If you have any vintage gibson guitars that are posted on this site ,you are always welcome to post a review,comment or detailed features ,im sure other guitar players who visit us would love to know ... Domenic

Important Note : Due to the overwhelming amount of comments on this blog i cannot answer all the questions although id love to . You can still post questions hopefully some of our viewers can help you out ... Thank You

Gibson L-4

Gibson L-4 ( 1912-1956 )

1920s gibson l-4Before the outbreak of the first world war , gibson dominated the market with their mandolins . Their guitars such as the L-1 and L-3 were well established , but as the big orchestral jazz bands were gaining popularity ,

gibson introduced a finer grand concert size guitar model with the same timbers and old style design like the L1 and L3 called the gibson l4 .

Unlike the gibson L1 and L3 which had 19 frets, in 1912 the l-4 featured 20 frets, 16" wide body ,oval soundholes , "the gibson" logo on the peghead , fingerboards had an end piece that surpassed the soundhole very similar to their line of mandolins ,
elevated tortoise pickguards, tailpiece with black pins , dot inlays on fingerboards , maple back and sides , mahogany necks ,

and were made in black top finishes ( sunburst finishes available during the late teens and throughout the 20s) . Round soundholes in 1928 . ( 1rst pic 1920s l4 , 2nd pic 1933 l4 )

1933 gibson l-4In 1920 right after orville gibson died in 1918 , a man named Lloyd Loar joined the gibson company and changed the history of archtop guitars by designing the infamous L-5 which featured f-holes like their mandolins (no round or oval soundholes ) .

The gibson l-5 laid the foundation for all archtop acoustic guitars and jazz guitars until today . ( Considered the most significant and historical archtop acoustic guitar in the world )

Because of the l-5s' popularity , in 1935 gibson added f-holes to their gibson L-4s' and natural finishes were available during the early 40s , crown pegheads were added in 1946 and double parallelograms inlays on the fingerboards were added in 1947 . ( see 3rd pic , picture courtesy of ebay )

1951 gibson l4The gibson l-4 guitars were discontinued in 1956 , they sounded great and were considered less expensive alternative guitars for the l-5 and more prestigious models than the l-1 and l-3.

Vintage Guitars Price Value :
1912 - 1945 > $2000 to $2700
1946 - 1956 > $1800 to $2500

guitar price guideAvg Upward Trend Of 7% A Year Since 2000

You can find these gibson guitars on ebay if your lucky , seen some Gibson L-4 Guitars For Sale at about $600 to $1200 ( bargain ) .


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  2. Hi,

    I recently bought a vintage Gibson acoustic archtop from the '30s...I believe it's an L-4. I'm heading overseas for 6 months, and I'm planning on storing the guitar in my parents' house during that time, but I want to make sure it's stored properly. I know I should loosen the strings, but I'm not sure what to do about humidity.

    Do you have any advice regarding humidity for storing and keeping vintage guitars? I've seen several types of small humidifiers - one that clips to the strings, some that fit in the soundhole - but I have no knowledge about which is appropriate. Any help would be most appreciated. thanks!


  3. i have a gibson guitar that looks simular to this one except mine says its a L48 can someone get back to me ill feel free to dend them pics

  4. At my Dad's house, I found an old Gibson L-4 guitar with the f-holes in a light natural finish. Since it also has the double parallelograms inlays on the fingerboards, I assumed it was made between 1947 and 1956. However, I am confused since the serial number indicates it was made in 1941. How would you suggest I resolve this conflict? Is it possible this is a custom L-4 made in 1941?


  5. I have a vintage Gibson L4, serial in high 48400's & fon in the 11160's that makes it 1918... Logo is "The Gibson" in script and on an angle. Oval white label inside round sound hole. Is in pretty darn good condition for being 90 years old. Hope I look as good at the same age... No defects, maybe some surface stuff... All original and has the case... just no handle on the case. It has been in its case pretty much full time since 1953. Any idea on value?

  6. Anonymous8:40 PM

    I have a Gibson L4, serial number 88889 in the original case. It still plays great. Any idea what the value is on something like this? It has "The Gibson" written in cursive, inlaid with mother of pearl at the top of the neck, fret dots are also mother of pearl. The metal thing that holds the strings at the other end has a date stamped into it, July 10, 1910. I just wondered how much it's worth.

  7. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I have a '41 Gibson L4 Blond serial #93513 that has never been babied and has about a million hours played on it (plays like a dream too!) and I was told by an expert in vintage Gibson's recently that insured value needs to be $4,000 minimum.

  8. Royal9:53 AM

    I'm looking for a 1930's "F" hole L-4 in playable condition. I'm looking for one with a narrow neck and early "V" shape jazz neck Preferably not modified with an electric pickup.. Anybody got one please contact me.


  9. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I own a 1954 sunburst cutaway with a floating DeArmond pickup. It is also signed on the back by George Benson.
    A fretjob was done over 25 years ago by the great Roger Sadowsky in NY. I only use now for special ocassions. Never connected with the new dual-pickup humbucker versions which are obscenely overpriced.

  10. Anonymous10:58 AM

    What does the L in any of the Gibson guitars with an L prefix stand for? Later models have a J which stands for Jumbo. Could it be that because Gibson started out making Mandolins that L was a reference to the size Large?

  11. Barbara Anne5:26 PM

    My husband bought a Gibson with F holes and single rather than double mother of pearl inserts on the neck. He bought it used in 1957. We don't know if it is a L4 but think it may be. However, we don't know how to find the serial number. Can anyone enlighten me? Also, how can we make sure if it is an L-4?

  12. Charlene Chounard11:49 AM

    We just found a Gibson L-4 serial #94066. Does anyone know where or who we can write to and find out the age and worth of this beautiful guitar??


  13. Anonymous11:05 PM

    I have an archtop but I'm having trouble identifying the model and year. It looks like a maple back with spruce top & sides. It has a stenciled serial number inside the f-hole X8403 20 . White plastic tuners, truss rod, sunburst finish with black peghead and Stenciled Logoon top on a slant. I was told a 1952 L48 but I don't think thats correct.