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 Gibson L-5C

Elegant Beauty

Click on pictures below

Notes: Shortly after the debut of the first L-5 in 1923, it became one of Gibsons's all-time great guitars and a milestone in the evolution of archtop guitars. It took until 1939 when the L-5 was introduced with a cutaway as the L-5Premiere. It was immediately accepted by professional musicians and the sales went up rapidly. These pre-war L-5P are - next to the Lloyd Loar 16" - the most valuable L-5 models.

Materials: 17" solid Spruce top with parallel bracing, back and sides made of solid flamed Maple, flamed Maple neck with 1 11/16th nut width, ebony fingerboard with block inlays of mother of pearl, 14/20 frets, black headstock with Gibson logo and flower motif Mother of pearl, binding 7-ply on the body, 5-ply on neck, headstock and pickguard, single ply f-holes, bone nut, compensated rosewood bridge.

Hardware: Original Kluson Seal Fast tuners, Johnny Smith pickup, volume control on the pickguard / original 1/8" mini input jack underneath, L-5 tailpiece with silver insert.

Facts: As a special feature this L-5C has the more desired 1 11/16th nut width, at a time when Gibson was making ultra-skinny necks. This may be the reason for a "Custom" labeled truss rod cover. She is equipped with a Johnny Smith pickup, which reproduces her acoustic sound faithfully. The serial number 80XXXX on the orange label dates it to 1969 and it is one of 70 pieces of this vintage.

Condition: Considering the age, the guitar is in excellent +++ condition. Maybe impossible to find a cleaner one. She has been played a lot and therefore a refret was necessary. This work was done very professional and now the guitar is ready for the next 50 years to be played. All the frets are smooth and polished. The reddish sunburst color is well preserved and it almost looks like a tangerine burst. There is some typical nitro lacquer crazing. The original celluloid nitrate pickguard had to be replaced because it deteriorated (as they all do sooner or later). Everything else is original including tuners, bridge, finish, tailpiece, etc.

Playability: Thanks to the excellent refret job it feels so great to play her. A real pleasure ... The action is low, the neck straight as an arrow. The C profile and the 1 11/16th nut width guarantee easy playing.

Tone: The L-5C has pure crystal clear tones across the entire fretboard. Yet, her big volume always sounds transparent. It has the perfect tone for any kind of jazz. A sound which only a guitar that was played over many years can produce.

Case: With original black Gibson case with yellow plush.

Setup: The guitar is currently strung with round wound strings (.012 - .054). The guitar has been thoroughly checked and cleaned.

To Summarize: Finding a Gibson L-5C from an exceptionally good era of production is certainly no easy task. They just don’t turn up for sale especially if they are in perfect condition just as this one here. She is one of only 286 built during the decade 1960 to 1969. That’s probably why they are so rarely offered for sale. Or is it perhaps because of its elegant simplicity and beauty ?

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