Gibson / Explorer Reissue / 1976 / Black Finish / Guitar For Sale
THIS IS A VERY MAGICAL & ULTRA RARE 1-OF-A-KIND 1940 GIBSON SUPER 400N MADE FOR MR. WILLIAM F. PEELE JR. IT WAS VERY SPECIAL ORDERED IN GIBSON’S NEW BLONDE FINISH (1ST AVAILABLE IN 1939) IN ITS NON-CUTAWAY VERSION WHICH WAS GIBSON’S TOP LINE 18″ MODEL, WAY ABOVE ITS OLDER SIBLING, THE L-5 MODEL. IT’S VERY HARD TO DESCRIBE THE EXCITEMENT I HAD WHEN PURCHASING THIS ICONIC SUPER 400 FROM ITS LAST CARETAKER FOR THE LAST 10+ YEARS, MR. JOEY MCKENZIE, WHO BOUGHT IT DIRECTLY FROM THE WIFE OF WILLIAM PEELE JR. THE CRAZIEST THING IS THIS BIG BLONDE BOMBSHELL IS 100% ORIGINAL & IN NEAR MINT CONDITION FROM NEW 80 YEARS AGO. ITS FINISH HAS SLIGHT WEATHER CHECKING ALL OVER YET HAS A WONDERFUL SHINY PATINA LIKE NO OTHER GUITAR WE’VE HAD FROM THAT PERIOD IN TIME. ITS ADIRONDACK SPRUCE TOP HAS VERY LITTLE PLAY TIME. ITS BACK & SIDES ARE COVERED IN SOME FABULOUS CURLY MAPLE. ITS GREAT FEELING 3 PIECE NECK IS COVERED IN A WONDERFUL FLAMEY SELECTION OF MAPLE HAVING GIBSON’S SIGNATURE BLACK STINGER THAT HIGHLIGHTS ITS KLUSON SEAL FAST TUNERS W/AMBER CATALIN BUTTONS. ITS ENGRAVED HEEL CAP W/ “SUPER 400” & ITS ENGRAVED VARITONE TAILPIECE FINISH THIS OFF BEAUTIFULLY. SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO WALTER CARTER FOR HIS DETAILED COPIES OF ITS PRODUCTION RECORDS FROM THE ORIGINAL JOURNALS BY GIBSON PROVING IT WAS ORIGINALLY COMPLETED ON 8/20/40 FOR MR. PEELE. WHAT MAKES THIS SO SPECIAL IS THAT IN EARLY 1941, IT WAS RETURNED TO THE GIBSON FACTORY & ITS WILD FINGERBOARD INLAYS & ITS MATCHING 1-OFF WHITE PEARLOID PICKGARD WERE MADE TO HIS PERSONAL SPECS & COMPLETED ON 2/17/41. YOU CAN’T FAKE THIS DOCUMENTATION ! IT’S NOW AVAILABLE FOR ITS NEXT CARETAKER & WILL CERTAINLY BE THE HIGHLIGHT OF ANY GREAT ARCH TOP COLLECTION. ITS TRULY NEAR MINT, UNTOUCHED FROM NEW & COMES W/ITS ORIGINAL GREEN ROPE STRAP IN ITS DELIGHTFULLY PATINATED BROWN LEATHER HARD CASE.
The following excerpt is from March 2017 Vintage Guitar Magazine & written by my friend, George Gruhn:
William Peale, Jr. Gibson Super 400 Sharp-Shooter Special
The iconic “singing cowboy” was created by Hollywood actors like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, and others. Many used fancy, customized guitars, often with their name emblazoned on the fingerboard, and the majority were high-end flat-tops including Martin D-45s and Gibson J-200s.
This 1940 Gibson Super 400N was made for a genuine Texas cowboy and larger-than-life character named William Fulton Peale, Jr.
Born in San Antonio on January 5, 1922, he was first cousin to Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking. His father was successful in the oil business in Texas and left his son financially secure.
As a young man, Peale was a competitive pistol shooter, and at age 40 transitioned to skeet shooting. He adopted an unorthodox stance, holding both elbows straight out from his sides, but still managed to qualify for several Sports Afield All-America teams in the late ’60s. He went on to an effective career in skeet shooting and in ’91 was inducted to the National Skeet Shooting Association Hall of Fame. Contemporaries remembered him as a great storyteller, especially when he reminisced about his early years in competitive shooting.
Peale also enjoyed playing guitar. In early 1940, he ordered a blond Gibson Super 400N from the factory, and serial number 96242 was shipped to him from Kalamazoo on August 20. While the guitar is a beautiful example, Peale decided it needed something extra, so not long after purchasing the guitar, he returned it to Gibson, where it was customized with his name rendered in mother-of-pearl script inlay on the fingerboard, and small stars on the fretboard and its engraved white pickguard. Gibson returned it on February 17, 1941 – a quick turnaround (only six months) for such customization.
With the exception of the fingerboard and pickguard, the Peale Super 400 conforms to specs for the period, with an 18″ archtop body, carved Adirondack spruce top, f-shaped sound holes, figured-maple back and sides with natural finish, engraved Varitone tailpiece, three-piece figured-maple neck with center dark strip, “open-book” peghead with mother-of-pearl script logo and split-diamond inlays, sealed Kluson tuners with amber Catalin buttons, ebony fingerboard, heel cap with “Super 400” engraving, multi-ply binding on the top, f-holes, fretboard, and headstock, gold-plated metal hardware, and other typical appointments.
Peale married late in life, never had children, and lived most of his life in Austin before dying there on January 15, 2008.