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Super 400 ( 1934 - 1955 )
Acoustic Archtop Guitar
One of the finest and most prestigious guitar Gibson ever made was
introduced in 1923 and was called the Gibson L-5 ,
it was the earliest archtop guitar with f-holes and therefore considered the
backbone of not only for their own line of archtop guitars but pretty much
all archtop guitars you see on the market today .
It is fair to say that the l-5 is probably the worlds' most important guitar
historically . It was a favorite amongst many professional musicians then ,
and a favorite ever since .
In 1934 Gibson famoused the music world over with another extraordinary
guitar which was the largest and most expensive
archtop guitar ever produced by any manufacturer or company.
This guitar was called the gibson super 400,its grand
auditorium body shape shares the same characteristics like the Orville
Gibson Style-O model of 1902 .
In 1934 the Gibson super 400 had an 18" wide body , an adjustable
bridge with triangular designs , it was
assembled with figured maple wood back and sides , fitted with a Y shaped
tailpiece , had triple bound f-holes , brown pearloid pickguards , ebony
fingerboard with pointed ends ,
had double split-block fingerboard inlays , diamond peghead inlays , open
back Grover tuners , gold plated hardware, most of them had the model name
engraved on the heel cap , and were made in brown sunburst finishes .
Important : The very first super 400
batches had " Super L-5 " engraved on the truss rod cover and " Deluxe L-5
model " written on the label . These guitars are extremely rare and are
known today as the "Super 400 Nitro Models" or "Super L-5 Deluxe".
In 1939 the Gibson super 400 P ( premier ) originated , it
had a single rounded cutaway , Kluson tuners with amber tulip-shaped buttons
, were made in sunburst finishes , natural finishes were also available and
named ( Super 400 PN ) . In 1940 Gibson introduced the
super 400 N which was a natural finish version of the
original super 400 .
In 1941 production halted and was resumed after world war 2 in 1948 , the
original super 400 and 400N stayed the same , but the 400p was renamed the
Gibson super 400 C ( C for cutaway ) .
In 1951 Gibson introduced an electric version of the 400c and named it the
super 400 CES , it was equipped with 2 p-90 pickups and
were the first Gibson electric guitars to feature the classic 2 pickup
circuitry ( 2 volumes , 2 tones , and a 3 way switch for pickup combination
) , this was another turning point for Gibson as electric guitar
amplification evolved after world war 2 .
In 1952 a natural finish version of the 400 CES was available and named the
400 CESN ( N for natural )
In 1955 all super 400 non cutaway guitars were discontinued ( super 400 and
400N ) , the super 400 c and the super 400 CESN was discontinued in 1982 and
the super 400 CES was discontinued in 1987 .
Some reissues and different versions were made later on through out the 90s
as historic collection guitars or custom shop super 400 guitars .