John Gilbert (1922-2013) is remembered as having been one of the more successful and popular of the "innovative" makers of the past 40 years. His instruments were played by an entire generation of guitarists that included the likes of David Russell, Raphaella Smits, David Tanenbaum, Marc Teicholz, David Leisner, Fred Hand and many others. Gilbert's approach to guitar making was largely influenced by his engineering background (he had been a machinist for Hewlett-Packard) which not only meant that his craftsmanship was extremely precise but that he also had innovative ideas with respect to sound production - he had a special system taking into account the dimensions, weight and stiffness of materials, that was very controlled and exacting. This is a relatively early guitar (#23) that he curiously calls his "Small neck model" on the label even though the nut width is standard and the scale length is a bit larger (654 mm) than that of today at 650 mm. Perhaps this is more a reference to the long-scale guitars that dominated at this period - Rodriguez, Ramirez, Oribe, etc. where their standard necks boasted the larger 54 mm at the nut and 664 mm scale length. In any case it has the typical, classic Gilbert tone which fulfilled his aim to build guitars that had a "neutral" response, allowing the artistry of the player to reign supreme in determining the color, and dynamic possibilities of each performance. These instruments rarely appear on the market so this is a great opportunity to own a great example from a legendary US maker.