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2018 Full Aged Tone L-DBO 13-Fret

2018 Full Aged Tone L-DBO 13-Fret


“After a lifetime of favoring larger guitars, Dana found the L-DBO’s power-to-size ratio and clear, direct voice ideal for his personal needs: consisting of unwinding in the living room, casual jamming with friends, very occasional stage use, ease of play and ready transportability. He has since acquired several. Dana’s personal model features a coarse-grained Aged Tone Adirondack top, Sinker Mahogany back and sides, Animal Protein Glue and a single, tiny headstock Inlay. ” – From the Bourgeois Website

As we frequently state around here, the fundamental design elements of the pre-war, holy-grail, vintage guitars have been exhaustively researched and documented by this point, effectively making each a classic “grandma’s biscuits” sort of recipe.  And, of course, any steel string acoustic luthier worth his salt is likely to try his hand at baking this recipe at some point, and many end up fixated on refining their interpretation of the recipe.  Dana Bourgeois is no exception; and, as he is considered one of the pioneers of torrefaction as it applies to guitar building, one could assert that he is one of the foremost guitar bakers operating today. 

Yet, as is always the case when it comes to interpreting a recipe, the original is one thing and the variation or interpretation is another.  In our opinion, for instance, it is quite unrealistic to expect any modern guitar to be a complete analogue of a vintage guitar, as this would require replicating the effect of decades of use in addition to replicating the design.  Along that line, to maintain unwavering blind reverence for the old instruments would be to ignore all of the great advances that modern builders have achieved! 

According to the Bourgeois site, the L-DB is Dana Bourgeois’ preferred guitar, given its “power-to-size ratio.“  So, perhaps it is no surprise that he would build this L-DBO Custom Natural 13-Fret as a showpiece for the 2018 Winter NAMM show. (Incidentally, with a current retail price approaching $11,000, this 13-fret L-DBO would certainly qualify as a showpiece guitar, despite its understated appointments!)  

As a synthesis of several Gibson L-bodied models, this 13-fret beauty is an exceptional example of the old informing the new on the road to a fresh new recipe.  L-body models such as this L-DBO 13-Fret are broadly regarded as 00s (though they are proportioned differently than a Martin 00!); and, as such, there is inherent focus and balance in the voicing with abundant and clear mid-range presence.  Yet, the soundboard dimensions are still large enough to generate a pleasing degree of bass and overall warmth in the low end. 

Perhaps the most unusual feature of this L-DBO is the 13-fret neck joint, which is directly inspired by the Nick Lucas Special, one of the most coveted small-bodied vintage Gibsons on the market.  As is true of 12-fret designs, the rear-shifted bridge placement translates to a more efficient transfer of string energy to the soundboard.  Not only does this design enhance a guitar’s responsiveness, but it also instills more bass presence as well as an overall rounder openness in the guitar’s voice. Odd as it may seem, the 13-fret design presents a rare and compelling compromise between the 12 and 14 fret designs, both sonically and in terms of access to the upper registers. Access to upper registers naturally varies in importance from player to player; but, we have often observed that folks who might not otherwise care about venturing into the dusty parts of the fingerboard still get psyched out by the perceived limitations of the 12-fret design.  Well, if that 12-fret body joint freaks you out, rest easy in this case!  From a sonic standpoint, the unique 13-fret bridge placement creates a presence that is more open and round than a 14-fret L-00 while retaining a crispness and definition not found in a 12-fret.   Though they share a 13-fret neck clearance, this L-DBO has a conventional body depth, where the Nick Lucas is unusually deep at more than 4 ½”.  In this case, the L-DBO’s conventional body depth retains a certain immediacy in the note release that is consistent with most small-bodied guitars, where the deeper body would typically create more space behind the attack, or a longer note release—contrary to some claims, a deeper body doesn’t translate to more bass response.  

Finally, the stunning Aged Tone maple back and sides of this L-DBO are likely a nod to a rare vintage L-body Gibson Model, the L-Century, which also featured a white pearloid Bakelite fingerboard and headstock veneer.  Although, we should note that the Nick Lucas Special did eventually feature maple back and sides (this was after the introduction of the L-C), but the model was initially built with mahogany and then rosewood back and sides.  Apart from its beauty, maple is, of course, known for its even response and clarity.  This evenness makes maple an excellent choice for a guitar that has the full Aged Tone treatment, where the torrefaction process is intended to yield the drier voicing and more pure fundamental sustain of older guitars.  Here, the Aged Tone maple has reduced weight but still a great deal of hardness, thereby enhancing its inherently reflective nature.  This enhanced reflective quality is well-suited to drive the Aged Tone Adirondack top to its full potential.  The result is a guitar that is dynamic and powerful with an elusive airy quality behind what is otherwise a very well-composed, pure note response.  With all that said, we all agree that this L-DBO Custom 13-Fret is exactly as advertised: “No frills. Just comfort, presence and versatility.”



This guitar was very well kept by its previous owner and exhibits no signs of play wear.  EXCEPTIONALLY FINE condition

  • 00-13 Fret Body
  • Solid Aged Tone Adirondack Spruce Top
  • Pre-War Scalloped Bracing Pattern
  • Aged Tone Torrefied Bracing
  • Solid Aged Tone Curly Maple Back and Sides
  • Ivoroid Body Binding
  • Ivoroid-Bound Soundhole
  • 2-ply Black/Ivoroid Purfling
  • Extra Vintage Zig Zag Back Strip
  • Single Ring Ivoroid Rosette
  • Natural Gloss Body Finish
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Ivoroid Fingerboard Binding
  • Modified V Neck Carve
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • Abalone Diamonds and Arrows Fingerboard Inlay
  • Ebony Headstock Veneer
  • Mother of Pearl Bourgeois Headstock Logo
  • Abalone Arrow Headstock Inlay
  • Satin Neck Finish
  • Ebony Rectangle (2.2) Bridge
  • Animal Protein Glue Construction
  • Nickel Waverly Tuning Machines with Ivoroid Oval Buttons
  • Bone Nut and Saddle
  • Ivoroid Bridge Pins and Endpin
  • Teardrop Faux Tortoiseshell Pickguard
  • 1 23/32” Nut Width
  • 2 5/16” String Spacing at Bridge
  • 25” Scale Length
  • Original TKL 9000-Series Arched Top Hardshell Case
Model LDBO/13
Serial Number(s) 007961