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The Gibson Super 400: Art of the Fine Guitar Paperback – January, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879303441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879303440
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Since 1967, Van Hoose has acquired a vast knowledge and love of Gibson's most expensive guitar. Here, he shares his expertise with other Gibson Super 400 enthusiasts in a wonderfully illustrated and comprehensively detailed work. The history of this trend-setting, 18-inch-wide, arch-top guitar is detailed from its creation in 1934 to the present. Van Hoose's research is based on interviews, photographs, old catalogs, etc. He effectively shows how this vintage instrument established its place as a jazz guitar as well as a respected musical medium for hillbilly groups and Western swing bands. He also includes a discussion of competing models and collector guidelines. Inevitably, every guitar collector/enthusiast and lover of fine jazz guitars will relish this extraordinary book.
- LaDonne Roberts, Mississippi State Univ. Lib., Mississippi State
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tom on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone who picks up this book will immediately recognize that Dr. Van Hoose honestly loves guitars. He also picked one of the most finely crafted guitars as his instrument of choice. In page after page, in sometimes excruciating detail, he labors over the most miniscule differences in these guitars, as they evolved from year to year. Just when you think you've seen enough, there's a photo section on the guitar restoration process (of course, the guitar happens to be a Super 400, but believe it or not, the process would be pretty much the same for a more pedestrian arch top guitar). The reader is treated to plenty of fine color photographs, as well as loads of black and white photos and catalog page reproductions. Also included is a bounteous appendix, with shipping totals and the like, as well as Dr. Van Hoose's own analytical contributions (including his ingenious rarity index, derived from comparing an individual model's production to the entire production for every year of Super 400 production) and opinions regarding the "vintage" guitar market.
In short, this book gives the reader the best and worst faces of modern stringed instrument (banjo and guitar) collecting. On one hand, you have an educated and articulate individual who has an obvious appreciation for finely crafted instruments. To Dr. Van Hoose's credit, he did his homework and clearly wrote the information that he had gathered (unlike some other collector/writers). On the other hand, this book, to some degree, reinforces the popular opinion that acquisition equals expertise.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great picture book of black & white photos, color photos, advertising literature, and even a repair section on a guitar with the most beautiful body shape of all - the Gibson Super 400! So even if you can't afford to own it (or keep it), you can dream about it with these pages! My only complaint is that I wish there were less about the Gibson L5 (it's own chapter?) and more details about the Super 400's plain-jane sister, the Gibson Super 300 - and why the Super 300 almost always seems to have a superior acoustic tone to the ornate Super 400 (?). And over the years since this was printed in 1991, the guys have often discussed their differences with the author over measurements and other specifications on this model over the decades. Some of the differences may be due to the highly individual and hand-made nature of these guitars. It may also be due to the common practice at Gibson to use whatever parts were handy and in-stock at the time. But, if you love the Gibson Super 400 like I do, ya' gotta' have this book!
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Format: Paperback
The 'Super Four' was Gibson's flagship archtop . Ton Van Hoose dovetails this guitar into not only Gibson's history and lineup but also how it fits in the grand scheme of the classic archtop era. The book has great color photos and shows excellent detail even down to the various cases used by Gibson during this guitar's production life. This book is a must have for any archtop fan, collector or player.
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