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  #1  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:58 AM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Default Wood composition? Lefty conversion Gibson L-48 archtop charlie Christian lollars




Hi folks,

I’ve had this Gibson L-48 since 2014, purchased it from the infamous Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd whilst on vacation in their vintage section. It was the only lefty there and I got it for a good price. Doesn’t get a lot of playing time as I’m not much of a jazz guitarist. They had it labelled as a Gibson L-50 upon sale, but my research shows it to be an L48 that was professionally converted into an ES-125/150 with the Charlie Christian lollar pickups. The serial number appears to be 8154 34 (images below) and Guitar Center had it labelled as a 1951 model.

I have always wondered what the main distinctions are of the L50’s and L48s, but all images of l50s I found were of the block inlay.

I am wondering if anyone can help me date this model and also determine whether or not it is an l-50 or l-48. Furthermore, does it appear to be a solid top or pressed top? Lastly, is it a spruce top with mahogany sides and maple back, or Mahogany top and sides with the maple back?

Lastly, any idea of an approximation of value for this modified version of the guitar? The workmanship is incredible.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Dee


* uploaded photos to flickr: link provided below

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/


*note: I have since contacted Gibson and they've indicated that the guitar with serial number 8154 34 was made in 1951, but they are unable to tell me if it is an L-48 or an L-50. (#34 at the end indicates it was the 34th guitar produced on that day out of 40. Gibson didn’t start using the letter prefix on these models until 1952, so mine was the last production year with this type of serial number. I assume if we can determine if the top is carved or laminated it will indicate if this is an L-48 or L-50.

Still trying to determine wood composition (especially top).

Last edited by G55ddl; 06-03-2020 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Photo link
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2020, 10:46 AM
The Old Gaffer The Old Gaffer is offline
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I believe the

L-50: had block inlays, neck binding, 6 individual tuners.

L-48: dot inlays, no neck binding and 3-on a side- tuners.

I always figured they were made of the same stuff.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:35 PM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Any idea how I attach images?
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:58 PM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G55ddl View Post
Any idea how I attach images?
You can't embed that one. The site you hosted it on prevents it.

Normally, you'd just take the link and put it between [ IMG ] tags.
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:08 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G55ddl View Post
Hi folks,

Iíve had this Gibson L-48 since 2014 purchased it from the infamous Guitar center on sunset Blvd whilst on vacation in their vintage section. It was the only lefty there and I got it for a good price. Doesnít get a lot of playing time as Iím not much of a jazz guitarist. They had it labelled as a Gibson L-50 upon sale, but my research shows it to be an L48 that was professionally converted into an Es125/150 with the Charlie Christian lollar pickups. The serial number appears to either be 315434 or 815434 (images below) and guitar center had it labelled as a 1951 model.

I have always wondered what the main distinctions are of the L50ís and L48s, but all images of l50s I found were of the block inlay.

I am wondering if anyone can help me date this model and also determine whether or not it is an l-50 or l-48. Furthermore, does it appear to be a solid top or pressed top? Lastly, is it a spruce top with mahogany sides and maple back, or Mahogany top and sides with the maple back?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Dee
The L-48 was usually made from a combination of laminated mahogany top/rims and maple back - which, interestingly enough, resulted in a reasonably good-sounding guitar for the money (FWIW upright bass players had discovered the tonal/structural merits of laminated instruments a couple decades earlier); the use of spruce in some of the very earliest models may in fact have resulted from Gibson's attempt to clear out existing prewar/wartime L-50 bodies - FWIW there are also reportedly some extremely rare, solid-top postwar ES-125 electrics out there (which Loar copied with their LH-309/319) - in which case the tops would indeed have been carved...

An alternative scenario is that the laminated mahogany top would serve to visually distinguish the L-48 from the L-50 (the LP-style trapezoid markers would not be adopted on the latter for a few years), and/or that the laminated spruce top did not provide the tone/volume Gibson was seeking. Inasmuch as the competitor Guild A-50 would be introduced several years later with a laminated maple top (a number of other contemporary low-end archtops also used laminated hardwood tops- often birch - and the laminated spruce-top, entry-level Gretsch New Yorker was generally regarded as acoustically inferior), there's a certain logic to the argument - unfortunately, at this point in time the only evidence for either position is anecdotal and apocryphal at best...

