Hello folks,

I'm restoring a mid 30s L-00 and the top is in very bad shape, but salvageable.  I've removed the top and plan to remove the braces and reglue them but it is not possible to tell what the original top radius may have been.  I'd love some input on where this information may be found or some informed ideas on 30s Gibson top radii.  Thanks!

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Is this the Guitar you are talking about??????????? Bill....


Bill, do you mean that exact guitar?  No.  I am looking for information about top radii for a  33/34 Gibson L-00.  Cream plastic binding w/o purfling, rectangular bridge, probably a firestripe guard, black or sunburst so far as I know (the guitar was stripped of finish.)

The top I need to repair is badly damaged as are many of the braces.  IThe top is cleanly removed, but I am not able to determine what the original radius may have been.

Well I am shure this Guitar is what you are working on .I done this Guitar over for a coustomer last year and that is what he told me it was. It was in the same shape as the one that you are working on when I got it.

The plate I carved for it was 3/16th's  in the position of the bridge. So if you take the width in the centre and make the radius 3/16th's deeper in the centre that should give you the right Radius Bill......... 

Robert if I am working on a Guitar the way you are and dont know what the Radius is I will just lay a piece of wood that is the same thicknes as the O.R top plus the thicknes of the bridge and lay a strait eadge on the fret board to see how much the top has to come up to be the right hite  and that is the Radius you have to make your bracing. BBUT you would have first had to have mesured the leagth of the top of the guitar before you took it apart and put a spreader in there to hold it a that position other wise the neck may have changed position. Bill............

Wow Bill...Did you refinish this guitar? If so I'd love to know exactly what you used so I could try to replicate it some time. Also, got any more pics of it?

I just used a little red brown to shade  it in.Bill. here are the back and sides


I am having trobel getting the pictures on I did put yellow with a we bit of red in the mix first sorry.


I have one here in the shop I could measure for you.  Problem is, I'm not sure how to take such a measurement.  Perhaps measuring the width at the waist, then measuring the drop from the bottom of a straightedge at the binding?

Did they actually build these with a top radius?  I was under the impression that they built them flat and that any radius we see today is a result of string pressure/time.

Gibsons from that era had a top radius just slightly shallower than that of the fingerboard. ;)

I don't have any numbers on hand, but they were steep. If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say somewhere around the 20' range. 

My experience with L-O and L-OO top replacements has been similar to Davids regarding the radius. They were built with a nice crown, possibly to add strength since the braces on these are very thin, and if built flat would fail under tension. I have the top from the L-O I did last year so here's a couple of pics. The two brace shots are the tonebars and you can really see the curve in them. The braces are at the most 1/4" wide throughout.

This is very helpful.  I'll add some pictures soon of my project, which is a basket case but a sentimental one, so it is going to get the repairs needed to make it structurally sound and playable.  

I've read that in the 33/34 time frame Gibson may have gone from true flat tops to radiused on the L-00s.  Also, on the UMGF someone commented that Ren Furgeson had researched this issue and found that the domes generally measured at about 28', flatter than suggested here.  However, I agree with those who have said that the radii tended to be pronounced as that is what I recall from some other L-00s of this era that have been in my shop.

I'll keep y'all posted as things progress.


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