Priced at $200, the L-12 effectively filled the gap between the L-5 ($275) and L-10 ($175). Like the L-10, it had a spruce top, maple back and sides, a mahogany neck, a rosewood fingerboard and single-ply binding. Details included elaborate fingerboard and headstock inlays, a sunburst top and gold-plated hardware.
Though the L-12 was mentioned in a Gibson dealer price list dated 15th September 1932 (Joe Spann adds, “My compiled serial number list confirms that L-12’s were shipping by November of 1932”), it didn’t make a catalogue appearance until 1934 when it was pictured in the first version of catalog W. It can also be found in the second version of catalog W, which was issued the following year (though both versions of catalog W have an identical outside appearance they differ on pages 37 to 39).
Along with the L-5, L-10 and L-7, the L-12 was re-launched with Gibson’s new 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body size in 1935. In catalog X (1936) the L-12 is described as having a ‘selected northern maple rim and neck: rosewood fingerboard.’
Gibson L-12 Serial Number 90778 shipped 1934
Shipped in 1934, L-12 serial number 90778 has its original case. The tuners and the pickguard have been replaced and a DeArmond floating pickup has been installed. “The guitar was in the collection of Harry West,” says current owner James Gossage. “It had not been played for over 30 years but I use it often here in New Zealand.”
Images above courtesy of James Gossage
Gibson L-12 Serial Number 91202 shipped 1934
Photos above courtesy of George Gruhn and Eric C Newell of Gruhn Guitars
Gibson L-12 Serial Number 90665, shipped in 1934
Images above courtesy of Joe Vinikow
1936 Gibson L-12 Serial Number 92754
Shipped in 1936, the L-12 pictured below features an Advanced 17-inch body width and an X-braced top. The back and sides are quilted maple and the headstock has open back Grover tuners. The pickguard and bridge are replicas.
Images above courtesy of George Gruhn and Eric C Newell of Gruhn Guitars