By Tom Beaujour
On page 40 of the 1962 Gibson catalog, the Gibson L-7C is described as, “Extremely popular for orchestra use for its modern cutaway design, handsome appearance, exclusive features, and rich vibrant tone…an outstanding example of Gibson superior quality.”
The words must have been convincing to the original owner of this unusual custom-ordered L-7C, as they motivated him to put a little pencil check next to the guitar in the catalog and to meticulously spec out the appointments that he wished altered on the guitar seen here. His surviving hand-drawn blueprint for the guitar specifies that Gibson is to make the “nut width on the fingerboard approximately two (2) inches—(classical type neck).” Additionally, the fretboard width at the 12th fret is to be “approximately 2 7/16” inches.
Beyond its gigantic, one-of-a-kind neck proportions, this custom L-7C shares all of the period-correct attributes of the reasonably priced, and still-enduring, member of the Gibson acoustic archtop family: a 17-inch body, spruce top, curly maple back and sides, 25 1/2–inch scale, rosewood fingerboard with parallelogram inlays, rosewood bridge, and nickel-plated hardware.
This L7-C was shipped from the Gibson factory to Al Peterson’s House of Music in Hempstead, Long Island, on October 28, 1964, and remained in the possession of the original owner’s family until Matt Brewster, owner of New York’s 30th Street Guitars, recently acquired it. “When I asked why the neck was so big, the family told me that the owner was a very, very large man,” Brewster says. “I love all the sketches and papers that came with this instrument, as well as the fact that there’s even a little scroll with the guy’s name and contact information in the truss-rod cavity. It proves that there were guitar nerds just like us in 1964!”
Photo: Massimo Gammacurta