The Fender Forum
NEW! LPF Facebook Page
NEW! LPF Instagram Page
Merchandise & Donations
NEW! Burst Serial Log Home Page
LPF Homesite
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    10

    1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Quite some years ago I bought (living in Germany: via ebay.com) a Gibson L-7 with two pickups obviously installed into the wooden top later. I bought it because, as a solid-body guitar player with around 15 vintage guitars, I wanted a true Gibson solid spruce top Jazz guitar, these are more affordable than stock L-7 guitars, and because a friend of mine has one L-7 with Humbuckers installed later, and this guitar sounds fantastic (electrically and also acoustically).



    (I the meantime, I removed the Bigsby and installed a new trapeze tailpiece.)

    Now, this guitar is a bit strange. And I wonder whether the P90s could be factory installed by Gibson later, or even that this is some kind of L-7-CES, though according to Hammertone from 01-09-16 there never been has one, just L-7 electrics with the McCarthy unit, resting on top of the body with the pickups installed in the pickguard in order to preserve the solid top.

    The electric models are (according to Duchossior: Gibson Electrics):
    L-7E: one PU (from June 1948)
    L-7PE: one PU + cutaway (P = „Premier“)
    L-7ED / L-7PED: ditto, but two pickups (from fall 1948)
    L-7CE / L-7CED: „C“ instead of „P“ for cutaway, from early 1949

    The label of my guitar says “L-7-CP”. Duchossior does not mention such a guitar. But I just found one on Reverb from 1948 (the seller says) with the same label: https://reverb.com/item/3920928
    (See picture no. 15)
    It has the McCarthy unit.

    One possibility for this model designation could be that for some time in late 1948, early 1949 Gibson used the “P” not for designating cutaway but the McCarthy unit.

    Anyhow. So, mine should have had a McCarthy unit too. But there is none. Instead there are two P-90s. Obviously, these are installed later with recesses cut into the top. But really?

    Amazingly, the pickup cavities show the finish from the top. This is especially clear in the neck pickup cavity with the sunburst finish clearly visible on the vertical part of the hole.





    So, it seems to me, the guitar either must have been refinished after the holes have been cut (and this has been done after a complete strip of the original finish). But there are not signs of a refinish. Or this is all done by Gibson originally, maybe a customer order. Also, the bridge pickup cavity could have been cut later (though the pickup is older).




    By the way, Duchossoir mentions on p. 185 that there has been some L-7 electrics "factory-built in the late 50s and 60s with a bar pickup" which were not itemized in the shipping totals. I assume, Duchossoir refers to cavities cut into the top (like on a L-5CES), as he talks about factory-installed McCarthy units all the rest of this section on L-7 electrics.

    In order to specify the vintage of the guitar, here some information:

    Serial number (on white oval label): A-3090: This denotes 1949
    FON 40 23 23 [or 28], stamped on the inside of the back: 1950?
    Non-adjustable pole P-90 pickups (installed in the bridge position, could be neck position originally): 1946-1950
    Pots:
    Two Centralab pots: 134701 and 134702 / 500K, Centralab (134): 1947 or 1957
    Two IRT pots: 500 K Ohm C 6151058 125: IRC (615): 1951, 21th week (May)

    So, the guitar could be a 1949 custom ordered “L-7CES” (but still denoted “L-7-CP”) with one non-adj. pole P90 in the neck position, sent back to Gibson in the early 1950s for installing another P90 in the bridge position. Then the pickups have been switched.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by tzurby; 07-03-19 at 07:04 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Anything is possible, including one or several L-7 guitars custom-ordered from Gibson with set-in pickups, or returned to Gibson to have such work done. However, the modifications done to this guitar to install the two P-90 pickups simply do not look like Gibson factory work to me - extensive additional bracing in both pickup holes, cut top braces (treble pickup hole), etceteras.

    Of the dozen or so modified L-5 and L-7 guitars I have inspected or worked on, I have only ever seen one L-7 modified so cleanly for a P-90 route/vol/tone controls that I suspect it might have been done at the factory. I'll see if I can dig up a picture of it.

    These are great guitars, whether stock or modified.
    My recommendation is to put it back together, forget about its non-Gibson modifications and play the crap out of it.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    10

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Thanks very much for your answer.

    You are fully right. This is a fine guitar which sounds very nice, being stock or altered.

    I have not idea about bracings and all that. But the treble hole from below does not look that neat indeed:

    (Sorry for the mediorce picture.)

    Same for the neck PU hole:

    Anyhow, the original finish on the slanted part of the neck pickup hole is still a mystery...

