In 1934, Gibson introduced its most impressive and highly-appointed archtop yet: the 18″-wide Super 400. Unlike many instruments whose development and refinement borrowed from a diversity of builders and tinkerers, the archtop guitar is unique because its inspiration can be traced directly to one man: Orville Gibson. Although Gibson’s early 1890s designs differ greatly from the modern archtop guitar, he set in motion nearly 50 years of innovation that culminated in the Super 400.
The Super 400 is over the top in every way. It's a big guitar that a packs an even bigger sound. With modest attention to detail, it pushes the concept of deluxe appointments to another level.
This 1952 Super 400 is a remarkable example of the purely acoustic '50s-era model. Its tone is powerful and cutting with a wide dynamic range. It stays clean and clear even when you push it hard. It projects quickly, and its sound jumps across the room. All of the delicate subtleties of your playing style influence and shape its tone.
This '52 Super 400 sports the (relatively rare for the model) natural finish, and its book-matched Maple back and sides show intense blister figuring. Cosmetically, it is very clean with minimal signs of play wear and no severe cosmetic issues. Repair history is also minimal. Its nut has been replaced, and we discovered a 1/16" set screw through the 4th fret that stabilizes the truss rod, which probably rattled and bothered the player at one time. Its pickguard has been reinforced, but it still sports its original hardware and retains the appropriate style for the era. Its setup is fast and light, and this guitar plays beautifully all the way up the neck.
The Super 400 is the pinnacle of the Gibson archtop, and this 1952 Super 400 demonstrates that in every way. This guitar includes its original case, and after sixty-seven years, it is ready inspire the next generation. The Super 400 was intended to be a powerful guitar, and playing this guitar is a powerful experience.