Used Archtop Guitars
Gibson: L-4C(Item ID: L-4C Serial#: 300443)
1965 L-4C with Carved Spruce Top and Sunburst Finish and DeArmond Rhythm Chief Model 1100 Pickup System
This guitar is in superb structural condition with a near perfect neck, and it has an extraordinarily fine acoustic sound to match. And, while it does have some cosmetic wear, it is of a nominal type that most would agree adds to the allure of an older, vintage instrument. In addition, a special feature of this guitar is the DeArmond Model 1100 Rhythm Chief pickup system which has been expertly fitted to the instrument.
Cited by some as "one of the three best pickups ever made - the others being Gibson's Charlie Christian model and the P-90", the Rhythm Chief 1100, introduced in 1954, is a pickup system comprised of a single coil bar magnet pickup with adjustable pole pieces and a control unit that includes not only volume and tone controls, but an additional and unique "rhythm" switch which modifies the tone circuit allowing a player to switch tones to create a contrast between rhythm and lead passages. The package of components was designed to be fitted to F-hole archtop guitars by means of a "pressure rod" assembly that could be attached to the strings with a clamping bracket at a point behind the bridge. The control unit was attached to the bracket, and while the pickup was fixed to the rod, it could be positioned variably along the rod for more tone variety. However, one needs to know that DeArmond also offered an optional short offset rod which could be screw mounted to the side of the neck and thereby fix the position of the pickup at the end of the fingerboard, in which case the control unit would then have to be mounted independently, and it is this arrangement that this Gibson L-4 features.
As the photos below illustrate, the Rhythm Chief 1100 pickup system has been professionally fitted to this guitar. While the pickup has been fixed in place at the end of the fingerboard by virtue of DeArmond's short offset rod, the control unit is suspended under the pickguard leaving the volume and tone knobs accessible. In order to attach the control unit to the pickguard, a small hole was bored in the pickguard through which the rhythm switch push stem is extended, and, because the base of the stem is threaded, a nut could then be tightened onto it to hold the unit in place. Also, care was taken to mount the unit near the pickguard's side mounting bracket where sufficient resistence exists to allow the push switch to be engaged without over flexing the pickguard. Additionally, a notch has been artfully carved in the pickguard to accommodate the treble end of the pickup which extends beyond the edge of the fingerboard. In all, the installation is so tidy and efficient that one might mistakenly assume that the pickup system was an original component rather than an aftermarket product.
Please note that the original 12' cable that attaches to the control unit with a screw cap is included with this guitar. And, finally, if you have the opportunity to hear this exceptional instrument amplified we suspect that you might very well add your voice - as we have - to the chorus of others who have affirmed and lauded the merits of this unique pickup system.
To learn much more about Harry DeArmond and the amazing number of products he developed, visit www.musicpickups.com and explore the excellent resources the authors provide.
This guitar includes a deluxe Gibson archtop hardshell case that also is in superb condition. However, we suspect that it is not the original for this guitar and that it is probably older than the guitar. (used)
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