The 1933 Gibson Nick Lucas Special

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The Nick Lucas Special is one of the ‘holy grail’ Gibson guitars. And the guitar shown here is known as the ‘holy grail’ of Nick Lucas models. Previous Nicks with this body shape had 12 or 13 frets to the neck join and most bodies were made of mahogany. They often came with a floating scratch plate and a trapeze tailpiece, like an arch top. 

This model came from the factory with a 14-fret neck join, a pin bridge and the scratch plate glued to the top of the guitar. It’s a thoroughly modern guitar and, following the lead set by the Martin OM, one of the first guitars made to those specifications. It also has a body made of Brazilian rosewood and the top is Adirondack spruce.  Soon the body wood was changed to maple, making the rosewood models rare.

This model was not even on the radar until George Gruhn discovered one at a Skinner’s auction in 2002 and wrote about it for Guitar Player Magazine.

Since then, as far as I can work out from afar, only six examples of this variation of the model have turned up, four through George Gruhn, one through Eric Schoenberg’s shop and this one. Also Eric remembers seeing another in very poor condition some 20 or 30 years ago.  That would make seven a very lucky number indeed.