Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips


1937 Gibson L-5

Price and Status: For pricing and hold status of this instrument, please check here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold. To be notified of examples of this or any other model in the future, please email your specific requests to [email protected].

Serial #: 94989, white oval label. FON: 54(8)C-3

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 21/32" Neck depth: 1st/10th frets: .87/.96

Materials: Highly figured solid bookmatched maple back and sides; handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; three piece flame maple neck with walnut centerstripe; quintuple bound solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay and pointed finial; quintuple bound peghead and body; solid bone nut.

Hardware: Original hardware includes engraved L-5 trapeze tailpiece, five ply bound tortoise pickguard, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge. Gold Kluson Sealfast tuners with single ring tulip keys.

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 approaching its centennial, it remains the most famous jazz guitar of all time.

In mid-1935, Gibson announced its 'Advanced Model' L-5, upsizing its body to 17 inches. The following several years show the greatest variety of features in the model's history, as the firm experimented with both X and parallel bracing, long and short scale necks, and soundholes both large and small, bound and unbound.

On this fine example, the parallel braced soundboard has the wide grain characteristic of Adirondack spruce, which along with the long scale neck combines to produce an acoustic voice of exceptional power and clarity. The body and neck are crafted of dramatic deep bubble (or blister) maple, now among the rarest of fine tonewoods.

This intriguing guitar is fitted with the short lived hinged trapeze tailpiece, engraved with the model name, seen only through this model year. The original multi-bound tortoise pickguard is in excellent shape, with a tiny round patch where a volume control must have reposed. The gold Kluson Sealfast tuners are fitted with single ring tulip pegs, indicating a postwar vintage. Above each f-hole a grainline crack has been soundly cleated and resealed, along with another at the bottom edge of the treble soundhole. All the multi-ply binding is solid and tight to the body, and the original bone nut is smoothly polished.

The subtly shaded sunburst finish is all original, with an added dusting of light clear lacquer to the top alone. The neck has smooth low action over the solid ebony fingerboard, with fine recent fretwork and a fresh high precision setup over the gentle C profile neck, neither clubby nor veed. The voice is exceptionally vibrant, with remarkable clarity, balance and cutting power, and the deep open resonance of an instrument that has been lovingly played-in over many decades. Finally, the instrument is nestled in its original G&G striped aircraft tweed plush lined hard shell case, Gibson's most desirable prewar case.

A thunderous player, with smooth modern playability. Leave the amp in the car, and 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. Action is set to 4-5/64" at the 12th fret, with medium gauge bronze strings.




















































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips