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2003 Gibson L-5 Lee Ritenour Signature

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Serial #: 22313002, Kalamazoo label

Body size at lower bout: 15 1/2" Body depth: 2 5/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16"

Finish: Sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.

Materials: Solid bookmatched handcarved fine grain spruce top; handcarved solid maple back and sides with Venetian cutaway; tiger flame maple neck with walnut centerstripes; solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlays; abalone torch and headstock logo; 5-ply body and neck binding; bound f-holes; solid bone nut.

Hardware: Hardware includes gold Gibson Johnny Smith humbucking pickup; bound marbled 5-ply pickguard with volume and tone controls; adjustable gold fine-tuner finger tailpiece; gold Kluson Sealfast tuners, compensated adjustable ebony bridge with inlaid feet.

Notes: Introduced in 1923, the Gibson L-5 was the first commercially produced archtop guitar. Almost 80 years later, it remains the most renowned archtop guitar of all time. Designed by Lloyd Loar himself, the L-5 was the guitar that D'Angelico copied, and Eddie Lang brought to fame. Since that time, the L-5 has been an icon in the hands of players from Wes Montgomery to studio ace Lee Ritenour, who collaborated with Gibson on this unique design.

In 1958 TV personality George Gobel approached Gibson with a new concept for the venerable L-5: slim the body depth by almost an inch, and reduce the scale to 24 3/4". (And paint it cherry red, which looked just dandy on black and white screens.) Gibson made only 43 George Gobel L-5s until the model was discontinued in 1961, making surviving specimens instant collector's items. Over four decades later, LA recording phenom Ritenour asked Gibson to revive the slimline L-5 with some distinctive touches, including a floating Johnny Smith pickup, fine-tuner tailpiece, full length scale, and compact 15 1/2" lower bout. The result is a contemporary jazz guitar combining warm, singing tone with unprecedented playability.

This immaculate example is in as-new condition, and from the debut model year. It shows outstanding tight fiddleback flame in the bookmatched back, and deep satin rollers in the sides and neck. Neck profile is effortless, and the marbleized Super 400 style pickguard is an elegant touch. Best of all the slimline 15 1/2" body just sits in the lap like a purring cat. Built to please the hand, eye, and ear with equal facility, the Lee Ritenour Signature is an L-5 for the 21st century.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Original black Gibson logo plush hardshell case.






































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