This week’s featured archtop is built for the guitarist who seeks an instrument that generates extraordinary warmth and couples that with inviting playability. Gibson Custom Shop luthiers have substituted mahogany back and sides for the usual maple on the L-4 CES, producing a bottom end that’s exceptionally round and resonant. The 175 body shape makes it a pleasure to play.
Unplugged, the Custom L-4 CES Mahogany has the powerful projection typical of Gibson acoustics with L5 genetics. Connected to a slightly overdriven tube amp, the ‘57 Classic humbuckers add a layer of harmonic complexity to the L4 CES’s big voice.
As you would expect with an instrument of this stature, all the woods, cosmetics and hardware are top drawer. Full binding, immaculately executed inlays and a flawless finish make it an investment-grade instrument whose voice will only grow more sonorous over time.
Brian Baggett of Private Reserve Guitars easily coaxes stunningly warm tones and remarkable responsiveness from the big arched top of the Gibson Custom L-4 CES Mahogany.
Here’s some feedback from two of our Guitar Advisors after examining and playing the L-4 CES Mahogany:
With the smaller body and mahogany back and sides, this guitar reminds me of some of those early recording of archtop guitar sounds. It's warm and woody, with a nice midrange presence. While not quite as bright as it's bigger brother, the L-5, it still has enough top end shimmer to please the chord melody players out there!
It’s pretty wild picking up one of these Gibson Custom archtops and just feeling how much craftsmanship goes into them. Plugging it in is another experience entirely, though just as amazing. These guitars have that perfect jazz tone in the neck pickup that it is instantly recognizable, but there’s so much more you can do with this guitar. The L-4 is so responsive and resonant that you can hear and feel things in you’re playing you won’t experience with other guitars. This thing is a dream to play.
You can explore all the specs and view both finish options (Natural or Vintage Sunburst) for the L-4 CES Mahogany here. We also invite you to call one of our Guitar Advisors at 866-926-1923 for an in-hand tone report, additional photos, or to schedule a Skype session to personally audition this extraordinary guitar.