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Details about  Vintage 1950 Gibson CF-100 Cutaway Acoustic Guitar

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Vintage 1950 Gibson CF-100 Cutaway Acoustic Guitar
Item Ended
Item condition:
--not specified
Apr 23, 2011
Starting bid:
US $4,000.00
0 bids ]
$100.00 Standard Shipping | See details
Item location:
Philadelphia, United States


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Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.

Item specifics



This is a very rare Gibson CF-100 from 1950, the very first year the CF-100 was made (from 1950-1959) which will appeal to both the collector and player. FON 4121 7. I sent the guitar to the fine folks at Folkway Music in 2005 for some minor work (see below for details), and it is still featured with a nice review and pictures in the Gibson Instrument Gallery on their website if you scroll down near the bottom of the page:




I am a CF-100/CF-100e collector, and this is one of three 1950 CF-100 guitars I have ever seen. This guitar has been my main guitar since 2005 when I bought it.  I doubt you will ever see one for sale again anytime soon, as most are from 1951-59 (some sellers claim to have a 1950 for sale but they are almost all from 1951). There are currently nine vintage CF-100 series guitars on gbase.com to give you a sense of the price range/value of these guitars, one of which is advertised as a 1950 but is not:




The 1950 did not have the distinctive pearl crown inlay on the peghead with pearl script Gibson logo that later models had--the 1950 instead featured the earlier (pre-1951) gold Gibson logo with no crown inlay. The CF-100 had an acoustic-electric counterpart, the CF-100e, which was made from 1951-1959. The CF-100e was the same guitar as the CF-100, but with a single-coil P-90 pickup mounted at end of fingerboard, with gold volume and tone knobs. Both guitars had spruce tops with a distinctive Florentine cutaway, pearl trapezoid inlays in the fingerboard, scalloped top braces in the “X” pattern, mahogany back, sides, and neck. All solid wood. Without the cutaway, the CF-100 and CF-100e is the same size as the LG series guitars. George Gruhn wrote a “Great Acoustics” column for Acoustic Guitar magazine in January 2003 describing the CF-100e as “the first flattop acoustic-electric cutaway on the market.”  The book Gibson’s Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars quotes an ad from the ‘50s saying the CF-100 and CF-100e “is designed particularly for the player who prefers the rich ‘flat-top’ tone but likes to use all the frets.”


Gibson stopped making the CF-100 and CF-100e in 1959 (a total of 1,679 CF-100 guitars and 1,257 CF-100e guitars were made during the ‘50s), then they made 100 more of the limited edition CF-100e reissue in 1994 for their 100th anniversary, and then a handful of CF-100e reissue guitars from 2006-2008. And that was it—no more.  Oddly, the quality of the 1994 guitars was quite poor (incorrect tuners and truss rod cover, for instance), and the ones made in 2006 and from late 2007-2008 were not quite right either (the belly bridge was turned upside down). Gibson also made some fancy flamed maple CF-100e guitars with white P-90 covers and white knobs, but these also had the upside down belly bridge. Only the ones made in early 2007 were close to being a faithful reissue of the original CF-100e, and even then they still weren't perfect (Gibson used a 1 3/4 neck for the reissue instead of the original, slimmer 1 11/16). I don't know why Gibson has never made a reissue of the CF-100 (without the pickup), but maybe the Custom Shop will someday... I've put the 1950 CF-100 next to an early 2007 CF-100e reissue for comparison.


Let’s start at the top. Peghead top is plain black like older Gibsons with the older gold decal Gibson logo that they stopped using by the end of 1950 and switched to the pearl script with a pearl crown inlay from then on. Original Kluson three-in-line plate nickel tuners with original white plastic buttons all in excellent condition. Brazilian rosewood fretboard is in very good condition. Action is set for fingerstyle--comfortable and fairly low, and it doesn’t buzz at all even when you capo it at the 5th fret. The refret they did at Folkway is perfect. Pearl trapezoid inlays in fingerboard like those that would be used in Les Pauls after the introduction of the CF-100. Neck is nice and smooth from lots of use. Back is one solid piece of mahogany with one stable one-inch very fine surface crack (really insignificant). Sides are crack free. The top has a lovely sunburst, though it does have quite a bit of wear that I think actually looks pretty cool. It was like this when I got it and the folks at Folkway suggested not messing with any kind of refinishing. The finish is worn down to the wood in two small areas around the soundhole and there are three stable, cleated cracks about 2-3 inches: two below the pickguard and one running from the soundhole to the bridge. There were cleats there before keeping it stable, but Folkway replaced them with new ones when they also added two small additional braces under the top around the soundhole for added structural strength (to keep the soundhole area from warping—a potential problem with some CF-100 guitars). Rosette around the soundhole has one tiny area where it has separated but it doesn’t pose any problem and is not really noticeable. Tortoise pickguard is secure and in excellent condition with no warping, and the beautiful Brazilian rosewood bridge with antiqued bone saddle (all done by Folkway) looks great. All in all, a very rare and stunning guitar (especially if you don’t care about the wear and think it looks cool) that needs no work, plays perfectly with no issues and sounds fantastic. It has a super sweet, woody Gibson tone with very nice sustain and resonance, and it is surprisingly loud for a small-bodied light guitar.  I would really like to keep it, but I need the money for another guitar. Sale is final. You won’t be disappointed.


I have three cases for the guitar that I will include: one is the original Geib chipboard case that it came in, another is an original 1950s Gibson Lifton brown leather hardshell case in very good condition worth several hundred dollars itself that I bought separately for light use and show (some CF-100 guitars came with these nicer cases), and another is a new double-arch black hardshell case that is best for travel and storage.


Shipping will be UPS Ground with tracking and insurance unless you prefer some other method (three boxes: guitar will be in the new hardshell case in one box and the additional cases in other boxes).  You can be assured you are dealing with a trustworthy seller--check out my feedback and bid with confidence. I reserve the right to cancel bids from people with zero or negative feedback, and to end auction early. Please email me with any questions. Thanks for looking, and good luck bidding!

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