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  1. #1

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    Dear fellow jazz guitarists,

    She's arrived a couple of days ago. A 1989 Gibson L4 CES that was crafted by James Hutchins. For those of you who have seen some of my videos before, I mainly own guitars with CC pickups. This time, I wanted to have a guitar equipped with humbuckers.

    So here she is. The combination of the spruce top with mahogany back and rims is really nice and you can hear the sweet mellow sound given by mahog.

    With the small exception of the bridge humbucker that has tarnished, she is like new.

    Gibson L4 CES - 1989 - Made by James Hutchins-img_3203-jpgGibson L4 CES - 1989 - Made by James Hutchins-img_3198-jpgGibson L4 CES - 1989 - Made by James Hutchins-img_3201-jpgGibson L4 CES - 1989 - Made by James Hutchins-img_3197-jpg



    Have a nice week-end
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

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  3. #2

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    Nice find! Love the sound.

  4. #3

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    Oh, after listening to that, I'm so sorry you got "stiffed" with a poor quality guitar. For a small fee I'd be willing to take that off your hands so you can live life with joy.

    It would be such a sacrifice on my part .... but then, I'm such a kind and caring guy ...



    Jokes aside, she's a beautiful git and responds well to your touch. Do post more!

    Not that I'm envious or anything ... lol




    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  5. #4

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    Lovely sound and wonderful playing. I have a sunburst from about the same vintage, with really low frets. I'm kind of surprised that this model is not more talked about. Thanks for posting this.

  6. #5

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    That sounds so good in your hands, Fred! So good.

    A real sleeper archtop, the L-4CES.

    Make great music with it!

  7. #6

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    [QUOTE=Fred Archtop;899694...A 1989 Gibson L4 CES that was crafted by James Hutchins. [/QUOTE]
    Fred - Congrats, that lookes lovely. Play it long and well! But it wasn't "crafted by James Hutchins" - he did not build the guitar. It's a factory produced guitar built by a group of employees at Gibson of which he was a senior member, and he signed a label that not only honoured his service to the company but was a simple marketing tool.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  8. #7

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    Marketing tool or not, it looks and sounds great. But everything does in your hands, Fred!

  9. #8

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    What a beautiful looking and sounding guitar! Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Best regards, k

  10. #9

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    When Ms. Cindy Crawford was a young girl, someone once said to her, "Cindy, you have fine bone structure but you do know tnat you have a mole on your face!"

    Some things may be true but they are better left unsaid because, you know, it is like pissing on someone's victory parade.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    When Ms. Cindy Crawford was a young girl, someone once said to her, "Cindy, you have fine bone structure but you do know tnat you have a mole on your face!"

    Some things may be true but they are better left unsaid because, you know, it is like pissing on someone's victory parade.
    ........and MHO, Cindy Crawford doesn't have a mole - she has a 'beauty mark'.

  12. #11

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    Woo-hoo! First natural L-4CES I have seen, IIRC. I really like that one. Solid spruce top, with the 'hog sides and back are a GREAT combination. Your clip sounds great, to prove the point.

    And, no convexity funny business between the pickups they way you often get with a 175.

    This is a JAZZ guitar, alright.

    Nice get.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    When Ms. Cindy Crawford was a young girl, someone once said to her, "Cindy, you have fine bone structure but you do know tnat you have a mole on your face!"Some things may be true but they are better left unsaid because, you know, it is like pissing on someone's victory parade.
    Fully supportive of the victory parade, but I can't agree to support a false narrative by omission.
    Still a super-cool, excellent guitar.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-22-2018 at 11:19 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  14. #13

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    People in the know, know how great a L4 Mahogany is. I love mine. A big CONGRATS Fred.
    As always stellar playing and I love the tone of your new L4. A real sweetie indeed.

  15. #14

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    Freddy,
    James Hutchins headed up the department that built your guitar. And his hands were on it when he approved it. The perfection that left the plant under his watch gained him the notoriety he so richly deserved. And you have every right to be proud of this guitar. It is beautiful. And you.. gorgeous playing. Thank you sharing this experience with us.
    Joe D.

