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May 18, 2024 - 1:40:57 PM
419 posts since 6/15/2006

I know this is not a guitar forum, but many banjo folks also know about guitars too. Back in 85 I was lucky to buy an old black Gib. L - 00. I have researched what I can on the net, and found out that it must be from 1932 or 1933. but some of its details say 32, and others 33, so is there anyone here that can help me, if I tell you about all its specifications. My son is also interested, and long ago I had to promise him never to sell this one, which I could never do anyway. But can anybody here help me? Steen

May 18, 2024 - 2:10:10 PM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)


30200 posts since 8/3/2003

We need pictures, the more the better. Front, back, headstock, tailpiece, any cracks, blemishes, dents, dings, etc.

There are probably vendors on here who have a lot of knowledge that you're looking for so put those pictures on here as soon as you can.

May 18, 2024 - 2:13:30 PM



5114 posts since 2/20/2016

The first thing to do is to shine a flashlight into the soundhole and see if there is a factory order number visible on the neck block. If not, the instrument must be dated by specifications.

We would need the following information:

1. Is the back bound?
2. Does it have a pickguard, and if so, is it white, firestripe grained, or tortoise grained?
3. Does the neck join the body at the 12th, 13th, or 14th fret?

At the very least, a clear picture of the front of the guitar would be very helpful.

Also, understand that dating Gibsons from this period is not always an exact science. Sometimes the best we can do is to approximate the date by +/- one year.

Edited by - rcc56 on 05/18/2024 14:18:51

May 19, 2024 - 5:59:01 AM

419 posts since 6/15/2006

To Sherry and Bob. Thanks for your help. I can not send you pictures by now. I am 78 and not technically updated and my "stone age" Nokia with "25 pickles" will be no good :). My son can help me, but he does not live in my town.
Till then this about the guitar:

It is for the age wellkept and a great old time guitar with a big sound and has served me as that for many years (I play old time banjo and guitar). Besides that:

1) It is black and very lightweight.
2) Only top binding
3) Fon no. on the neckblock reads 364
4) The back is in one piece it seems
5) The pickguard is dark brown (almost black) tortoise like
6) The bridge pins are white bone without groves (one is missing and replaced with a white plastic :(
7) The peghead reads Gibson in a nice white "handwriting".
6) The braces seems to be very thin but compared to this a little high (no scalloping).
7) It is as if it is built with a slight rounding of the top (arch) which has nothing to do with stringpull over time (since it is also "north" of the bridge) and just under the sound hole.
8) It has 14 frets to the body
9) It has "elevated" fingerboard

Besides that, I can tell, that the bridge saddle is as low as can be, but it is ok, and the guitar does still not need a neck reset

I have read that some L-0 from 32 had the Gibson head without the "The".
I have also read that L-00 from 33 had scalloped bracing, but ah ???????????
I have read, that some L-0 from 32 had tortoise pickguards, but this is an L-00 so ?
And I have also read, that Gibson only made them with elevated fingerboard for a brief period in 1932, but who knows today???

From the Fon no. it seems to be from the very start of 1933. There is an L-0 with 12 frets to the body with the same number.

If it is 32 or 33 does not mean a lot to me, but anyway, I would like to know if it is one or the other after all. Best regards Steen

P.S. I have tried different strings on it over time, but it seems to love GHS Vintage bronze 0.12 over anything else :) :)

May 19, 2024 - 9:32:53 AM

15058 posts since 1/15/2005

In 1932 Gibson's L00 went to 14 frets clear of the body, so you know yours has to be after that. I recently sold/traded my L00, with FON 777 and always considered it a 1933 model ...... dark sunburst top, bound on top, white painted "Gibson", and flamed pick guard, white black white sound hole binding. Yours has to be a '32 or '33 ..... both very desirable and have gotten pretty valuable.

May 19, 2024 - 9:42:31 AM



5114 posts since 2/20/2016

Factory order number 364 could apply to either '33 or '34.
But we could debate about the year yours was built until the cows come home. The most accurate statement we could make would be "circa 1933."

If the logo is in a small font, it makes me lean towards 1933. But I wouldn't write that in stone.
The tortoise grain guard and the elevated fingerboard are unusual, but not unheard of.

A friend of mine has a 14 fret L-1 with tortoise guard and un-kerfed linings. That one dated out as 1933.

We see a lot of variation in specs in Gibsons from this period. Not only were they still experimenting and trying to figure out the best way to build a flat-top, but the Depression had settled in, and they were doing anything they could to get instruments out the door.

