It's not clear exactly when Gibson introduced the L-00—perhaps as early as 1929, but certainly no later than '31. In those days, this simple, understated concert-size guitar was the cheapest Gibson flattop available, but L-00s sound so much better than their original price tag would suggest.
At $25, the L-00 was cheaper than other Gibsons, but that's still about twice the price of Chicago-made Kay and Harmony guitars available at the time. Unlike other low-cost blues boxes, the Gibson was actually made from all solid woods with X-bracing under the hood. When you put Depression wages in perspective, $25 was more than the average week's pay.
The '30s L-00 was affordable, sure, but it's still a substantial instrument well-suited for the music of its era. The L-00 produces a lovely, dry tone with lots of mid-range and treble cut. Its tone is perfect for old-time and traditional playing, and it may be a quintessential blues guitar, particularly when fingerpicked or played with a bottleneck slide.
Because of the lower price tag, players in the past would sometimes treat L-00s too casually, so these days, not many examples find us in good shape. But despite the authentic battle scars of a well-loved prewar guitar, this 1936 L-00 has survived the decades nicely. It was recently overhauled by Colfax Guitar in Denver, so it finds us in excellent playing condition. They reset the neck, refretted/re-planed the fingerboard, and fit a new saddle for the bridge (which has been sanded and adjusted, but is still in proper working order).
At some point along the way, it looks like a pickup was installed, but it has been professionally removed. There is a plugged input jack hole in the end block, and the bridge plate has been replaced with a proper Maple plate. There are two repaired cracks on the back, right by the neck block, and they're stabilized by a spruce support that is is visible through the sound hole.
Sound-wise, this '36 L-00 has crisp, fast response and mid-range punch. It has a wide-open, woody resonance, and the feel of the strong V-shaped neck feels authentic and appropriate fro the Depression Era. The original tuners still do the trick, but the 3rd string button has been replaced. Thanks to the recent setup work, it plays like a dream and is ready to inspire for the next 87 years. It includes a modern Gibson case.