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-30 & L-37

Gibson L-30 & L-37 Acoustic Archtop Guitars ( 1935-1943 )

Gibson l-30During the twenties and thirties gibson introduced several L series guitars which were extremely popular such as the l-7 , l-12 , l-4 and l-5 .....

These gibson guitars were considered higher quality guitars and had 16" or 17" wide bodies which were favorites amongst many guitar players but were quite expensive .

In 1935 the gibson company tried a different marketing strategy and introduced (2) L models with 14 3/4" wide bodies , less fancier " basic models " and more affordable . These guitars were short lived and never really made it mainstream , they were the l-30 & the l-37 .

In 1935 The gibson L-30 was introduced with a 14 3/4" wide body , standard flat back, had an adjustable bridge, trapeze tailpiece, elevated unbound pickguard, bound top and back, dot inlays on the fingerboard, silkscreen peghead logo, were made mostly in black finishes very few in sunburst until 1937 . Discontinued in 1943 .

In 1935 gibson introduced another very similar model which was called the gibson L-37 , it was fitted basically with the same specs instead had a bound pickguard and most of them had round sound holes ( see 2nd pic ) . Discontinued in 1941 .

gibson l-37Note : Most gibson literature and guitar books state that they made the L-37 only in sunburst finishes however I did see a black l-37 with a serial number dated in 1935 .

I also want to mention that these guitars are not really sought after by collectors due to their short history but they are still extremely rare and definitely collectible .

Vintage Price Value For 2007 :
1935 - 1943 > $1 200 to $1 600 ( L-30 )
1935 - 1941 > $1 250 to $1 700 ( L-37 )

guitar price guideAvg Upward Trend Of 6% A Year Since 2000 ( For Both )

In 1932 gibson also introduced the L-50 with a 14 3/4" body but was changed to a 16" wide body in 1935 and remained in production until 1971.

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


  1. This is a great guitar resource site. thankls for all of the postings.

    Free Legal MP3 Music

  2. I have this exact L-30 in Black as pictured. It was made during WWII (has the red pencil markings for the batch #). It's a sweet (and beautiful) little guitar. Quite punchy sounding, not much sustain. Has a wide fretboard (1 and 3/4 inches at the nut) and seems well suited to gypsy style or acoustic swing jazz (though not as loud as the Selmer Maccaferri style instruments of the era). Also likes fingerstyle blues. Thanks for the great info!

  3. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Are there any major differences between the L-37 and L-50 roundhole archtops? I've only seen pictures of them and can't distinguish any difference. Thanks, John.

  4. Anonymous2:21 PM

    I have an L-30 I think was built in 1937 that was my grandfathers that is like the picture except that my grandfather had this one modified. It has a electric floating pickup added. I was told before my grandfather passed away, that the back was removed to add a jack to connect to an amp and wires and a box with Volume and Tone knobs and switch labeled rhythm that attaches to the strings in between the bridge and the truss. Also attached to the strings and box is a rod the loops around the bridge and extends about a 1/4" from the fret board that the pickup is attached to and can slide back and forth for different tone.
    It is now an electric/acoustic.

  5. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Could anyone tell me what the original tuners were on a 1939 Gibson L-30? Thanks!

  6. I have an L series Gibson, I think it's an L-30 or 37. inside the lower f hole is the stamp "759 -F" and then "039" in red pencil. I's the sunburst color, all original. Can you tell what year it is? Am I right with L-30/7?

  7. Does any one know how much these things are worth? I have a 1937 model and the logo is inlayed. It has no rash and lookjs like it's 10 years old( of course it's over 70)thanks..

  8. Anonymous6:08 PM

    Did the pre-war l-50 come in a black finish? I have a black special but it has a 16" body width. Any thoughts?

  9. Anonymous10:13 AM

    Allie, your L-37 was made in 1940. Put another way, this guitar was made when FDR was President, the RAF was fighting off the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbor had not yet been attacked, and the US had not yet entered World War II. Between 1935 and 1941, Gibson used a factory order number system for their lower-priced guitars which included a rubber-stamped number, a letter, and a handwritten number. The letters used were A=1935, B=1936, C=1937, D=1938, E=1939, F=1940, and G=1941.

  10. Anonymous9:44 PM

    I have a sunburst L-30 that I bought in 1980 for $300. I can't find any writing at all inside. It is still fun and fast, easy to play lead riffs and blues on. Making cords is a breeze.

  11. Anonymous8:30 AM

    I have a Gibson relic that I believe is an L37. It has the remnants of a sunburst finish, F sound holes and , probably, had a flat back now missing.

    It will be a demanding and time eating restoration, but I think I am crazy enough to pull it off.

    Any advice or comments?


