Gibson 1937 Super 400

1937 Super 400

This Super 400 has some very interesting history behind it. I purchased it from a gentleman in Los Angeles, CA, who had several years earlier, bought it from a gentleman in Santa Cruz, CA. Supposedly, this instrument had been kept under a bed for 30-40 years, thus the reason why it is such good shape.

According to Mr. Spann, there is a bit more history about this instrument's beginning.


This Super 400 'was originally taken out as a salesman's sample by Gibson salesman Lanky Neal on 21 January 1938. It did not sell and was returned to the factory. On 18 April 1938 it was shipped to J. Pariso on "dealer exchange". The guitar still did not sell and was returned to the factory a second time. Finally, on 18 August 1943 it was shipped to Robbie & Sons in a second-hand #400 case. There is no mention of it in the Gibson shipping ledgers after that point in time.'

1938 Catalog Z ad for new Super 400. Note the ad uses the smaller, 1st model Super 400.
1937 & 1935 Super 400. Note the 'split diamond' inlays in the headstock. Gibson has only added this special inlay to the Super 400, ES355, Les Paul Custom, and Johnny Smith models up to present-day.
1939 'Gibson System For Guitar' Note the 'Blonde' Super 400 in the back row which made it's debut in 1939.
1938 Catalog Z
1937 Gibson Super 400 headstock. Truss rod cover replaced with same year L5 truss rod cover.
1938 Catalog Z
Grover Imperial Tuners, first marketed in 1938, but came with this late-1937 model Super 400.
1938 ad for Grover Imperial Tuners. Note 'Patent Applied For' on base of photo.
'Pat. Appl'd For' engraved on base of Grover Imperial Tuners 1938-1948/'49.
1938 Catalog Z
1937 model (left pic) increased upper bout from 12 3/4" to 13 5/8" and the f-holes are larger than the 1934-1936 model.
20 frets and standard 3-ply fingerboard binding for the period. Not the floating DeArmond pickup.
1935 Super 400 back-to-back with '37 Super. Note the '35 model's smaller 12 3/4" upper bout gently curves compared to the '37's 13 5/8" bout.
1939 Gibson Catalog AA.
Heel cap of 1934-1939 model are stamped with 'Super 400'. This one is very faint, but visible.
1938 Catalog Z. Explanation of adjustable truss rod.
1938 Catalog Z. Explanation of adjustable truss rod.
Scale length of '35 model (right pic) is 24 3/4" which changes in 1937 to present 25 1/2" ('37 model lft). Scale length is measured from nut to center of the bridge.
Scale change of 24 3/4" to 25 1/2" can be seen by comparing the nuts at the top of the fingerboard in this photo.
Note this '35 model has two slight arches carved on its top. The center appears to be sagging slightly under the bridge. Only the '34-'36 model has this carved top.
Serial #95098 stamped under bass f-hole. 9400-9500 = 1938, but Fon is 545C, thus indicating actual manufacture on rack was in the end of 1937. This would explain why this '37 model has new '38 Grover Imperial Tuners.
FON 545-C stamped under treble f-hole inside body.
GI playing a late '30's Super 400. December 1944.
Comparison of the backs of Gibson's first two Super 400 models. '34-'36 1st model and '37-'39 2nd model.