Gibson Robert Johnson L-1




Vintage Sunburst


Solid Sitka Spruce





13 thoughts on “Gibson Robert Johnson L-1”

  1. Hey, I don’t think Johnson would have posed with a prop anyway. And all these guys had a lot of bad habits; drinkin’, gamblin’, women. He could have won that in a poker game. Lightnin’ Hopkins was constantly hocking his guitars to gamble, and the pawn shop was always a good place to pick up a good deal on a guitar when you were flush. I can think of only one blues man who appears to have played the exact same guitar practically his whole life and that’s John Hurt. Everybody else went through guitars like they did women. Actually, I think John Hurt spent his whole life at home with one woman and one guitar. But Johnson was definitely not in that mold.

  2. The L1 that Robert is holding in the famous photo was probably a prop of the photo studio. There is no oral evidence anywhere that he owned the L1. It would have been way out of his price range. Which makes the Gibson Robert Johnson guitar doubly ironic!

    1. Alexander Briones

      That’s an interesting take on his iconic photo with the Gibson L1. Still, the keyword here is “probably”. In my opinion, it is more probable that it is what it is, a bluesman who is photographed with his instrument, like many other bluesmen who loves their guitar.

      1. Yes, It’s pretty well established by interviews with Shine and others that Robert Johnson played and recorded on the Kalamazoo K-18

    2. Eh. The L-1’s list price in 1926 was $50. That’s about $745 in today’s money, which wouldn’t buy even the cheapest Gibson in current production. Pretty doable for someone even just north of homeless. Also, if it was a studio prop, wouldn’t we see it in other images from that studio during that era?

      1. Yes, you are spot on! Furthermore, there are a few other photos of Robert with the same guitar that I saw in a blues documentary years ago.

    3. I would rather think in his case that the so called prop L-1 must be his . He is after all the Muso , and why would a photographic studio own a guitar that was to expensive for him but good to be be used as just a so called prop?

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