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 Gibson Le Grand

Chablis Grand Cru

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Notes: Shortly after the endorsement and cooperation between Johnny Smith and Gibson the decision was made to produce a new, modern version based on the Johnny Smith model without bearing the dedicated signature name. Starting in 1993 the Le Grand made its debut and since then it was part of Gibson's Custom, Art & Historic Collection. Since 2010 the model is no longer listed on the Gibson website and the Le Grand is rarely offered.

Materials: 17" wide and 3" deep body with handcarved, fine grained solid select Sitka Spruce top, highly figured solid five-piece flamed Maple neck, highly flamed tiger striped solid Maple back and sides, straight-end Ebony fretboard, nut width 1 11/16", scale lenghth 25 1/2" and 14/20 frets, Pearl and Abalone position markers, split diamond peghead inlay on front and backside, 7-ply body binding, 5-ply neck, head and pickguard binding, triple bound f-holes, polished bone nut, solid Ebony bridge, bridge base plate with Abalone tie inlays.

Hardware: Gold-plated finger-style jazz tailpiece with 6 individual fine tuner, "Le Grand" engraved truss rod cover, quintuple-bound mottled pickguard with ebony volume knob, input jack / strap button combination at the rim side, BJB pickup mounted on pickguard, Schaller M6 tuners with Gibson name on it.

Facts: Basically the Le Grand has a thinner L-5 body with cross bracing. Only minor modifications have been made compared to the Johnny Smith model and the most obvious difference is the fancier finger-style tailpiece. Just as its predecessor, it also features a graceful Venetian cutaway and a Super 400 neck. The serial number 91348XXX on the oval orange label dates it to 1998 and it was built in Nashville. The finish is called "Chablis" and it enhances its very deep 3D flames. Chablis and translucent amber were only offered between 1993 and 1999 and after that they were discontinued.

Condition: The guitar is in very good condition and well maintained. The frets are original with very little play wear. The finish over the white binding has already yellowed giving the guitar a very attractive overall look. Everything is original to the guitar and the gold-plating is shiny like on its first day. This is an issue-free example of the finest archtops available in the very rare Chablis finish and truly a sight to behold.

Playability: The peghead design results in a remarkably well-balanced instrument. Action is low with no buzz and the neck profile is the comfty rounded C. The neck is straight and plays without any effort.

Tone: Acoustically the Le Grand has a fast response with unbelievable lush and sophisticated tone. Plugged in, the BJB floating pickup with gold cover mounted to the pickguard produces a smooth, mellow tone without feedback. The voice is open and very clear, with lots of treble and a strong bass. Just listen for yourself to the song file on the right side below

Case: Original Gibson hardshell case with genuine leather exterior in very good condition. All latches and hinges work fine.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge flatwound strings (.012-.054). The guitar will accommodate heavier or lighter gauge strings, according to your preference. The entire guitar is inspected, fingerboard oiled, hand polished, bridge intonation and string height adjusted.

To Summarize: There are four classes of quality for the Chablis wines and the lowest level is Petit Chablis followed by AOC Chablis with the biggest portion of production. The third level is for the Chablis Premier Cru which has much more flavor and taste than the average Chablis wines. The highest level is for the Chablis Grand Cru and it should be stored between 8-15 years so that it can unfold its full taste and quality. In our opinion there is no doubt, this Gibson Le Grand belongs to the fourth category and as it is more than 15 years old it can be served immediately. If you got the jazz then you will enjoy it right away, no excuses! Seriously speaking, the Le Grand is a top-of-the-line model from the manufacturer who invented the archtop guitar almost one century ago: The Gibson Company

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