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1945 Gibson L-5
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Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25.4" Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Finish: Blonde, nitrocellulose type
Materials: Highly figured solid bookmatched bubble birdseye maple back and sides; handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; 3 piece flame maple neck with walnut centerstripe; quintuple bound solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay and pointed finial; quintuple bound peghead and body with bound f-holes; solid bone nut.
Hardware: Original hardware includes gold Kluson Sealfast tuners with single ring tulip buttons; original compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge, original engraved deco L-5 tailpiece; original gold pickguard support bracket. "McCarty" floating single coil fingerrest pickup assembly.
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.
One of the few L-5 models built in this last wartime year, this stunning instrument bears the classic fat-script peghead logo of the 30's, and is constructed of particularly intense bubble (or blister) maple in the back and sides, a rare and dramatic variant of birdseye. The original hardware includes engraved gold deco style tailpiece with "Varitone" angle adjuster, original Kluson Sealfast tuners with single ring tulip buttons and the compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge.
Most remarkably, the instrument is fitted with an authentic Gibson floating single coil fingerrest pickup assembly, with volume and tone controls and a standard 1/4" guitar jack mounted under the guard. Nicknamed by collectors after Ted McCarty, father of the humbucking pickup, the fingerrest unit could be equipped at the factory, or fitted to an acoustic instrument as an aftermarket part. Made popular in the 50's by artists like Grant Green, the McCarty guard used a specially designed shallow depth version of Gibson's legendary P-90 single coil pickup, renowned for its clear, open and responsive tone.
The instrument has been very well cared for, with its handsome blonde nitrocellulose finish immaculately replaced some years ago. The instrument is free of pick, buckle or fingerboard wear, and shows just a small patch of thumbwear on the back of the neck. A short centerseam separation has been soundly resealed on the back at the endblock, and a pair of strap button holes filled on the neck, along with a pair of tiny screw holes near the treble soundhole. The binding is all tight and in great shape, and the frets are high and immaculate on the solid ebony fingerboard. The action is low and fast, and the gentle C neck profile is utterly contemporary, without the clubbiness of some examples of the era.
The acoustic voice is open, focused and rich, with the warmth and projection the full-bodied L-5 is celebrated for. Plugged in, the floating P-90 is a model of clarity, faithfully expanding the nuances of the soundboard, and rolling off with the fingertip tone control to pure melted butter. Just 38 blonde L-5s were built in 1948, and 36 in 1941, the closest years where production figures exist, and there's reason to believe that production in '45 would have been smaller still, making this a rare bird indeed, as well as an exceptionally attractive one. Unplugged or fully wired, this is one blonde having lots more fun indeed.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as required; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation strobe tuned; 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 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: Gibson brown Lifton pink plush hardshell case.