The iconic Delta-blues guitar: Gibson’s L-1. With its plain headstock and simple one-ply body binding, this L-1 projects an understated—even utilitarian—vibe. The L-1 began as part of Gibson’s archtop


The iconic Delta-blues guitar: Gibson’s L-1.


With its plain headstock and simple one-ply body binding, this L-1 projects an understated—even utilitarian—vibe.
The L-1 began as part of Gibson’s archtop line in 1902. This version was transformed and modified in various ways until it was discontinued in 1925. In 1926, the L-1 (along with the L-0) was reborn as one of Gibson’s first standard production flattops.

Gibson L-1s are known for their even balance and response. This is due to very delicate construction using light, thin wood and thin finishes. These features alone would make the guitar appeal to players and collectors, but the L-1 also has the distinction of being the model used by the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. The best-known existing photo of Johnson shows him playing a late-’20s or early-’30s L-1.

The Gibson L-1 pictured this month has features that indicate it was likely built in 1930. These features include a 14 3/4" body width, one-ply white binding on the top and back, an unbound neck that joins the body at the 12th fret, a rectangular rosewood bridge, and “The Gibson” as the headstock logo. The back and sides are mahogany, while the top is spruce.

You can find a wealth of detailed information on the L-1 and other Gibson acoustics in Gibson’s Fabulous Flat- Top Guitars: An Illustrated History & Guide by Eldon Whitford, David Vinopal, and Dan Erlewine, and also in Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars by George Gruhn and Walter Carter.

And if you love the blues and want to understand the roots of rock, be sure to investigate Robert Johnson and his influences in Elijah Wald’s Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.


Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
davesguitar.com
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.

U2’s The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin, Co-Founders of Music Rising, (musicrising.com) have announced Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising to take place December 11th, 2021, starting at 10:00 a.m. PST. Hosted by Van Eaton Galleries (vegalleries.com) in Los Angeles, the live and online auction will offer a significant collection of guitars and other music memorabilia by some of the world’s most prominent musicians and friends of Music Rising. The auction will take the charity back to its roots and help support the musicians of the NOLA region after a long period being without income.

Read More Show less

Mystery Stocking is here! These will sell out fast, so don't miss it!

Read More Show less
x