Gibson L-4 Acoustic guitar – U.S.A. – 1912


Acoustic Hollow Body guitar


Spruce top, maple back and sides, mahogany neck

Ebony fretboard


A larger and louder instrument than the L1 and L3 models, Gibson’s L4 was originally intended as a grand concert model due to its sheer size. The body is 40.5 cm / 16 inches wide in the hips, giving the instrument more than enough sex appeal and presence. It quickly became the favorite instrument among the musicians of rhythm and blues and big bands in the emerging Dixieland of the early 20th century. The L-4 is the Gibson model that has been in production the longest. The current model, which went out of circulation in 1956 but which resumed production in the late 1980s, has a Florentine cutaway.
This 1912 specimen is hand-carved and made from the same wood as the smaller L-series instruments, but features an additional fret and an oval soundhole with ivory inlays. In 1928, the sound hole became round, until in 1935 Lloyd Loars-f holes were seen on the L-5 model.
When the electric guitar emerged in the 1950s, Gibson manufactured his ES-175, a model that was based on the L-4 in design and construction. However, the wood carved head was replaced and a cutaway was made. Gibson later designed his L-4 CES (Cutaway Electric Spanish) with various pickup settings.

Last updated on 5 May 2020
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