The label inside this soundhole features a photo of Lucas holding a Special, with "Nick Lucas Special" on its upper circumference and "Made by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich., U.S.A." at the bottom.

Gibson's acoustic Nick Lucas Special was a distinguished debut entry in the history of signature model guitars.

Think of Gibson's golden era and your imagination may spark to Les Paul. Think of the golden era of Gibson acoustics, and you'd do well to think of Nick Lucas. Originally produced from the late 1920s through the '30s, the Nick Lucas Special was introduced as Gibson's first signature guitar. According to experts, it arrived in late '27 or early '28, and the last one was manufactured in 1938 and shipped in '41.

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This one-owner Gretsch shows its age, but plenty of exercise and fresh air have kept its binding and hardware intact, and its single-coils singing.

To fall in love with a vintage Gretsch, one often needs a strong heart. Say you chance upon a closet find: a '60s Country Gentleman that has been carefully stored for decades. You open the case and what do you see? Often, rotten binding crumbling off the body, and the rot's corrosive fumes have wreaked havoc on the hardware.

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