Gibson Super 400-CES Archtop guitar – U.S.A. – 1951


Electro-Acoustic Hollow Body Archtop guitar


Maple and spruce body, maple neck

Ebony fretboard

Two P-90 single coil pickups, later two humbuckers


The original Gibson Super 400 was an influential pre-war acoustic archtop guitar. This prestigious instrument was released in 1934 and had a huge $ 400 price tag. After the war, a few Super 400s with elements were ordered, and Gibson realized that an electric version of this model was inevitable. He introduced the Super 400-CES in 1951. This was Gibson’s first dual pickup guitar.
The body was the same as the big Super 400, but now had a cutaway. The instrument was equipped with state-of-the-art electronics. In 1952, this meant two P-90 single-coil pickups, each with a volume and tone control knob and a threeway-position switch. The spruce top was slightly thicker to support the electronics and counteract feedback.
Within two years, the P90s were replaced by Gibson’s Alnico-V pickups with “staple” magnetic poles instead of the P-90 screws. In 1953, the Tune-o-matic bridge was added to the Super 400 ES. Gibson’s innovative humbuckers were installed around 1957.

Last updated on 11 May 2020
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