The guitar pictured here is a Gibson Special Number 7. Only available in 1941, the model was not included in any catalogue but was featured in a mailer (see the image of this, below the guitar photos) that was sent out to Gibson dealers.
It had a 17-inch L-7 size body but was significantly less expensive than that model when new (dealer net price was $38.50). During this period, Gibson used up leftover headstock veneers, as supplies were short at the start of World War II. A variety of different headstock and fingerboard inlays can be found on this model – the example pictured here is a Bella Voce banjo style headstock veneer.
The guitar above belongs to guitarist Arlen Roth (Arlen has played and recorded with Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ry Cooder and a host of other name artists). He tells us that the guitar was previously owned by radio personality, Frank Keller.
This was a mailer sent out to Gibson dealers that offers the Gibson Special No 7 at a great rate. Image courtesy of Paul Fox
Special No 7
Another example of the Special No 7. Note the different headstock and fingerboard inlays – Gibson obviously introduced the model as an opportunity to use up its stock of existing parts.
Images courtesy of Philip Rowens