When it was first introduced in 1947, the LG-1 was Gibson's least expensive flat-top. By adding a third member to the LG family—a line launched in 1942 and designed with war-era shortages and economics in mind—Gibson sought to capture the burgeoning lower-end market in the post-war era. According to the 1950 catalog, the LG-1 was "ideal for students or the guitarists desiring a low priced model."
Conceived as a budget option to the LG-2, the LG-1 had a darker sunburst, which covered imperfections better than the lighter sunburst of the LG-2. Because of that, wood selection didn't have to be as rigorous on the LG-1. While that external difference may seem somewhat negligible, the internal difference in construction had a tremendous impact on sound. The more expensive LG-2 was X-Braced, while the LG-1 has straight-across ladder bracing. On a small body, ladder bracing produces a similar warm sound but with more bark and more bite—an excellent fit for blues and folk music that is a rougher around the edges. Although Gibson's intention may have been to produce a more affordable guitar, the LG-1 offers its own unique tone and inspiration.
This 1955 Gibson LG-1 (FON W1714 35) is a great example of early-'50s specs with the smaller teardrop pickguard and 19 frets total (instead of the larger pickguard with the point and 20 frets). Its tone is warm with strong mid-range emphasis, and like a good ladder-braced guitar, it growls and breaks up when you dig in aggressively. Its neck profile is rounded with a soft V. At only 14-1/8" across, it's a comfortable, inviting small-body guitar with a strong voice that belies its small size.
As for repairs, this '55 LG-1 appears to have had a neck reset at some point in the past. At present, its action is very playable, but because the top has bellied from 65 years of tension, its saddle doesn't have much room to go lower. If lower action was desired, a neck reset may be necessary, but it plays and sounds great where it is. Its original frets also play great and ring clear and true. All six tuner buttons have been replaced. There are three repaired back cracks and one repaired top crack along the treble edge of the fingerboard. Some of the top braces have been reglued and the bridge plate has been reinforced. It is structurally sound and a joy to play.
This 1955 Gibson LG-1 is a great player that packs authentic mojo and vintage tone that will inspire your playing and push your music to the next level. It includes a modern molded plastic case from SKB.