old Gibson ad

A rare Gibson Super 400 Premier cutaway was recently profiled by Vintage Guitar, as part of the publication’s “Classic Instruments” series. After noting that the instrument first appeared in Gibson’s marketing literature in 1940, the article goes on to reveal that, with a list price of $425 (including case and zipper cover), the acoustic was, at the time, the most expensive guitar in the Gibson catalog.

“Expensive in their day, these instruments required a high degree of hand work,” states the article. “The economy had not yet recovered from the Great Depression and few musicians were in a position to buy them. The late Julius Belson, who worked at Gibson in the 1930s and ’40s, compiled production records showing Super 400P sunburst-finish guitars production as six in 1939, 10 in 1940, and 13 in ’41, while production of the Super 400 PN natural-finish version, according to Belson, was 13 in 1940 and five in ’41.”

The Super 400P and L-5P were the first cutaway models offered by Gibson. The article points out that “any pre-war Premiere Super 400 or L-5 is a greatly sought after collector’s item,” adding that most players prefer the 1940 model, which (unlike the ’30 model) features an elevated fingerboard extension over the body.

To read more, and to view photos, click here.