In the years since Orville Gibson constructed the first archtop, the Gibson Company has produced a number of historically significant instruments, two of the most important being the 1923 L-5 and the 1934 Super 400 archtop guitars. Unlike the other guitars in the Blue Collection, the Gibson Super 400 Custom was created by a team of specialized luthiers whose combined experience building Gibson guitars totaled more than 160 years.
Led by Gibson’s Historic Collection senior design engineer, Jim “Hutch” Hutchins, the team along with their areas of responsibility were Dick Ickes, rough top carving and layup of the back and top; Phil Ashworth, top graduation and layout of bracing; Felix Wallace, rabbeting and body binding; Butch Wallce, rabbeting and body binding; Todd Harrison, fleur-de-lis inlay; Gary Winsett, fingerboard binding; Kareem Haddad, final assembly; Mickey McGuire, spraying; Wanda Johnson, binding; and Tim Evans, buffing. The fingerboard and peghead inlays were done by Rockford Carving.
The Super 400 Custom was constructed with a spruce top, and flamed maple back, sides, and neck. Seven ply binding is employed throughout the guitar as well as on the tortoise pickguard which also features abalone fleur-de-lis inlays. The fingerboard is crafted with ebony and abalone was substituted for mother-of-pearl for all of the inlays on the fingerboard and peghead. The gold plated tailpiece incorporates rosewood inserts as well as an abalone fleur-de-lis inlay and features Chinery’s initials; SRC on the heel cap. The headstock reveals a gorgeous rosewood veneer and comes with gold plated Grover tuners with pearloid tuning buttons.