According to Premier Guitar, this Gibson was a gift from his half-brother, Jim. He acquired it from noted guitarist, Les Paul. The following is an excerpt from PG:
“When (Jim) saw how much I liked it, he surprised me by giving it to me,” wrote Chet in his memoir, Me and My Guitars. “Riding back to Knoxville on the train, I was so happy I didn’t know what to do. Every little while I would open the case just to look at that guitar. I loved the way it looked and the way it smelled.”
As he would with nearly every guitar he’d own, Chet modified this instrument, installing a Vibrola tailpiece and a floating DeArmond pickup. The former gave him the tremulous vibrato effect that earned him the “talking guitar” tagline, and the latter gave him the volume and nuanced control he’d been looking for. Chet’s first serious radio work and his earliest recordings were made on the L-10.
Sadly, the promising career of this young guitar was cut short when Chet, standing on a chair to reach a radio microphone that nobody could be bothered to lower, slipped and fell. He did a chest-plant on the guitar, severely damaging the body. It was repaired but never the same, Chet said.