  12. Anonymous6:12 PM

    thought i'd jump in as well. I have a '35 L30 that plays great. In fact, it's one of the two best guitars I use on stage. terrific for slide, great for swing and jazz, and perfect up and down the neck. I couldn't part with it. Highly under-rated guitars. I consider it the best gibson I own of many. cheers

  13. Anonymous4:17 PM

    You mentioned in here that you have seen a black L-37 before. Well, I have a guitar that was advertised to me as a 1939 L-37. It too is black, except it has f-holes like the L-30. I searched the internet and found about 5-6 different guitars just like this one. On one particular site it said that this type of guitar is an "uncatalogued" L-37. Do you by chance have any knowledge of this? Awesome guitar regardless, outstanding tone and great for blues.

  14. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Hi Guys
    Great being here ! Great site !
    In a few days I will/might be the owner of my first Gibson and according to the former owner it is a L-37 out of '35-'37. It's a black one (he says it's the original colour) and has some repaired cracks (which are glued well) and is refineshed but thats done well and is stage ready !
    She also has a PU (brand unknown) which I'am extremely happy with. You can see at the shape it has been a P90 but think it's a Lace Sensor at the moment...
    I bought her last week saturday ( 9-26-'09 ) and she will come out of Germany and he will ship her coming monday. I almost "can't sleep anymore", you know what I mean?? Everything I read about her is very positive so I hope to hold her
    in my arms very soon and will get my first "spiritual Gibson orgasm" I will let you know..
    ' Nick Dutch ' > The Netherlands

  15. Great site !! I have an L 30 kalamazoo that I bought for $400 a few years ago. It doesnt have any visible numbers but it is definitly the guitar pictured above. It is the sweetest playing ax and I am happy to see it is increasing in value

  16. Anonymous6:24 PM

    I have a Gibson sold to me from a reputable Eastern dealer that purports to be a ca. 1939 L-37. It has F holes, an inlaid Gibson peghead logo and a original
    DeArmond sliding pickup with original amp cable. The case is original and the guitar has no cracks or damge except for a few dings and a total body crazing. Intonation is perfect and it was delivered to me in "play it now" order. The serial number (seen thru the treble F hole is partially too dim to read. but there is a red pencil marked "-17" at the end. It plays and sounds wonderful with nickle strings (for the pickup). It is a small guitar about 00 Martin size.
    Any comments would be appreciated.

  17. I have a Kalamazoo KG-21, which is cheaper version of the Gibson L-30. I saw an article that said Gibson L-30s had carved tops, so I checked my Kalamazoo. I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that my Kalamazoo KG-21 also has a carved top. Evidence of this: if you look at the f-holes the wood thickness is not even throughout the guitar. It is not even exactly the same thicknesses on the right and left. It appears to be carved by hand. Could this be? Can any Gibson expert verify that some Kalamazoo KG-21s had carved tops?

  18. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I'm having a hard time figuring out the model. I know that it was made in 1935. Here is what I know. Looks like the top picture of the L-30 except it has a 16" body. Please help. Here are some more specs.

    Gibson's Factory Order Numbers -- 251A stamped and a two digit # is hand written in red (Made in 1935)
    Non-cutaway,Flat back, adjustable bridge,"F" holes, Elevated larger pick guard with 2 supports, pick guard covers treble side of sound hole, 16" wide, trapeze tailpiece
    3-on-a-plate tuners “Grover” name, Dot inlays starting at 3rd fretSingle, rosewood fingerboard
    Black finish with a white binding around top
    Silkscreen peghead slated logo

  19. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I just found out that my old acoustic I have loved and adored for many years is an L-30! I really love this guitar because it sounds so different than todays guitars. It really has a sweet vintage sound that is priceless! I looked for this guitar model online for several days until I found it...sweet! L-30...70+ old demands respect...

  20. Anonymous11:46 AM

    I also have a Gibson that looks like the picture above, but has a 16" across wide body. Has the number 9.85 B ink stamped and written in red pencil is -18; both inside the right "F" hole". I think I have an L-30 also. It was purchased new by my father when he got out of the army. I am looking to get a decent price for it, but do not know where to look. Anyone have any ideas for me? Thanks....

  21. Rex Davis12:00 PM

    I have been been trying to figure out just what mine is also .I am third generation to own it .looks to be 1941.3463 G 21.the 21 is red and they are in the f hole .none of the Gibson letters drop own on the neck saying pre world war two.also 16 inches across.Right now I am confused on just what it is.It does have the dots on the neck .Thank Rex.

  22. Hi all,
    I own a Gibson L-30 archtop, f holes, black, 14 3/4" lower bout, truss rod, no stamp of any kind inside, year unknown. Here's the kicker, It has a late 40s/early 50s gold logo on the headstock. I am certain it's a L model Gibson, but it's a mystery guitar. Can anyone help?