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1939 Gibson HG-00 Conversion

The FON number dates this exceptionally clean HG-00 to 1939. The “Made in the USA” stamp below it indicates an export model, and Gibson records confirm this guitar was sold new through a shop in Toronto, Canada with a Geib Challenge case.

The HG-00 is essentially an L-00 with a wider, fuller 12 fret neck and 1 7/8″ nut width. It makes for an excellent finger style guitar that resembles a small body Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe. The added neck mass and bridge position over the lower bout provide plenty of thump for this body size. Talk about that woody Gibson sound!

During our recent video session, roots musician Frank Corso gravitated toward this guitar. The wide nut suits his fingerstyle play and the setup with 4/3 action at the octave is just right for bottleneck licks without bottoming out. Watch Frank’s videos from the Youtube links on the left and you’ll hear the haunting tone he gets from this outstanding blues guitar, with plenty of power in the bass register and sustaining slide licks.

At the time this guitar was built, Hawaiian music was still in vogue and this guitar had a tall bone nut for lap slide play. That original nut is now in the case pocket and our luthier David Hatchard has set the guitar up for standard Spanish play. His work involved fitting an aged bone nut of proper height, re shaping and intonating the original bone saddle to insure a proper set up. The original bridge was just too gorgeous to modify. You’ll notice that the bridge bolts (covered by the pearl dots) are in a slightly different place on a Hawaiian Gibson. David was able to bring the intonation within tolerance without harming the originality. The frets have hardly been touched and the back of the neck is very clean as well, all because of its original Hawaiian heritage.

The patent pending engraved Kluson tuners feature the original 6 amber buttons (like the ones seen on the same period J35s) and the guitar is bound top and back. Pretty high style, and additionally this Hawaiian is unique in that it has a fully functional adjustable truss rod. The guitar is completely original down to the bridge pins. Internal bracing is tight and the original bridge plate is in excellent condition. We see evidence of some minor past repairs: a small bump on the edge of the lower bout top and a few minor backside hairlines but all are difficult to detect.

With a well-fitting hardshell case.

Please watch all the cool videos!

  • Year: 1939
  • Manufacturer: Gibson
  • Model: HG-00
  • Case: Proper fitting TKL redline hard case (not pictured)
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Condition: Excellent