Gibson Super 400
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The Gibson Super 400 is an archtop guitar. It is a highly influential guitar model that inspired many other master guitar builders (including Elmer Stromberg and John D'Angelico). It was first sold in 1934 and named for its $400 price, like many Gibson guitars of that era.
|Gibson Super 400|
A Super 400 in Red Wine
|Body type||Solid wood hollowbody/archtop w/parallel top bracing, acoustic/electric guitar|
|Neck joint||Dovetail joint/glued-in, 5-piece|
|Body||Maple sides and back, spruce top|
|Bridge||Gold ABR-1 bridge on floating ebony base; tailpiece is engraved gold-plated nickel|
|Pickup(s)||Optional P90 or humbucker/2015 model standard is a set of "57 Classics"|
The Super 400 features solid carved-wood construction, and at the time of its introduction was the largest guitar that the Gibson Guitar Corporation had produced. Until 1939, it had a hand-engraved tailpiece and a hand-engraved finger rest support. During the very early production stock the truss rod cover had engraved "L5 Super"; on later guitars this was changed to "Super 400".
In 1939 the guitar was changed. The upper bout was enlarged, and the hand-engraved tailpiece was replaced with the one still fitted today on current Super 400s. The f-holes were slightly enlarged and a cutaway option also became available. This was called the Super 400P (for Premiere), later changed to C for Cutaway.
During the 1950s, Gibson released the Super 400 CES (Cutaway•Electric•Spanish). This had a slightly thicker top to reduce feedback, two P-90 pickups, and individual tone and volume controls, along with a three-way toggle switch. Later, the P-90 pickups were replaced with Alnico V pickups, then in 1957, humbucking pickups.
There have been variations in the limited edition custom models. In 2000 Gibson offered the Super 400 with a Charlie Christian pickup. The Super 400 is still available today, with two humbucker pickups. The full acoustic version is no longer available.
- Shaw, Robert; Tamborrino, Michael (2004). Classic Guitars. Pomegranate. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7649-2888-8.
- "Super 400 CES: The faithful recreation of a classic". Gibson.
The Gibson Super 400 - Art of the Fine Guitar. Thomas A Van Hoose. Miller Freeman publications, 1995.
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