Gibson L-4

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Gibson L-4 CES (after 1980s)
Gibson L-4 (ca.1917)

Gibson L-4 refers to several archtop guitars produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.

The L-4 was first introduced in 1911 as an acoustic rhythm guitar with an oval sound hole;[1] it was used by Eddie Lang, who also played an L-5.

During the 1930s, the oval sound hole was replaced by two f-holes, similar to those found on other archtops such as the L-5 and the Super 400.

In 1949, Gibson released the ES-175, which was essentially an electric version of the L-4 with a laminated (as opposed to carved) top and a florentine cutaway.

Electric versions of the L-4 (known as L-4 CES) with a carved top and a florentine cutaway, were released in limited runs throughout the 1950s.

In the late 1980s, Gibson reintroduced the L-4 CES, which has been in production ever since.

The current version features two humbucking pickups, a solid carved spruce top, and solid mahogany back and sides.[2] Other differences with the ES-175 include gold hardware, a fancier tailpiece, a different pickguard, and the rhythm pickup mounted closer to the neck.


  1. ^ Wheeler, Tom (1992). American Guitars: an illustrated history. New York: HarperCollins, p. 107
  2. ^ "L-4 CES Mahogany". Retrieved 2010-08-23.