1950 Gibson CF-100E

$4995 USD ($6993 CAD)
For more details contact us at info@folkwaymusic.com or 855-772-0424.
Gibson introduced the CF-100 in 1950, which holds the distinction of being the world’s first mass-produced cut-away flat top. The electrified version arrived on the scene the following year and featured a P-90 pickup that was mounted in the top between the soundhole and the end of the fretboard. The two models were similar in construction, however the CF-100E’s pickup location required the soundhole be positioned ½” further from the soundhole, and the top’s upper braces shifted northward. The ‘E’ model also featured a distinctly shaped pickguard, with an extra lobe extending into the upper bout.

This particular instrument was built as a CF-100 in the model’s first year of production. It originally shipped from Kalamazoo on November 13th, 1950, to Williams Piano in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The electronics appear to have been added in 1976, as the wiring harness, control knobs, and pickup are Gibson factory parts from that year. It is unknown if the guitar was sent to the factory for this modification but, given the factory parts and the style of wiring, we suspect this to have been the case.

The CF-100 model is an LG-2 with a cutaway, trapezoid inlays, and pearl logo and crown. Like the LG-2, the CF-100 is a classical-sized, X-braced, mahogany and spruce flat-top with a 24.75” scale and 1-11/16” nut.

In converting this guitar into a CF-100E, a section of the top’s upper soundhole brace was cut out to make way for the P-90 pickup body, a flat supportive pad was glued in place, and shorter soundhole braces were installed. The guitar’s top remains in good condition and without cracks or warping in the area, which suggests that the modification was properly done. The volume and tone controls were installed in the top exactly where they are located on a CF-100E, as is the case with the side-mounted output jack.

Beyond the modifications, this guitar remains in good shape and offers excellent playability. The top’s center seam has been reglued but there are no cracks in the top or back and only one brace end has been reglued. There is a small section of repaired back binding on the lower treble side where the guitar likely suffered an impact, and the barrel of the neck has had newer finish applied that was properly color matched. The Kluson tuning machines are from 1957/8, but are otherwise the correct parts. The saddle and bridgepins are newer, as are the frets, which were professionally installed. We’ve added a string ground to the circuitry, too.

The guitar’s neck has a comfortably rounded early 1950s carve, which isn’t as chunky as Gibson necks famously became later in that decade. The neck depth at the 2nd fret is .877 (it’s a tad thicker at the 1st fret), and it measures .956” at the 9th fret. The nut width is 1-11/16, and the string spread at the saddle is 2-1/8”. We’ve set the guitar up with D’Addario EJ-21, nickel-wound 12-52 strings and an action of 4.5-5.5 64ths at the 12th fret. Playability is excellent thanks to great fretwork, a perfect neck angle, and a proper set up.

Unplugged, the guitar sounds like an LG-2 with nickel wound strings. The electronic controls mounted in the top have some effect on the guitar’s voice, but it remains surprisingly rich, warm, and open. We’re sure that this CF-100 would sound at least as good as a comparable late 1940’s LG-2 if the controls were removed and a set of acoustic strings installed. Plugged in to a vintage tube amp the guitar has something of and ES-125 kind of tone, but with a little more clarity and less compression.

With hardshell case