We’ve had a number of requests for more photos of the black 1940 L-00, so here is a little photo-essay for you.

All told, this was a “normal” old Gibson restoration… but with a twist. There’s been no finish repair, no cleaning of the original finish, and the neck set was done with the original fretboard and saddle untouched. Our customer requested that the guitar look exactly as found, but made functional. It was a fun job.

Body of a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration

The guitar had the following work done:

– neck reset
– first 8 frets replaced with reclaimed fretwire from a 1941 J-35 (unworn upper frets from the J-35 become the lower frets on the recipient – we keep all of our old fretwire!). The fingerboard patina was untouched, no grime removed, no sanding etc.
– pickguard was partially reglued
– bridge was removed, top reshaped (with custom made Gibson top shapers from TJ Thompson’s Pro Luthier Tools)
– bridge bottom was reshaped /unwarped and reglued
– numerous back cracks were glued
– major side cracks were aligned and glued
– side puncture was repaired
– nut and saddle slots were rebuilt
– treble side tuner buttons were replaced with buttons salvaged from other 40’s Klusons
– tuning machines were restored

Images of the 'firestripe' pickguard and fretboard extension on a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration Images of the neckjoint on a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration Images of the tuners and headstock on a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration Images of the binding and body on a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration Images of the fretboard on a 1940 Gibson L-00 guitar in restoration

This is a client’s guitar and is not available for sale.  

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A structural issue we often discover on instruments that have had a bridge reglue in the past is a separation of the X brace and top directly under the bridge wing. This can happen as a result of the heat that’s used to remove a bridge, or can happen from improper clamping when the bridge is reglued. It’s easy to miss, but can spell eventual top collapse if it’s not fixed.

This ‘37 J-35 is a perfect example if this issue. It’s flawless inside except for one sneaky loose section of X brace right under the bass side bridge wing. The challenge with this otherwise simple glue up is that the clamp landed right at the seam of the slope of the bridge wing and the top, and there was no good way to to safely clamp.

Showing a loose brace under the bridge on a 30's Gibson guitar

This wing/top caul took 10 minutes to make, and ensures a safe and accurate glue up. The notched caul on the brace itself is cut to fit snugly over the brace and is specifically made for 30’s Gibsons, which I work on a lot.  It’s drilled on the back side to index with a Stewart MacDonald clamp, and it’s small enough to allow for easy clean-up of glue squeeze out.

When gluing a loose brace you get one chance to fix it properly.  It’s never guaranteed to hold if the repair fails and you have to glue it again, so it’s worth the extra time to give it its best chance of holding tight.

Showing a caul used to glue loose braces under the bridge on a 30's Gibson guitarShowing a caul used to glue loose braces under the bridge on a 30's Gibson guitar

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Designed by Folkway’s Mark Stutman and released as a 24 guitar limited production model, the 0002H Custom Traditional is Collings’ first Traditional Series 12-fret 000, and an exact recreation of the guitar Mark spec’d for 3-time Grammy winner Joe Henry.

Check out our listing for the right-handed version here.

Check out our listing for the left-handed version here.

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Pre-WWII left-handed Gibsons are phenomenally rare, but they do exist! Here’s a look at a few that are currently at Folkway.

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Ever wonder what those plastic bridges that Gibson used in the early 60s were all about? Most Gibson flat top acoustics built in 1962 and 1963 had this style of injection-moulded plastic bridge with adjustable ceramic insert, but perhaps you’ve not seen one of them up close and personal…

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I love it when a plan comes together.

This 1940 Gibson J-35 needed the usual repairs to get it up and running perfectly – reset, refret, pickguard reglue, new nut, saddle, pins, etc.

It’s unique feature is that the bridge and fingerboard are made of what looks to be Cuban mahogany rather than rosewood, and I knew it would be hard to match the patina, colour, and wear-patterns if I were to sand the fretboard at all during the refret.  Like a maple-board fender, the trick was to do the levelling on the frets instead of the wood.  That’s routine work in our shop, but setting the neck without the safety-net of being able to tweak the neck angle with a refret is always a fun challenge.

Some guitars are cooperative, others less so, but this guitar seemed pleased to do its part in helping things go smoothly.

1940 Gibson J-35 guitar

1940 Gibson J-35 guitar

1940 Gibson J-35 guitar




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1930s B&J Romeo & Juliet Serenader guitar

Hanging on the walls of our repair shop, you’ll find some of our favourite decorative vintage instruments. We love the decals of this 1930s B&J Serenader Romeo and Juliet! Notice the convenient hole through its peghead for you to hang it by!

This item is not for sale.

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Presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music

Join Fretboard Journal‘s Jason Verlinde and acclaimed luthiers TJ Thompson (Pro Luthier Tools) and Mark Stutman (Folkway Music) for this informative class on the care, feeding and collecting of vintage acoustic guitars.

Over the course of this discussion, Mark and TJ will discuss variations between pre-war and collectible Martins and Gibsons, some of the most common issues they find on their repair benches and how to avoid them. We’ll talk about restoration work, neck resets, proper storage and shipping. At the end of the class, we’ll field questions from the audience on the buying, selling and preserving of these unique instruments.

08/12/2021 (1 meeting)
Thursday · 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM (Central)

Details and Registration HERE

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Jackson Cunningham is among the most quickly up-and-coming guitar builders of this decade. Hailing from Southwest Virginia, Jackson draws obvious inspiration from the vintage Gibson guitars that are and were played by his musical heroes. His own creations are exquisitely crafted recreations of some of the most iconic designs of the 1930s.

His L-00 – played here by Jason Fowler – is a faithful reproduction of a 1933 L-00, complete with solid linings, thinner top construction, firestripe pickguard, and lightly built body; but unlike a ’33, this one was built with a rounded neck carve more similar to the 12-fret 1932 shape. Just like an original L-00, the guitar features an unbound back and one-ply top biding, a simple 3-ply rosette, and a light non-scalloped bracing.

The guitar captures the tone and quick response of a great L-00 – the characteristically warm and supportive midrange, the thick and meaty trebles and the flowering overtones. It doesn’t have 85 years under its belt, but as it was blueprinted quite accurately, it’s about as close in tone as a new guitar can get.

Sorry, this guitar has sold but you can still see our listing details here.

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