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1940 Gibson L-37

The Gibson L-37 was a short-lived acoustic archtop model produced from 1937-1941 at the Kalamazoo factory. This guitar features an arched spruce top, maple back and sides, mahogany neck, and a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.

This Gibson guitar has certainly seen some history in its 77 year old life. How many hands have played its strings we can never know, but it’s amazing to think about those life stories and who’s next?



Guitar features: FON # 644 F-13 / Body size at lower bout 14 3/4” / body depth 3 1/2” / Scale length 24 3/4” / Nut width 1 3/4” / original sunburst finish, nitro lacquer / hand carved arched spruce top / solid maple back and sides / one piece mahogany neck / Brazilian rosewood fingerboard / single bound body / bone nut / original hardware including celluloid pickguard / nickel trapeze tailpiece / compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge.

The Gibson L-37 was produced between 1937-1941, so had a fairly short life coming off the production line in Kalamazoo. Dating old Gibson guitars isn’t easy as not all models were serialised or were just stamped with FON (factory order) numbers, as with this guitar, which can be seen through the lower f-hole. As far as I can determine from multiple sources of research is that this L-37 is from 1940.

As you’d expect and hope, this guitar hasn’t been locked away in a closet in its 77 year old life, so there are some scratches, chips and scrapes, but is in overall great condition for its long life. The depth of colour, and patina in the wood grain and finish is beautiful. I hope the photographs tell a good story of its life. I can supply more if requested.

There is a surface crack on the upper shoulder (2.5”) and a little lifting of binding below but appears stable. A small part of the cream binding has slightly lifted off on the lower bout, but hardly noticeable and again very stable. Small build up of glue around neck heel join; feels stable but probably in need of reset soon. The Brazilian rosewood fingerboard is a glorious colour and in great condition and the frets appear to have life left in them, though there is of course some wear. Like all guitars, it would probably benefit a set-up to suit your playing style. I don’t think the tuners are original, as research says they were three-on-a-plate, but they look period correct open gear tuners and aged as the guitar. Articulate, warm and woody sounding, it’s a lovely sized guitar, feeling really comfortable against the body and just asks you to play a few blue notes.

Guitar comes in the original case, which has again has enjoyed a life, so shows wear inside and out, but generally in fair condition given its age. One of the hinges is broken and the handle has been taped up by a previous owner, but is functional.