Thursday, January 3, 2013

1928 Gibson Nick Lucas... from an email

I'm active on a couple of guitar nerd forums and I like to look out for cool guitars.  The Gibson Nick Lucas Special is one of my all-time favorite guitars ever produced.  Here is an email that I got from the grandson of the original owner of this guitar:

My grandfather bought a new Gibson Nick Lucas back in the twenties. He never got around to learning how to play it and it sat in its case until he gave it to my brother in the late Fifties. It sat under his bed until I found it in the early Sixties.

It had been strung up and ignored for decades. The action was redunkulous. I didn't know any better since it was the first guitar I had ever touched. Many sore fingers later I heard about light gauge strings and tuning down. In the meantime it was handled with absolutely no care by an ignorant teenager - me. I dropped a clock radio on it, several times - note the huge gouges. 

Eventually i took it to a guitar shop where they "improved" it by filing down the original bridge to get the action a little better. I took off the open gear tuners and drilled holes for shiny new closed gear Grovers. The tuners were a great improvement, but - now the guitar wouldn't fit in the case unless I took off the D and G pegs!

I got a Dearmond soundhole pickup and played slide for quite awhile. I had a neck reset in the Nineties and have been playing fingerstyle with it tuned down a whole step ever since. 

According to the guys at Gibson, the serial number (in pencil) on the label indicates it was made in 1926 but that doesn't match up with the description on the Gibson Nick Lucas reference page. Mine has the pearl "The Gibson" and the notched diamond inlay at the third fret. It is a 12 fretter so my best guess is late 1928. That makes it 85 years old sometime this year. August 22 is Nick Lucas's birthday. :)

This guitar has been rode hard and put away wet. It is LOUD! It sounds clear and true. Rings for days. Playing up towards the neck produces a wide warm tone and playing down by the bridge gets a crisp sound. This is true of every guitar but is really remarkable on my Nick. The "improvements" and hard wear probably make it a lot less desirable to a collector, but I have no plans of setting it loose in this lifetime.  

Neither of my sons plays guitar but maybe my grandson will someday.   

It is very rare to have a full history on a guitar.  Thank you BmoreTele for sending me this.  A very cool guitar indeed.


1 comment:

  1. Another cool Nick Lucas. Most 7 pin models were H braced. The FON would date this also with the help of Joe Spann's Gibson guide. If it had the original engraved Waverly tuners keep track of them they are almost impossible to find.