Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1897, Nick Lucas was a popular singer and early guitar virtuoso. By his mid twenties he had gained a reputation as a hot player with hit recordings of Picking the Guitar and Teasing the Frets. Soon known as ‘The Crooning Troubadour’, Nick co-starred in the 1929 Warner Brothers musical, Gold Diggers of Broadway, in which he performed the songs Painting The Clouds With Sunshine and Tiptoe Through The Tulips. At the height of his popularity, Warner Bros provided him with his own orchestra, which was billed on his records as ‘The Crooning Troubadours!’
In 1927 Gibson built Nick a signature instrument, the ‘Nick Lucas Special’. The model went through numerous changes between 1928 and 1934.
Nick is pictured above with a 16-inch L-5 with what appears to be a custom matt black finish. Perhaps this was chosen to avoid glare from stage lighting when performing?
Image above courtesey of Paul Fox of Fox Guitars
The Nick Lucas Special pictured below dates from the late 1920s. The top, back and sides are all constructed from Brazilian rosewood! It is signed on the back “To my friend Nick Morro from your friend Nick Lucas.”
Image courtesy of George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars