1920s Gibson Guitars


1920s Gibson Guitars. Gibson guitars have been around since the late 1800s. The 1920s were an essential time for Gibson, as they introduced several models that would become iconic and highly sought after by guitar collectors and players. This article will explore some of the most notable 1920s Gibson guitars and what makes them so unique.

1920s Gibson Guitars

Les Paul

The Gibson Les Paul is a famous electric guitar. It is regarded as a symbol of rock and roll. Despite its relatively modest appearance, the Les Paul packs a mighty punch. In addition to its iconic looks, it has also catalyzed a range of musical genres.

The first electric guitars that Gibson produced were the ES-150 and ES-150E. In the mid-1930s, Gibson introduced a variety of other electric instruments. Although Les Paul was not initially a famous guitarist, his tone inspired several hard rock musicians. He returned to Gibson’s catalog in the late 1960s, and his name became synonymous with the brand.

A Gibson Les Paul has a solid body and a carved maple top. It is also built for speed. It features two single-coil P-90 pickups, a three-position toggle switch, and a tailpiece. This was the first Gibson model to utilize a tune-o-Matic bridge.

Other specifications include a compound radius ebony fingerboard. The peghead has a white silkscreen or gold inlay. Also, a wrap-around stud bridge/tailpiece combination was used on some models until the 1970s.

The Gibson Les Paul is an excellent choice for beginners. Its ultra-modern weight relief makes it easy to play. However, its slinky profile is not for everyone.

While the Gibson Les Paul is no longer in production, the original design returned to the Gibson catalog in 1968. Today, the Gibson Les Paul is an iconic electric guitar, and many axe-wielding stars choose it as their number one guitar.

Gibson L-5

1920s Gibson Guitars
Gibson L-5 CES

One of the most famous models from this era is the Gibson L-5. The L-5 was a series of archtop guitars made by the Gibson company in the late 1920s. The model, manufactured until 1958, featured an 18-wide Super 400.

Thw L-5, which was introduced in 1922. This guitar was designed by master luthier Lloyd Loar and featured a carved top and back, F-holes, and an archtop design that would become the standard for jazz guitars. The L-5 was played by jazz legends such as Wes Montgomery and Johnny Smith and is still considered one of the finest jazz guitars ever.

In the mid-1950s, Gibson added humbucker pickups to the model, which improved the sound and reduced the hum. It was used by Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, and many other jazz musicians. Alex Lifeson and John McLaughlin also popularized this model.

When Gibson began making guitars, they marketed them toward young, up-and-coming players. However, Les Paul was an essential influence on the company’s designs. He promoted the guitar and played it on stage. His guitars were played on TV shows and commercials.

He became Gibson’s prominent endorser. Gibson had a reputation for fine craftsmanship. They produced several models of instruments, including the ES-335 and the ES-5. These guitars were widely popular among guitarists of all genres.

Gibson also developed other models of instruments. For example, they manufactured a flat-top guitar for Gene Autry. A unique J-200 model for Autry featured a “jumbo” scale neck.

Gibson had a significant presence in the vintage market. Their guitars were reissued multiple times. Some of their guitars were very expensive.

Gibson L-0 and L-1

One of the earliest guitars to be manufactured by Gibson was the L-1. This model featured an ebony fingerboard and bound top. The guitar was modeled after Gibson’s early “F” style mandolins.

The Gibson L-1 and L-0 were also introduced in the 1920s and were popular with blues and folk guitarists. These guitars had a smaller body size and a round soundhole, which gave them a warmer, more intimate sound. They were played by artists such as Robert Johnson and Lead Belly and are still popular with acoustic guitar players today.

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Arch top models

In the early 1920s, Gibson designer Lloyd Loar refined the archtop guitar, or “jazz” guitar, to make it a more professional instrument. This made Gibson the industry leader in the development of electric archtops.

The Gibson Style O guitar is one of the most essential guitars in Gibson’s history. It was the first professional quality instrument. Originally based on Orville Gibson’s original designs, it was the base model for all of Gibson’s archtops.

Jimmy Page’s signature Gibson ESD-1275 Double Neck solid body became popular in the 1960s. This model is available in black or sunburst. Alex Lifeson also played this model.

Gibson’s ES-350 was the favorite of many jazz greats. It was a full-sized body instrument with classic P-90 pickups. Unlike most single-coil pickups, it has a growl from pushing the strings.

The Gibson L-5CT was a unique instrument for George Gobel. It was a thin-bodied model with a thinner body than the standard Gibson. A maple cap added clarity and brightness. Some models shipped with pickups, while others had the traditional two-pickup configuration.

The Gibson L5-S is another solid-body version of the L-5. This version was used by Paul Simon, Mark Farner of the Grand Funk Railroad, and Keith Richards.

Les Paul continually modified and tinkered with his Gibson guitars during his career. He even added “wings” from a hollow body Epiphone to his guitar.

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Vintage 1920s Gibson peanut archtopsold

The Gibson Peanut was a popular archtop guitar model produced by Gibson in the 1920s. This guitar had a small, peanut-shaped body that was comfortable to hold and play. It also had a unique look that set it apart from other archtops of the time.

