Gibson is a name that has become synonymous with quality guitars, and their archtop acoustic models are no exception. These vintage instruments have been a favorite of musicians for decades, and continue to be sought after by collectors and players. Here I have a closer look at some of the most top of the line Gibson archtop acoustic models.
- L-5: The Gibson L-5 was first introduced in 1922, and quickly became one of the company’s most iconic instruments. The L-5 was the first guitar to feature f-holes instead of round sound holes, and was also the first Gibson to have a carved top and back. The L-5 was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Wes Montgomery, and is still in production today.
- Super 400: The Gibson Super 400 was introduced in 1934 as the company’s top-of-the-line archtop guitar. The Super 400 was a large-bodied instrument, featuring a 18-inch lower bout, and was favored by jazz guitarists such as Freddie Green and Tuck Andress. The Super 400 is still in production today, and is considered by many to be one of the finest archtop guitars ever made.
- ES-175: The Gibson ES-175 was introduced in 1949 as a more affordable alternative to the L-5. The ES-175 featured a smaller body size than the L-5, but still had a carved top and back. The ES-175 quickly became popular with jazz guitarists, and was also used by rock and roll pioneers such as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
- Johnny Smith: The Gibson Johnny Smith model was introduced in 1961, and was designed in collaboration with jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. The guitar featured a thinner body than previous Gibson archtops, and had a cutaway to allow easier access to the higher frets. The Johnny Smith model was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Pat Metheny and George Benson.
- L-7: The Gibson L-7 was introduced in 1932, and was a mid-priced alternative to the L-5. The L-7 had a smaller body than the L-5, but still had a carved top and back. The L-7 was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Charlie Christian and Herb Ellis.
Vintage Gibson archtop acoustic models are some of the most sought-after instruments among collectors and players alike. From the iconic L-5 to the versatile ES-175, these guitars have stood the test of time and continue to inspire musicians around the world. If you’re a fan of jazz or acoustic music, a vintage Gibson archtop is a must-have addition to your collection.