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1950 Gibson L-5N
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Serial #: A-5634
Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .89/.98
Materials: Solid bookmatched flame maple back, neck and sides; solid graduated bookmatched spruce top; quintuple bound solid dark 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: Gold Kluson Sealfast tuners with tulip keys, engraved deco L-5 tailpiece, compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge. Vintage correct quintuple bound brown tortoise pickguard.
Notes: Making its debut in 1922, the Gibson L-5 was created by the legendary Lloyd Loar, also father of the renowned Gibson F-5 mandolin. The L-5 is perhaps his most influential creation, and widely regarded as the first successful commercially produced archtop guitar. Now approacing its centenary, the Gibson L-5 remains the most famous and widely imitated jazz guitar of all time.
A spectacular blonde instrument, this stunning guitar is one of just 4 examples of the L-5N built in its model year, and has been carefully maintained since it left the factory in the middle of the Truman Administration. The highly figured flame maple in the back, neck and sides, and finely graduated carved spruce soundboard are highlighted to great advantage by the warmly aged deep amber natural blonde finish.
At barely over 6lb, the guitar is pounds lighter than modern versions, and nimbly balanced on the lap or the strap. Hardware includes the engraved deco style tailpiece with "Varitone" angle adjuster, and the compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge. The tuners are period Kluson Sealfasts of slightly later vintage, with gold rather than plastic keys. The thick swirl tortoise pickguard is beautifully made, and scrupulously faithful to the original.
Carefully maintained and lovingly played, the guitar is without cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. The all original blonde finish shows some light scattered checking consistent with its age, with only a few incidental nicks here and there. A single small dent near the bass f-hole has been cleanly touched up, and the original multi-ply binding remains solid and tight to the body. Immaculate recent fretwork is somewhat taller than the low original wire, enhancing both volume and playability. Remarkably, they were installed with binding nibs covering the fret ends, just like the originals, a rare and painstaking level of craftsmanship.
Action is smooth and low over a classic postwar gently rounded 'C' profile neck, solid but not clubby in the hand. And the voice is clear, open, and deeply resonant, with the warmth and detail only decades of age can convey. The classic parallel braced soundboard delivers volume to burn, with the power and projection that can hold its own amidst the most clamorous ensembles.
Serious players have always known the noncut archtop is unsurpassed for sheer acoustic tone and volume, and this outstanding guitar sounds every bit as appealing as it looks. One only: call now.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; 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 nickel roundwound strings. 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 Lifton black alligator arched hardshell case, with gold plush lining.