Gibson Style O Artist c. 1922
Gibson Style O Artist c. 1922 | $7350 | The Gibson Style O Artist had a run from 1908 to 1925. It was the most expensive of Gibson's offerings, and it was certainly a guitar that stood out from the crowd, especially in those early days! Many makers were still producing the parlor-type guitars, built lightly with a soft voice. But Orville Gibson and his cohorts had others ideas for the guitar with the introduction of this instrument. It's visually attractive with radical lines (echoing the F-style mandolins), large body, oval sound hole and glowing sunburst; unlike any guitar of its day. Additionally, it ranks as the first guitar with a cutaway, allowing a player to access the 15th fret. If that weren't enough to put it on the guitar 'map', there are iconic photos of a Style O in the hands of bluesman Big Bill Broonzy.
This guitar comes from the Stefan Grossman collection.
The guitar body is birch with a carved back, and trimmed in white celluloid. The top is carved spruce adorned with fancy purfling around the sound hole. The neck is mahogany and carved in a 'V' profile; it's a handful, but not uncomfortable. The fingerboard is appears to be ebony. The neck has an adjustable truss rod, which first appeared in '22 (a different trapeze bridge appears in '23, so considering the truss rod and tailpiece, we'd like to date this one as a '22). The bridge has adjuster wheels, and, although older, is likely not original to the guitar. The tailpiece may be original, although it lack the 'Pat.' stamp. If not original, it's a pretty good replacement. The tuners are replacement Kluson Deluxe (missing two bushings). New nut.
The body measures 16 1/4" across, and is 3 1/4" deep at the end pin. Scale length is 25 1/8". The neck measures 1 7/8" across at the nut. The frets are good, and there is a bit of wear to the fingerboard in first position.
There is a well repaired heel crack (it appears the majority of surviving Style Os share this trait),a glued top crack along the fingerboard extension which is glued and cleated, a center seam crack below bridge which is glued and cleated, and a bit of inlay loss (1/2”) around sound hole. Missing its original pick guard.
The Style O is a beautiful piece of Americana, but also eminently playable as a guitar. The action and neck are comfortable and the guitar plays easily and produces a really pleasing sound. It has power, depth and sustain with a touch of arch top tone.
Comes with a new hard case.
Check the sound clip!