Guitars That Got Away

1939 Gibson L-50 Archtop

It played as badly as it looked

Old and rare, but it was hardly a good guitar

Upon entering Johnny Wade’s home that was full of interesting old guitars, amplifiers and lap steels, I saw this rather worn old Gibson L-50 Archtop guitar, which he handed to me to play. This was of course after he had a quick play which sounded amazing. It was terrible to play as it had very high action, and I could not play anywhere near as well as he could!

I had very little interest in this guitar on the day as I was there to see the 1956 Fender Stratocaster at that time, but I was still impressed as this was the first guitar from this period I had seen at this stage. I believe he had owned this guitar since new and it had clearly seen a lot use in that time. The body was missing a great deal of paint, there were cracks in the body, and generally the guitar needed to be restored if it was ever to be a usable instrument once again. 

It wasn’t until his passing that the family offered the guitar to me. I was somewhat interested at this point, but after speaking with some guitar repairers, and the value of the guitar, it was not worth restoring, at least not at that time. The guitar would have cost far more to restore than it was worth, so I ended up passing on it.

Serial Number: Unknown

Neck Date: Unknown

Body Date: Unknown