The Gibson Le Grande is a direct descendent of the earlier 1960's Gibson Johnny Smith model guitar. However the Le Grande has a 25 1/2" scale length, as opposed to the J. Smith at 25" scale. Also the width of the neck is 1/16th" narrower, or 1 11/16" wide. This is the top of the line Gibson carved top and back archtop jazz guitar, and it is beautiful in design with stunning wood and appointments. It was made in Gibson's custom shop and was built by master luthier, James W. Hutchins, who spent most of 40 + years at Gibson in the carved archtop department. Indeed, if you peer through the treble F-hole, a second label is present that is signed by Mr. Hutchins and dated, August 18, 2005.
This Le Grande arrived in my shop on November 17, 2005. I had custom ordered the guitar ten months earlier for one of my customers, who has now consigned it to my shop. I now have the privilege of selling it for a second time. The guitar is still in like new condition, and has no scratches, dings, lacquer checks, or any other cosmetic issues that I can find. There is no fret wear, the neck is straight, the action is low, and every part functions like the day I first took it out of its case over 15+ years ago.
This model has a single gold-plated humbucking pickup attached to the pickguard that floats above the unobstructed top below the fingerboard. A volume control is on the lower treble corner of its elevated tortoise shell celluloid pickguard. There are gold plated parts including Gibson logo sealed back tuners with gold tulip shaped buttons, floating humbucking pickup, adjustable tune-o-matic bridge top (on an ebony base), and an Oettinger "six-finger adjustable tailpiece. The back and sides are highly figured famed maple, and so are 3 of the 5 sections comprising the back of the maple neck. The 3 flamed maple sections of the neck are separated by two ebony vertical stripes. The ebony fingerboard has inlays in 8 positions. Each of these inlays is of 3 parts, having twin facing triangles of mother of pearl facing a central trapezoid of paua shell abalone, separated by diagonal ebony lines. Additional inlays adorn the front and back of the headstock, and the wings of the ebony bridge base. Finally, included in the package is a Black Gibson Custom Shop hard shell case.