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1952 Gibson L-5CES

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Serial #: A-10809, white oval label. FON# Z477-15

Body size at lower bout: 17", Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .86/.95, 1st/10th fret

Materials: Solid bookmatched handcarved fine grain spruce top; solid carved bookmatched figured maple back, sides, and neck; solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlays; abalone torch and headstock logo; 5-ply body and neck binding; bound f-holes.

Hardware: All gold hardware includes Alnico V 'staple' single coil pickups, engraved Varitone tailpiece with art-deco insert, Kluson Sealfast tuners, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge, three-way pickup selector switch, gold barrel numbered speed knobs, adjustable truss rod, vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: The perennial leader in instrument design, Gibson introduced the first commercially successful archtop guitar, the L-5, in 1923. A little over a decade later, they produced the first viable electric guitar, the ES-150, made famous by Charlie Christian. By 1947, the company debuted the first full size cutaway electric, the laminate body ES-350. And finally, four years later, Gibson produced its flagship 17" model, the all carved, fully electrified L-5CES, having outpaced it's competitors every step of the way for almost three decades.

Unveiled in New York's Gotham Hotel in the summer of 1951, the L-5CES, and it's companion Super 400CES, were the most expensive guitars Gibson had ever produced. Built with solid carved tonewood throughout, all gold hardware, deluxe multi-ply binding, and twin single coil pickups, the new CES models were also the first equipped with the now standard four knob and selector switch controls. A favorite of pro players from George Barnes to Herb Ellis and Wes Montgomery, the L-5CES has been Gibson's top-line 17" electric guitar ever since.

This gleaming guitar is one of just 29 examples shipped in the second model year, with the lustrous Cremona sunburst finish. The instrument shows classic features including a full-width 1 11/16" nut, engraved adjustable Varitone art-deco tailpiece, and the ultra-premium gold Kluson Sealfast tuners. Most intriguingly, the guitar is fitted with a pair of Gibson's legendary Alnico V 'staple' pickups.

A revolutionary design of considerable ingenuity, these pickups were fitted with rectangular polepieces, each of which was a separate magnet. This produced a pickup far more powerful than the standard P-90 single coil, but was also much more mechanically sophisticated, with an elaborate adjustable riser mechanism for each polepiece. The extravagant production cost of these pickups meant that they were reserved only for Gibson's most expensive models. Superceded only by the first PAF humbuckers in 1957, the Alnico V became Gibson's rarest pickup of the postwar era.

The original wiring harness, including pots, ground wire, and original blue Cornel Dublier capacitors remain untouched in this guitar, and there is no sign that the pickup routs were intended for any other pickup. All of which would appear to make this guitar one of the very earliest ever fitted with these rarest of Gibson pickups, made famous by players like Scotty Moore, Elvis' longtime guitar wizard.

A true closet queen, this stunning example has been preserved in exceptionally fine condition, free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and showing handsome bubble figure in the solid maple back, with stunning tiger flame sides and neck. The lovely dark Cremona sunburst finish is subtly shaded, beneath a light clearcoat of some considerable vintage, now showing some light scattered age checking, principally about the soundboard.

String action is smooth and low over fine medium fretwork, with a fresh high-precision setup, on a comfy gentle C profile neck. The Alnico pickups produce classic single coil tone, clear and detailed, with the extra power and bite they are renowned for. And all nestled in its original deluxe brown Lifton plush lined hardshell case, every bit as lovely as the guitar itself.

The pinnacle of Gibson's electric line, the L-5CES has been the gold standard for some seven decades. We're delighted to present this remarkable example, by far the earliest we've ever had the pleasure to offer. It's the sound and feel of where it all began: one only, call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge roundwound nickel 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 light relief. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.







































































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