 L-1 Blues|
Gibson makes some other small body guitars which include the 1932 L-0 model, the Robert Johnson L-1, which is $600 cheaper than the tribute model, the L-00 Legend, the Keb Mo’ Bluesmaster, the Arlo Guthrie LG-2 ¾, the Elvis Costello Limited Edition, which is based on a 1937 Gibson L-C, however instead of a plastic fretboard, on this model it is made of Madagascar rosewood that has a ivory colour, and the Blues King.