  16. #15

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    Fred
    A great acquisition. having for years maintained that the L4CES , with
    mahogany back and sides, knocks an ES175 into a cocked hat, here you
    have proved conclusively that is the case ! .... and a "James Hutchins" to
    boot. Thank you for posting this video, the L4 has a superb tone and in a
    league of its own.

  17. #16
    Great tone from that L4CES. Love it in natural. That guitar in your hands sounds spectacular. Enjoy

  18. #17

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    Excellent playing … great tone

    and the guitar looks and sounds great

    I have an ebony '88 L4CES

    These are great guitars …

    They seem to be starting to get the recognition they deserve

  19. #18

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    Congrats! May she inspire your playing for many years to come.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  20. #19
    Congratulations. It sounds amazingly responsive! It might have a good acoustic voice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Congrats! May she inspire your playing for many years to come.

  21. #20

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    Fred,
    A great find ! Beautiful tone and some fine guitar playing. The Gibson L4 really bridges the gap between the ES-175 and that L5 carved tone. When it comes to amplified jazz tone - “ Only a Gibson is good enough”. Do enjoy - and thanks for sharing your NGD and the video - much appreciated.

  22. #21

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    Beautiful! I had one of about the same vintage with an ebony finish. It was a fantastic guitar. I regret selling that one.

  23. #22

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    That sounds great!

  24. #23

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    Beautiful guitar, and even more beautiful playing!

  25. #24

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    The previous owner bought it and either broke the headstock or bought it after the accident. There was a visible line down the treble side. Also... somewhere in the history of the guitar an owner also added a Bigsby. So I had to address both issues. The guitar was sitting in a pawn shop that was going out of business and they were willing to be flexible. I bought it for around $1500 and set about fixing stuff. I gave it to a renowned Luthier here in Middle Georgia (Tom Dodson) and he set the headstock straight. He replaced the tuning pegs with Vintage style Klusons and gave it a setup. The guitar plays like a dream if you want a rockabilly guitar that screams with 10s. (And with a Bigsby through a Super Deluxe.) But I think this is a Jazz guitar and I'd like to find a decent tailpiece for it. Does anyone have any ideas ?? I read once that Gibson would replace the tailpiece for a thousand dollars if I mailed the guitar to to the custom shop. Ha, Ha.

  26. #25

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    Steve Holst makes solid wood tailpieces (cocobolo or macassar ebony) with solid brass brackets for $120 or so. They give your L4CES a D'Aquisto look. Steve could even make a T-style, if you ask him.

    Otherwise, the ES-175 style 3-rhomboids T-bar or zigzag-wire tailpiece would have to do. Genuine L5-style tailpieces don't come cheaply.

  27. #26

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    BeBog,

    I have a blank (so no laminated wood “badge”) L4-CES tailpiece here.

    It has the unfortunately typical extremely thin gold from Gibson in the mid 2,000’s so is a very pale gold overall and nearly through to the nickel plating in places.

    This all from a tailpiece that was on a guitar for only a while at a dealer.

    Anyway, if you are very serious about getting a stock tailpiece and can get some one to make the ebony-faced badge for the front, it will cost FAR less than $1,000.

    PM only if serious, and can get a badge made. Not interested in making a badge here.

  28. #27

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    Thanks all for the input. I'll probably go the ES175 tailpiece route. If it weren't for the broken headstock, I'd worry about making it all correct but as it is, I just want it set up properly and playing like a true jazz guitar. Bebog

  29. #28

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    When I was looking at a big-bodied Gibson last time, it had a bigsby. my plan back then was to just buy a six-finger "johnny smith" tailpiece that was available locally, but a tax issue made me have less disposable income than would've allowed the purchase of the guitar

  30. #29

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    Lovely sound Fred , lovely instrument

    also you sound really hip these days man !

  31. #30

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    Sounds as good as it looks. Great playing, great instrument.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  32. #31
    Very nice and really nice playing too! Congrats, HBelatedNGD and play her in good health!
    Midnight Blues