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-12

Gibson L-12 Archtop Guitar ( 1932 - 1955 )

1936 gibson l-12The gibson L-12 , L-7 and the L-10 were gibson L models that were produced in the late 20s early 30s after the famous L-5 archtop acoustic guitar .

Unlike the l-5 these gibson guitars are less sought after by collectors but are still considered vintage historic and collectible quality guitars that are rare and are increasingly gaining value on the vintage market .

In 1934 the gibson company wanted to add extra volume to their l-5 arch top guitars by increasing the body width from 16 inches to 17 inches and at the same time added this feature to three other L models (L-12 , L-7 and L-10) which paved the way for their highly acclaimed gibson super 400 with an 18 inch body in 1934 .

Since then gibson created archtop acoustic guitars with such premium craftsmanship that today these guitars are amongst the most sought after guitars in the world .

The Gibson l-12 was introduced in 1932 with a 16" wide body, trapeze tailpiece , single bound body , single bound pickguard and peghead , rectangle enclosed fingerboard inlays , had gold plated hardware and were made in mahogany sunburst finishes .

gibson l-12pIn late 1934 gibson increased the body width to 17 inches wide , they had an x-braced top , fingerboard inlays were switched to double parallelograms, diamond shaped peghead inlays and were made in sunburst finishes .

In 1937 a flat tail piece with cutouts was added, in mid 1939 the gibson l-12 featured parallel top bracing and in 1941 the l-12 had crown peghead inlays, sealed tuners and tulip tuner buttons .

Very few or no l-12 guitars were made during world war 2 , full production resumed in 1946 ( post war ) and were discontinued in 1955 .

In 1947 gibson also introduced the gibson l-12 p ( premier ) which had basically the same specs but were made with a rounded cutaway ( considered higher quality model ) and were discontinued in 1950 . Less than 90 of these gibson guitars were made . ( see 2nd pic )

Very often the L-12p is compared to the super 400 or the gibson L-5 but they are not in the same caliber both historically and performance wise .

Vintage Price Value For 2008 :
1932 - 1934 > $3 500 to $3 900 ( 16" body )
1934 - 1941 > $3 400 to $4 100 ( 17" body )
1946 - 1955 > $2 900 to $3 500 ( post war )
1947 - 1950 > $5 500 to $6 000 ( l-12 p )

guitar price guide1932 - 1955 > Avg Upward Trend Of 8% A Year Since 2000
1947 - 1950 > 11% ( l-12 p )

Note : Prices are according to 4 different vintage guitar price guides and rounded off to the nearest dollar.

You can find lots of Gibson L Guitars For Sale at bargain prices on ebay however make sure you read descriptions carefullly before you bid or buy ..


  1. my L7 is a 1940 i beleive with the floral inlays. It's a 8 out of 10 i would guess.

    any idea what i could get for it.
    i want a vintage 335

  2. Anonymous4:03 AM

    What exactly made the L12, L10 and L7 "not in the same caliber performance wise" ?

  3. I'd like to know what makes them inferior in performance too. I have a 1950 Gibson L-7CED (Double McCarty), and I HAVE A/B'ed the L-5. Playability and tone are...well, let's just say that I'd "Pepsi Challenge" even someone as 'guitarded' as myself. I just would like to know for my own education. I don't have multi-layered binding on my f-holes and other adornments, but this is about performance.

  4. Anonymous6:58 PM

    Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow both played ES-350's which are L12-P's with pickup(s).
    They could have chosen an L5 if they thought it sounded better...

  5. The L-5 has a Jumbo body style compared to the thinline style of the 335. It gives it a bigger sound, but also is much heavier and less comfortable to handle than the thinner L-12 or 335 style thinline versions. So it's mainly a matter of personal preference. Who's to say what's right or wrong? They are all very fine guitars, some are just "finer" than others. I'm sure virtually all would agree that you get full tonal range from an L-5 than you do from a 335 but again, it's all in what you play and how comfortable you are with size and weight of the instrument.