The Peanut was part of Gibson’s “budget” line of guitars, designed to be affordable alternatives to their higher-end models. Despite its lower price, the Peanut was still a high-quality, well-made instrument with a great sound.

One of the most notable features of the Peanut was its “thermo-set” neck, made from a particular type of wood that was treated with heat and pressure. This made the neck more robust and more stable than traditional wooden necks, which were more susceptible to warping and twisting over time.

The Peanut was also known for its warm, mellow tone, perfect for jazz and blues players. The small body size gave it a unique sound well-suited to solo playing and fingerstyle picking.

Today, vintage 1920s Gibson Peanut archtops are highly sought after by collectors and players alike. They are relatively rare, as Gibson only produced them for a few years in the 1920s. If you’re lucky enough to find one in good condition, it can be an excellent investment and a wonderful addition to your guitar collection.

Gibson Style

One of the most impressive pieces of guitar history is the 1920 Gibson Style U. It has a solid body and straight necks, making it an ideal choice for various styles. The finish is an intense “robin’s egg” blue that’s eye-catching today.

Gibson has been making guitars since 1896. Founded by Orville H. Gibson in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the company has gone on to make a name for itself. In addition to their many instruments, they manufacture tools and accessories.

Their logo, available on most of their instruments, is a great way to identify the year of production on a vintage piece. During the ’60s and ’70s, the company made some changes. Some lesser-known models featured a banner reading, “Only a Gibson is good enough.”

The logo has been changed a bit over the years. The first incarnation was a slanted version of the same logo. Today, Gibson’s signature is a near-carbon copy of the earlier design.

During the 1920s, the company was still using the old German Mark. The old mark was worthless when the Reischmark was introduced in early 1925. For a while, Gibson tried to regroup and produce better-quality guitars. However, WWII and its aftermath took their toll. Eventually, the company had to scrimp on quality to make ends meet.

Despite these challenges, the 1920 Gibson Style U was still an excellent guitar. It’s a playable instrument with a few minor repairs that can command attention.

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1920s Gibson Guitars 4

Factory order numbers

In the early years of Gibson’s guitar production, Gibson’s Factory Order Numbers were stamped into each instrument. These numbers were then used to track batches of instruments. This system was reliable for the first 45 years of Gibson’s guitar production. The last year that Gibson used this system was 1984.

The Gibson Factory Order Numbers are usually found on the back of the neck block, inside the body, or on the headstock. They are four-digit batch or two-digit sequence numbers written in red pencil.

The earliest Gibson guitars had a four-digit serial number. Some models used a six-digit system, but it was a somewhat random arrangement. Occasionally, the number would be pressed into the wood.

A new, more sustainable system was introduced in 1977. It was an eight-digit system. This one was in sequential order, unlike the four-digit Gibson guitar serial number system. There were four different patterns.

Each pattern used a numbered sequence to represent the year, month, and day of the month. The first digit in the sequence represents the year, the second the month, and the third the day of the month.

Another tidbit to note is that the smallest number in the Gibson numbering system is the first digit of the corresponding digit of the month. During the early days of Gibson’s guitar production, the three digits representing the year were the same as the digits of the month.

Reissue cases

The Gibson Acoustic Guitar Models are some of the most popular guitars in the world. Their quality craftsmanship and attention to detail have led them to be used by the most famous musicians. These guitars have been played on some of the most famous recordings ever.

During the 1950s, Gibson guitars came in two different cases. One was a softshell case, and the other was a rigid cardboard case. Throughout the 1950s, you can see these cases in various colors. Some cases had a brown interior, while others had a pink interior.

In the 1960s, Gibson offered three different types of cases. There was a low-grade case with a black exterior, a high-grade case with a black exterior, and a deep red inside.

During the 1950s, there was also a gator case. This was used on Les Pauls. Until 1965, Gibson offered a medium-grade case, and by the end of the 1960s, they had dropped the medium grade completely. However, they had a fifth latch case that was sold with Standards and Specials.

The company started using six digits when Gibson introduced its serial number system in 1977. Most of the guitars in their Custom Shop line had a six-digit number. It allowed them to identify the model name and factory of manufacture. They also could determine the year the instrument was built.


In addition to these iconic models, Gibson introduced several other guitars in the 1920s, including the Gibson Kalamazoo, Gibson Roy Smeck, and the Gibson Granada. These guitars were designed for different music and playing styles, but all shared the high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that Gibson was known for.

If you’re interested in buying a 1920s Gibson guitar, be prepared to pay a high price – collectors highly seek after these guitars and can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. However, owning one of these guitars can be an exceptional experience if you’re a serious player or collector. Not only are they beautiful to look at and play, but they also represent a piece of musical history still revered by musicians today.

In conclusion, the 1920s were a golden era for Gibson guitars, with several iconic models introduced that are still revered by musicians and collectors today. Whether you’re a jazz, blues, or folk player, a 1920s Gibson guitar will suit your style and playing needs. If you’re lucky enough to own one, you’ll have a piece of musical history that will only continue to appreciate over time.

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