Finally, to the best of my knowledge the serial numbers would place the production date somewhere in the mid-1960's - most emphatically not 1951 as you were told; although the 16" Gibson archtops (L-50 and L-48) were cataloged through 1970 it's generally accepted that production was discontinued somewhere between late '66 and mid '67, and without photos for reference I'm going to speculate you've got one of those...

Hope this helps...
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:16 AM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Thanks for all the helpful information. I contacted Gibson and they've indicated that the guitar with serial number 8154 34 was made in 1951. Gibson didn’t start using the letter prefix on these models until 1952, so mine was the last production year with this type of serial number.

Still trying to determine wood composition, whether or not it is an L-48 or L-50. (images below):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Last edited by G55ddl; 06-03-2020 at 10:00 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2020, 09:33 AM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Default hotos of L48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
The L-48 was usually made from a combination of laminated mahogany top/rims and maple back - which, interestingly enough, resulted in a reasonably good-sounding guitar for the money (FWIW upright bass players had discovered the tonal/structural merits of laminated instruments a couple decades earlier); the use of spruce in some of the very earliest models may in fact have resulted from Gibson's attempt to clear out existing prewar/wartime L-50 bodies - FWIW there are also reportedly some extremely rare, solid-top postwar ES-125 electrics out there (which Loar copied with their LH-309/319) - in which case the tops would indeed have been carved...

An alternative scenario is that the laminated mahogany top would serve to visually distinguish the L-48 from the L-50 (the LP-style trapezoid markers would not be adopted on the latter for a few years), and/or that the laminated spruce top did not provide the tone/volume Gibson was seeking. Inasmuch as the competitor Guild A-50 would be introduced several years later with a laminated maple top (a number of other contemporary low-end archtops also used laminated hardwood tops- often birch - and the laminated spruce-top, entry-level Gretsch New Yorker was generally regarded as acoustically inferior), there's a certain logic to the argument - unfortunately, at this point in time the only evidence for either position is anecdotal and apocryphal at best...

Finally, to the best of my knowledge the serial numbers would place the production date somewhere in the mid-1960's - most emphatically not 1951 as you were told; although the 16" Gibson archtops (L-50 and L-48) were cataloged through 1970 it's generally accepted that production was discontinued somewhere between late '66 and mid '67, and without photos for reference I'm going to speculate you've got one of those...

Hope this helps...



Here are the photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Also, the cracks on the sides, is this an expensive repair? There appears to be some tape inside where an old repair job was completed on some of the cracking.

Last edited by G55ddl; 06-03-2020 at 09:59 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2020, 03:50 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G55ddl View Post
...I contacted Gibson and they've indicated that the guitar with serial number 8154 34 was made in 1951...
Had you originally posted the number in the above form I would have recognized it as a batch number - as you state, Gibson didn't use serial numbers on their low-end instruments until later in their production runs - which, although it's somewhat less specific than a serial number, at least provides a fairly good idea of when a particular guitar was made...

Sorry for the confusion...
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:14 PM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Had you originally posted the number in the above form I would have recognized it as a batch number - as you state, Gibson didn't use serial numbers on their low-end instruments until later in their production runs - which, although it's somewhat less specific than a serial number, at least provides a fairly good idea of when a particular guitar was made...

Sorry for the confusion...
No problem at all. Did you happen to get a look at the photos? Wondering about the wood composition of the guitar, particularly if it is laminated or not.
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:41 PM
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jaan jaan is offline
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IMO, you have a mahogany top, and maple back. To see of the top is solid, pull the pickup and look to see if the wood exposed is layered. It should be fairly easy to tell since the top was cut to insert the pickup, so you should have a clean edge to look at.
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Old 06-04-2020, 01:36 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaan View Post
IMO, you have a mahogany top, and maple back. To see of the top is solid, pull the pickup and look to see if the wood exposed is layered...
If the top is mahogany it's definitely laminated - the only solid tops would be spruce (some of which were also laminated on the early versions TMK), and those are a rarity...
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:25 PM
G55ddl G55ddl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
If the top is mahogany it's definitely laminated - the only solid tops would be spruce (some of which were also laminated on the early versions TMK), and those are a rarity...

Thanks, guys! This helps a lot. I agree that it is probably a laminated mahogany top.
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archtop, gibson acoustic, gibson es-125, gibson l-48, gibson l-50

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