I've seen quite a few L-00's, L-1's, and L-0's. Although Gibson's bracing varied considerably between the introduction of their flat tops and 1935 or so, I've never encountered an L model with scalloped bracing.

Edited by - rcc56 on 05/19/2024 09:47:32

May 19, 2024 - 2:42:33 PM

419 posts since 6/15/2006

Thanks a lot to John B. and Bob C. for your input. I myself tend to think that it may be from about 1933, as you have both suggested.
I have found a listing, they say is from Joe Spanner´s book: Gibson FON numbers. A whole lot of flat L-00, L-0, L-1 and L-2 are listed starting with small numbers that gradually grow bigger and bigger. In this listing it says:
1932: We have 40 guitars starting with FON no, 163 and ending with 353
1933: 85 guitars starting with 361 and ending with 887 (the second of these guitars is a twelve fretter that has no. 364 like mine.
1934: starts with 902 and so on.
The logo looks like nice hand writing, but made in a way that hints that they can make them all alike. If you close your eyes and let your fingers run over it, you can feel it if you concentrate.
Thanks that banjo folks with knowledge also had room for my guitar question. I had hoped the age of my dear guitar could have been nailed precisely, but I am happy with this result.
So Bob even if all the cows have not come home, I think many of them have, and that´s enough for me ?. Thank to you two. Steen

May 23, 2024 - 3:35:58 PM



189 posts since 5/30/2010

In Joe Spanns book, #364 is listed as an L-O in 1933, I'm sure that is your batch... Is there a faint red pencil number hand written after the 364?

May 24, 2024 - 7:22:38 AM

216 posts since 4/7/2010

May 24, 2024 - 1:48:40 PM

419 posts since 6/15/2006

To Stacays: Thanks for your interest. You are completely right. No. 364 on the list is an L-0 with 12th fret to the body. I do not know, but I imagine, that if a music store has ordered from the factory let us say 3 different guitars e.g. an L-0 (with 12 frets), an L-00 (with 14 frets) end an L-1, this order is one and the same order, and these 3 guitars will then have the same Factor Order Number ( FON no.). But I do not know?? But it is a little strange, because it would be natural to think, that the numbers are stamped before the guitars are put together????, but maybe many orders came before the guitars were actually made????
I sit here with my guitar and a VERY sharp light, and I can say with absolute certainty, that the number is 364 stamped on the neckblock close to the bottom, and it is just as certain that if there has ever been anything else written (which I don´t think), there is no trace of it now, I am sorry. But I am a little curious about the red handweiting.
To Phil Y. Thaks so much for link to the Gibson Forum. I have not seen it before, but now I will. Best wishes to both. Steen

May 24, 2024 - 6:21:38 PM



189 posts since 5/30/2010

Hi, The name L0 and L00 bounced back and forth with Gibson, so yours if officially a 1933 LO, they had 14 frets by then, many had the elevated fingerboard. The red pencil mark I was looking for was the number the guitar would have been in the batch. There could have been 25 guitars made identical to yours, all stamped "364" , the first one would have a red – 1, the second, – 2.. etc..

Here is some more discussion about them on the Martin Guitar Forum,...

May 25, 2024 - 8:00:05 AM

419 posts since 6/15/2006

To Staceyz and all others, that has helped me. I am really greatfull. I had read, that elevated fingerboards were only made in 32, but I have learned, that they also came out in 32. I had read, that those with white pick guards (black and white or toxedo) were only made in 32, but it seems that they also did come out in 33.

I am quite confident now (I think :), that my guitar is from about the start of 1933. Even if my guitar officially should be called L-0, I think I will call it an L-00, since it has an unbound back, which can be the only difference (to my knowledge), but it matters absolutely nothing to me, what some may call it :) It is a great responsive guitar that has had a very active life in- an outside the house, and it a gift to have it.
Thanks a lot for the links. The will be studied further. Thanks and best wishes also to BH for also allowing a guitar thread :) Steen

Edited by - steen on 05/25/2024 08:07:43

May 25, 2024 - 8:14:50 AM

419 posts since 6/15/2006

P.S. Is it out of the question that Gibson could have a smart way of stamping a FON number after a guitar has been put together, for if so, the dating problem could be even more difficult. Sorry to put this question. It was just a thought passing by. Forget it and have a good time with the banjos:). Best wishes Steen :)

Edited by - steen on 05/25/2024 08:15:19

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