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1957 Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster

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Serial #: A-26524, orange Kalamazoo label FON#: U889-11

Body size at lower bout: 17", Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16"

Finish: Original blonde finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.

Materials: Highly flamed arched tiger maple top; solid flame maple back; solid flame maple neck with walnut centerstripe; L-5 style Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlays and pointed finial; quintuple bound body with bound neck and headstock; solid bone nut.

Hardware: All original gold hardware includes triple PAF humbucking pickups; beveled 5-ply pickguard; loop design trapeze tailpiece with engraved crossbar; Kluson Super waffleback tuners with single-ring tulip keys; ABR-1 Tuneomatic bridge; gold bonnet volume and tone knobs; 4 way pickup selector switch with top hat knob.

Notes: It's always a pleasure when a highly collectible guitar is also a superb working instrument for the serious player. Introduced in 1949, the triple pickup ES-5 was the most versatile electric guitar Gibson ever produced. In late 1955, the guitar was renamed the Switchmaster, fitted with separate volume and tone controls for each pickup and a unique 4 way selector switch. In the latter half of 1957, the revolutionary Patent Applied For humbucking pickup was introduced, and the Switchmaster became one of the first Gibsons to be supplied with these most desirable of all vintage pickups. With only 30 of the blonde models produced in its model year, this guitar is perhaps one of a dozen or so to be outfitted with the first year PAF.

From an outstanding private collection, the guitar has been maintained in 100% original condition, with all factory finish, hardware, binding and electronics. Both body and neck are crisscrossed with flame maple of astounding intensity, and it's deep amber blonde finish is remarkably free of checking. And two key features distinguish this example from any other we've seen to date. The first is the back, which is carved of solid tiger flame maple like an L-5 or Super 400, in contrast to the arched laminate backs otherwise universal on this model. The second is the original black 'beesting' ornament on the heel, once again in the style of the L-5. Did Gibson pull an L-5 body off the line to fill an order for a Switchmaster? Was it a custom order, or just someone getting frisky at the factory one day? We'll probably never know, but the net result is a guitar that may be unique in all the world.

The instrument is without pick, thumb, or buckle wear, and has all original fretwork in wonderful condition. With an elegant bound fingerboard of solid Brazilian rosewood, the neck has smooth low action over a comfy full C profile, and smooth low action over a fresh high-precision setup. Apart from some natural fogging on the gold plating, the guitar looks much as it did when it left Kalamazoo, in the year of Sputnik. With six independent volume and tone controls and four-way selector switch, this pioneering model offers a degree of tonal flexibility unparalleled in traditional archtop guitars. An amazing bonus is the original four page typewritten instruction sheet, introducing the player to the marvels of the innovative electronic design.

Lush, flamy and gorgeous, and endowed with a superabundance of the most coveted pickups in the world, this magisterial instrument is truly a pinnacle in the evolution of the modern electric guitar. One only: call now.

Case: Original brown Gibson Lifton hardshell case with pink plush interior, combination lock and silk coverlet.











































































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