The Gibson CF-100E is the electric version of the CF-100 Florentine cutaway acoustic introduced in 1950. First marketed in 1951, a total of 1,257 CF-100Es were shipped between 1951 and 1959 with a peak of 250 instruments in 1952. The model was discontinued in 1959.
Structurally, the CF-100E was a fancier off-shoot of the traditional LG series built with a sharp Florentine cutaway. The main evolution during the 50s was the inception of a 20-fret fingerboard in 1955.
The larger J-160E which uses the same electronics on a non-cutaway jumbo body is better remembered than the fancier CF-100E mostly due to extensive use by The Beatles in the 1960's. Today this very attractive, forward-looking guitar makes perfect sense and we can only wonder why the players of the 1950's failed to warm to its excellent design.
Solid Sitka spruce top
Mahogany back and sides
Round sound hole with single ring rosette
Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets
Pearl trapezoid inlays
Black headstock overlay with pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay
Three-per-side nickel tuners
Rosewood reverse bridge with two pearl dot inlays
White bridge pins
Tortoise nitrocellulose pickguard
14.125” body width
19.5” body length
Single coil pickup mounted between the end of the fingerboard and sound hole
1 x Volume, 1 x Tone control
We love this guitar. It’s a fabulous time capsule from 1954 and presents in excellent condition. It has some pick wear on the lower part of the sound hole, and a fine crack about 2.5” long from the lower end of the pickup to the cutaway. This appears stable and unlikely to have changed in many years. It certainly does not affect the playability or sound of the guitar.
Apart from that it appears to have no other cracks, splits, repairs or modifications at all. It has a little wear showing on the rear below the cutaway, but it’s cosmetic only and … it’s on the back.
The tuner buttons have been replaced as the originals crumbled.
It plays well in all positions, is light and balanced, with a lovely, warm acoustic tonality – perfect for recording that unique vintage Gibson sound.
But the surprise here is the fabulous inbuilt Gibson P-90 pickup. 1954 is early days for a pickup to be incorporated into the design of an acoustic guitar, but there it is. And it works really well – a very useable sound when plugged in. Certainly good enough for Bob Dylan, who used a CF-100E for years, and Jackson Browne (see pic) among many other high profile players.
This guitar was assessed by the grand master of vintage guitars, George Gruhn in 2006. He verifies its specifications, originality and excellent condition, which has not changed since then. The Gruhn certificate is included - see pic.
This vintage original 1954 Gibson CF-100 E is a wonderful example for the player and collector alike. They don’t come around too often, especially in this condition.
And a super bonus – it comes in its original brown Lifton case in excellent shape. Also included is its original leather strap, guitar cord and case keys in a sealed envelope.