Based on this guitar's factory order number, this 80+ year old archtop was built by Gibson in Kalamazoo and shipped to Coastal Music in California in 1936, according to Gibson's ledgers. According to the family that sold it to me it had been purchased new by their grandfather. In all of those years, before coming to me, it never left Los Angeles.
Henry L Mason guitars were distributed exclusively to Coastal Music in California and were only made for a few years. They were essentially the same as the Cromwell guitars and similar to some models of Kalamazoo guitars that were also made by Gibson.
This one is clearly an amazing structural build with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. In all of those years, it's never had a single crack and the neck has never been reset. It still maintains fantastic action and weighs in at a feather light 3 lb 14 oz. It is remarkably resonant and warm with a wide dynamic range. It's sound is remarkably comparable to many of the much higher end archtops from the 30s and 40s that I've played.
The original finish is in pretty decent shape, although it certainly shows signs of significant playing time. The fretboard also shows some divots in the area of the first three frets. It clearly had a lot of cowboy chord time on it. The frets were certainly been replaced at some time considering how much it's been played, but they were clearly professionally done and still have life in them before a refret will be needed. The neck is beautifully straight allowing for smooth easy playability across the V-shaped neck.
At some point some small holes, seen in the pics, were drilled into the top. I'm not sure what purpose these served. Lastly, the end strap button was glued back in place at some point in the past with some sort of epoxy.
It comes with a very old chip board case. I'm not sure of its originality.
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SOLD - 1936 Henry L Mason by Gibson CW-4 Sunburst
$1,499.00 Regular Price