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 Gibson Super 400C natural from 1962

The Golden Era


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Notes: Making its debut back in 1934, the Super 400 is the pinnacle of Gibson's guitar line, the largest and most expensive production guitar of its era. In 1939, after several changes, the first Super 400 with a cutaway design called Super 400 Premiere was introduced. It was later renamed Super 400C and it has always been built in vanishingly small numbers. Top players like jazz wizard Kenny Burrell or picking pioneer Merle Travis prefered the Super 400 and today it is still in high demand by players and collectors alike for their clear open tone and great response.

Materials: 18" wide Venetian cutaway body with handcarved bookmatched fine grained solid spruce top, highly figured solid two-piece tiger flamed maple neck with Mahogany center stripe, flamed solid Maple back, highly flamed Maple sides, pointed-end ebony fretboard, nut width 1 11/16", 20 frets, pearl single and double split-block position markers, split diamond MOP inlay on front and back of headstock, 7-ply body binding, 5-ply for neck, head and pickguard, triple bound f-holes, polished bone nut, compensated rosewood bridge.

Hardware: Gold art deco trapeze tailpiece with Y-shaped center section and model name engraved on cross-piece, original Super 400 truss rod cover, quintuple-bound mottled pickguard, gold pickguard support bracket, Kluson sealfast tuners.

Facts: Built in early 1962, this Super 400C comes from Gibson's real golden era of production and it is one of just 5 blonde examples produced in '62. The orange label is intact and clearly legible. Its 5-digit serial number 49XXX matches the number on the back of the headstock. It is one of the very last examples with a two-piece Maple neck and a Mahogany stripe in the center and the old-style headstock shape. In the middle of '62 this has changed to a three-piece Maple neck with two stripes between them. As a special feature it sports a factory original black stinger at the heel of the neck. This was only occasionaly made on blonde Gibson archtops made during the 50ties and 60ties (see also Thomas Van Hoose book "The Gibson Super 400" on page 62 and page 73).

Condition: Well maintained, the guitar is still in very good condition after all these years. It has been played a lot and that is why a refret was necessary at some point. This job was done perfectly and the frets have plenty of life left. The finish has a few marks here and there mostly on the top and the rims, the back of the body is pretty clean. The neck shows some playing wear between frets 1-3. The hardware and finish is completely original. There is an additional golden strap button at the heel of the neck. The truss rod and the tuners work smooth, no bent shafts, original buttons. The entire binding is original and tight to the body.

Playability: The neck has a particularly sleek, effortless feel, with a fine slim D profile, and a solid ebony fingerboard that glides smoothly under the fingers over immaculate medium jumbo frets. It is like you don't hold and play this instrument, you embrace it.

Tone: The voice is open and yet clear, with cutting treble, silky mids and big bass with excellent projection and the buttery warmth of tonewood aged over half a century. Wonderfully balanced, the response is even across the entire fingerboard, ideal for warm comping or brilliant solos alike. There isn't an acoustic realm that this instrument could not handle well.

Case: Original black vinyl Lifton hardshell case with orange plush interior and Gibson plaque in great condition. The original handle has been strengthened at the upper hinge and is now even more stable than ever before. All latches, hinges and handle work fine.

Setup: This instrument is strung with round wound strings (.013-.054). The guitar will accommodate lighter gauge strings, according to your preference. The entire guitar is inspected, fingerboard and bridge oiled, body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

To Summarize: Until today, the Super 400C is still marketed as the top-of-the-line model and very few are produced in relation to the Super 400 CES. The limited availability of suitable spruce tops and curly maple that are large and beautiful enough make them so sought after. This blonde beauty from Gibson's hey-days is an awesome instrument of surpassing elegance, playability and versatility, with the potential of being a great investment opportunity which we are pleased to offer to one fortunate player.

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