The Find: Custom-Ordered 1964 Gibson L-7C

January 13th, 2014

By Tom Beaujour

On page 40 of the 1962 Gibson catalog, the Gibson L-7C is described as, “Extremely popular for orchestra use for its modern cutaway design, handsome appearance, exclusive features, and rich vibrant tone…an outstanding example of Gibson superior quality.”

The words must have been convincing to the original owner of this unusual custom-ordered L-7C, as they motivated him to put a little pencil check next to the guitar in the catalog and to meticulously spec out the appointments that he wished altered on the guitar seen here. His surviving hand-drawn blueprint for the guitar specifies that Gibson is to make the “nut width on the fingerboard approximately two (2) inches—(classical type neck).” Additionally, the fretboard width at the 12th fret is to be “approximately 2 7/16” inches.

Beyond its gigantic, one-of-a-kind neck proportions, this custom L-7C shares all of the period-correct attributes of the reasonably priced, and still-enduring, member of the Gibson acoustic archtop family: a 17-inch body, spruce top, curly maple back and sides, 25 1/2–inch scale, rosewood fingerboard with parallelogram inlays, rosewood bridge, and nickel-plated hardware.

This L7-C was shipped from the Gibson factory to Al Peterson’s House of Music in Hempstead, Long Island, on October 28, 1964, and remained in the possession of the original owner’s family until Matt Brewster, owner of New York’s 30th Street Guitars, recently acquired it. “When I asked why the neck was so big, the family told me that the owner was a very, very large man,” Brewster says. “I love all the sketches and papers that came with this instrument, as well as the fact that there’s even a little scroll with the guy’s name and contact information in the truss-rod cavity. It proves that there were guitar nerds just like us in 1964!”

Photo: Massimo Gammacurta

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  1. Posted by akshay on August 15th, 2012, 12:23 [Reply]


  2. Posted by Jim on January 14th, 2014, 21:26 [Reply]

    Nice hi-res picture! Thank you! <-sarcasm

  3. Posted by Aaron on March 19th, 2014, 17:33 [Reply]

    I own this exact Gibson L7-C with “Giant Frets”, email if interested.

  4. Posted by davesintexas on March 28th, 2014, 10:55 [Reply]

    I SURE would like to know where a VERY CUSTOM ES 335 for a J.S.Peterson in 1964 or 1965. It has a Head Stock Logo that is also SO CUSTOM looks like a Coat of Arms placed on it. Currently its for sale on Sure would like to know MORE history since the seller knows nothing.

  5. Posted by John on May 31st, 2014, 15:19 [Reply]

    What issue is this article from?

    • Posted by cscapelliti on June 2nd, 2014, 15:49 [Reply]

      November-December 2011

  6. Posted by Chris Marcum on March 12th, 2015, 13:46 [Reply]

    I ordered a L7C from Gibson in 1970, it took a year get it. It matches the Barney Kessel studio guitar. Black with a Charlie Christian pickup, ebony dot finger board. I have owned it since then. Great jazz guitar.

  7. Posted by Chris Marcum on March 12th, 2015, 13:50 [Reply]

    I ordered the L7C from the Gibson factory in 1970. It took a year to receive it.
    It is a Barney Kessel version. Black with a Charley Christian pickup, ebony dot fingerboard, grover heads. I still own it.


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