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1935 Gibson L-5
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Serial #: 92033, white oval label. FON#: 1498
Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4"
Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid Adirondack spruce top; solid bookmatched tiger flame maple back and sides; solid three piece maple neck with walnut centerstripe; solid ebony fingerboard; mother of pearl script peghead logo and fingerboard inlay, abalone flowerpot peghead inlay; triple bound fingerboard, body, peghead and pickguard.
Hardware: Original hardware includes gold trapeze tailpiece, compensated adjustable ebony bridge, adjustable truss rod. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard; aged gold Sta-Tite style 16:1 butterbean tuners.
Notes: Making it's debut in 1923, the Gibson L-5 was created by the legendary Lloyd Loar, father of the renowned F-5 mandolin. One of the most influential instrument designers of the 20th century, Loar pioneered a number of key innovations, including very early work on the electric guitar. The Gibson L-5 is perhaps his most influential creation, and is widely regarded as the first successful commercially produced archtop guitar. For almost a century, the Gibson L-5 has remained the most celebrated jazz guitar ever produced.
1935 was the last full year for the classic 16" body, as the larger "Advanced Model" made its debut that same year. One of the very last of the Loar design models, this remarkable guitar shows a combination of transitional features that is unique in our experience. The first fret inlay is a rare feature, and the 20's style pointed fingerboard finial is also uncommon in these late guitars. The tone bar braces are solid, in the 20's style as well, not kerfed as in some later models. But what's really distinctive are the soundholes: perhaps anticipating the new design, Gibson fitted this instrument with the larger, more curvilinear F-holes of their new 17" models. If there's another one like it, we'd love to see it.
As befits an instrument from the top of the Gibson catalog, this handsome guitar is graced with deeply figured tiger maple in the back, neck, and sides, with a soundboard hand graduated of quartersawn Adirondack spruce. At barely 5lb, the instrument is astoundingly light in weight, a clue to its exceptional depth and projection. With the vibrant voice of a true bandstand veteran, the guitar is clear and open, with rich, resonant bass and sparkling highs, and brilliant natural reverb in the upper register. The neck profile is a moderate V, comfy in the palm, with smooth, low action over fine pro fretwork, and the fingerboard is a generous 1 3/4" at the nut, a favorite of jazz and fingerstyle players. Smooth, accurate 16:1 tuners in vintage gold are installed, and the compensated ebony bridge is strobe tuned for precise intonation.
The deep original Cremona sunburst finish is in fine shape, with surprisingly little pickwear: some spot touchup has been added over the years, and a patch of thumbwear to the neck is now smoothly sealed under a bit of clear lacquer. A short grainline crack at the treble f-hole has been solidly cleated long ago, and a bit of the centerseam under the tailpiece soundly resealed. A bit of wear is visible on the edge of the first fret inlay, and an old jack hole has been smoothly filled and retouched on the side near the tailpiece. Even the original Gibson arched hardshell case still provides good protection to the instrument.
The voice is simply brilliant: clear and sparkling, with pronounced natural reverb in the upper register, and open resonant bass, with power and projection far exceeding its amiable size. Rare as they come, and an outstanding player to boot, this remarkable guitar is no wall-hanger: she's ready for the stage or studio with a fresh high-precision setup. This important guitar is also featured on the authoritative Prewar L-5 website here as well. A unique example of the world's first and most renowned jazz guitar. One only: call now.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as necessary; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" 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 Gibson deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.