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1935 Gibson L-5 'Advanced Model'
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Serial #: 92296, white oval label. FON#: 215A-1
Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .92/1.02
Materials: Highly figured solid bookmatched bubble maple back; solid flame maple sides; handcarved bookmatched solid Adirondack spruce top; flame maple neck with walnut centerstripe; quintuple bound body and neck; solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay and pointed finial; solid bone nut.
Hardware: Original hardware includes engraved gold hinged 'L-5' trapeze tailpiece, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge with ebony saddle. Vintage correct aged gold Gotoh 15:1 butterbean tuners, 7 ply bound tortoise pickguard, Kent Armstrong Handwound 2D floating humbucking pickup with Stealth thumbwheel volume and tone controls and No-Drill endpin jack. Original endpin included.
Notes: Making it's debut in 1922, the Gibson L-5 was created by the legendary Lloyd Loar, father of the renowned F-5 mandolin. The L-5 is perhaps his most influential creation, and is widely regarded as the first successful commercially produced archtop guitar. Now in its eighth decade, it remains the most famous jazz guitar of all time.
Introduced as a 16" guitar with 'parallel' bracing, the L-5 was upsized late in 1935 to a 17" body with an X-braced soundboard. With a factory order number of 215A-1, this remarkable guitar is the earliest example of an 'Advanced Model' L-5 we've found, built sometime around the Fall of 1935. With the enlarged 17" body, and X-braced soundboard, the guitar shows features only seen on the earliest examples, including the extra large block inlays starting at the first fret, and small unbound f-holes. The distinctive hinged gold trapeze with the stamped logo is the rarest of all L-5 tailpieces, found only in examples built from '35 through '37.
Built with exceptionally vivid bubble and tiger flame maple, the guitar has premium upgrades including the aged gold 15:1 butterbean tuners (our favorite), the vintage correct 7-ply bound tortoise guard (a Mirabella, we're betting), and the Kent Armstrong 2D floating humbucker, with Stealth thumbwheel controls, and a No-Drill endpin jack.
She's been maintained in wonderful condition, with her original hinged engraved gold trapeze tailpiece, seen only on the first few years of production. Carefully maintained, the instrument shows only light playwear, with some incidental finish nicks, and normal fine checking in the lustrous original Cremona sunburst finish. Some smooth thumbwear is visible on the neck, with a bit of wear at the ends of a few inlays, and few tiny professionally installed shims in its original binding. The neck has a comfortable 'C' profile, on a gently radiused solid ebony fingerboard, with fine pro fretwork and smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup. Of particular note, this very early 17" guitar is one of very few we've seen that retains the generous 1 3/4" nut width of the earlier 16" Gibsons.
With its hand graduated X-braced top, the Advanced Model L-5 is renowned for its bass response and sustain, and many years of careful play have given this soundboard an unusually warm, open voice, with a deep throaty resonance and abundant natural reverb: truly an exceptionally vibrant player. (Note: players unfamiliar with prewar Gibson archtops should note that the tops and backs of Advanced Model guitars were carved with a distinctly flatter arch than later examples, and so can appear to have settled in a bit more over time. This is a feature common to all these magnificent guitars, and is not to be confused with a structural issue in any way.)
A special plus is the state-of-the-art Kent Armstrong floating pickup system, a non-invasive installation conveying the brilliant acoustic tone faithfully to the amp. Finally, the instrument is nestled in its original Gibson deluxe striped tweed 'aircraft cloth' plush lined hardshell case. An outstanding example in every respect, this remarkable guitar stands at the very dawn of the modern jazz guitar. One only, call now.
Setup: 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.
Case: Original Gibson deluxe striped tweed 'aircraft cloth' plush lined hardshell case.
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