    By the way, I just found another L-7 with stock pickups holes sawed originally by Gibson, at least according to the seller: https://www.archtop.com/ac_36L7E_1018.html

    So, my guess is still: the neck hole is made by Gibson on a custom order basis, the bridge hole came later. This probably was not done by Gibson, but by a luthier. Possibly he also reinforced the hols from below.

  4. #4

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    I'd like to see more pictures of the top. It looks like it's factory finish in the close-ups but in the first picture of the guitar itself the burst pattern appears uneven and unbalanced, especially when comparing the areas around both f-holes. Is the finish darker around the tone/volume knobs? - But then again, it may just be the picture.

    If I might offer an alternate theory, it may have been a 1949+/- build that stayed in the factory until 1951+/- and received pickup(s?) then. This would not be unusual.

    Have you attempted to research the serial number through Gibson? It may even be possible to locate the shipping ledgers but may require searching two years of them!

    It looks like a fun guitar!

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    10

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Here are two more pictures of the top:





    Also a picture of the back:



    This looks fully original to me without any doubt.

    Thanks for the idea regarding Gibsons shipping ledgers. I will call Gibson Europe tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    10

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES? - Shipping ledgers

    Gibson tells me that they do not offer the service to look into the shipping ledgers anymore. It is too time consuming, and these documents are too delicate to use them too often.

    I fully understand that.

    But Gibson is considering to scan the shipping ledgers. Maybe in 1-2 yeares they will be available online.

    Which would be great, I think.

  7. #7

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    After further thought, I think it's all original, all Gibson. It may have started life as an L7 but left the factory with its two pickups in 1951 or 1952 as an ES350 (more or less). The early 50s L7 CES and ES 350 are pretty close and production for both guitars overlapped from 1948 - 1954. Anything (and everything) is possible with Gibson at any time. It's a very cool guitar.

    Here are two early '50s ES350s just for fun.

    https://reverb.com/item/19461224-195...rc=aw.ds&pla=1

    https://reverb.com/item/25413609-195...-350dn-natural

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    10

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    But when it's original, the cuts in the top should look like the cuts on an L-5 CES or a Super 400 CES with P90s from this period. I searched a lot, but could not find a picture of top with open holes for the P90s.

  9. #9

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzurby View Post
    But when it's original, the cuts in the top should look like the cuts on an L-5 CES or a Super 400 CES with P90s from this period. I searched a lot, but could not find a picture of top with open holes for the P90s.
    It seems clear* that it's Gibson factory work. There is no reason why the holes cut into the top for the P90s should look like anything. Perhaps they were done quickly? Perhaps they were done by a new employee?

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    Anything (and everything) is possible with Gibson at any time.
    Yup, I just quoted myself.

    For example, check out this 1959 Les Paul Standard ('Burst) with a freaky yet factory original first-fret inlay: https://reverb.com/item/1183832-intr...es-paul-9-0639



    * from the photos - there is no substitute for an in-hand inspection by a Gibson authority.
    Last edited by brandtkronholm; 07-06-19 at 02:12 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    ...the modifications done to this guitar to install the two P-90 pickups simply do not look like Gibson factory work to me - extensive additional bracing in both pickup holes, cut top braces (treble pickup hole), etceteras.
    I agree with this. One of the most obvious "etceteras" is the placement of the control knobs for the bridge pickup. Not done by Gibson.

    Nice guitar anyway. If that finish is indeed original (and I tend to doubt it), it has survived in unbelievable condition. It almost looks like it could have been totally clear-coated at some point, but you'd still expect to see some checking under the clear on a guitar that old.

  11. #11

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    I was taken by the control lay-out as well. The neck tone control jives with Gibson factory work but the bridge pickup controls and the neck volume are definitely odd.

    (1952 ES350 from Reverb)


    If the finish on the OP's L7 is not the original finish, then indeed it looks just about perfect.

    I still think the guitar could be factory original - but I'm open to other possibilities. It is mysterious!

  12. #12

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    ...as I continue to compare, the location of the OP's bridge pickup is strange too - unless the bridge itself is in an odd place.

    Hmm...

  13. #13

    Re: 1949 L-7-CP - or L-7-CES?

    From another thread comes this possibly relevant factory instrument:

    Quote Originally Posted by AlienVintage View Post
    Mystery circa 1963 Gibson factory custom order with L-5 CES features, using a ‘52 ES-5 as the starting guitar:

    Post #223 from https://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/s...lden-Era/page6

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Scroll Down And Click On All Of Our Sponsors' Logos For Their Websites!






i