If the character and vibe doesn't immediately pull you in, then the tone certainly will with this unreal sounding 1944 Gibson LG-2.
This wartime gem likely began its production early on in 1944 based on the faintly visible FON (we're reading '2322-8', but those numbers could slightly vary), but more importantly via some distinct features that make this Kalamazoo darlings so sought after.
First, the "Banner" headstock is perhaps the most notable of all Gibsons that grace the legendary headstock silkscreen, found primarily between 1942-1945. Second, the Maple "V" rod took the place of the traditional steel truss rods used up until 1942, when military demands restricted guitar manufacturers' access to metals during World War II. The hardness of the Maple rod provided rigidity, along with a substantial Mahogany neck that is famous for having one of the largest profiles of any flattop Gibson guitar in the 20th Century. Lastly, we're welcomed with a lovely Adirondack Spruce top and small "teardrop" pickguard, as well as all-Mahogany body and neck supports by way of the neck block and kerfing.
Why We Love This
Let's touch on that character and vibe thing, shall we?!
We're suckers for guitars with a history, and nothing tells a story more than a guitar that adorns the name of a prior owner engraved into its top! By all accounts, one Wanda Jean Robertson owned this guitar from an early age, and some light detective work revealed a potential woman by that name was quite fond of her guitar and playing it through her youth and adulthood in the California area sometime in the 1950s. The crude but charming script extends from the lower bout treble side across towards the bridge, undoubtedly showcasing itself in the perfect performing orientation either seated or standing with a strap. Rest assured, this grand signature did not impact the structural integrity of the top.
The guitar has its share of battle scars and was certainly played a lot, which we love to see! Good news is that outside of an old input jack hole added into the side along with a couple of small but stable side fissures and an ancient bridge reglue, it remains a very stable 79 year old guitar. It recently received a fantastic refret courtesy of Laurent Brondel, who also fashioned a new nut and saddle for the guitar, dramatically improving the guitar's sustain, intonation, and playability.
The term "baby J-45" often gets thrown around with some of the better examples of these guitars, and we find it to be rather true with this one. Its tone is punchy and clear, with an impressive amount of volume for a small bodied guitar. It excels at old-time blues and folk, and serves as a wonderful songwriter's guitar as well. It handles both fingers and a flatpick with ease.
The original open-back tuners do function, but the buttons showed some moderate to heavy degradation that we thought best to preserve in the case. Modern repros have been installed without modification that work great and look the part.
What more can be said, really? This is an exceptional sounding "Banner Era" LG-2 with desirable features and an unmistakable amount of mojo that will continue to steal the show for years to come.
Priced with aftermarket hardshell case.