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c. 1970-2 Gibson L-5CN

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Serial #: 966424, Kalamazoo label

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

Finish: Amber blonde finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.

Materials: Solid bookmatched handcarved fine grain Sitka spruce top; full-depth handcarved solid rock maple back and sides; tiger flame maple neck with walnut centerstripes; solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlays; abalone torch and headstock logo; 5-ply body and neck binding; bound f-holes; solid bone nut.

Hardware: Original hardware includes engraved gold tailpiece with deco insert, gold Kluson Sealfast tuners, compensated adjustable ebony bridge with inlaid foot. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: Introduced in 1923, the Gibson L-5 was the first commercially produced archtop guitar. Almost 80 years later, it remains the most renowned archtop guitar of all time. Designed by Lloyd Loar himself, the L-5 was the guitar that D'Angelico copied, that Eddie Lang brought to fame, and players from Wes Montgomery to Mark Whitfield carried to glory. This example represents the rarest, and for many players, most desirable configuration of this august instrument. It has a cutaway. It is an acoustic model, with a hand graduated, bookmatched fine grain solid spruce top. And finally, it is blonde. Very blonde indeed. With a lovely honey colord finish gently ambered over almost a quarter century.

It is also an exceedingly scarce item. Given their legendary status, it is always surprising to discover just how few acoustic L-5 models were produced in any given year. This example was one of only 14 total made between 1970 and '72, which is as close as Gibson's serial numbers allow us to date this beauty. Sold originally at Draper's Music Center in Palo Alto, CA (whose sticker still graces the inside) this beauty would have to be one of the very finest specimens of its era. Devoid of pickwear, thumbwear, bucklewear and even fretwear, the instrument shows every sign of having reclined in the comfort of its plush case since it left Kalamazoo some four decades ago.

It's never been bothered with a pickup. There is no finish checking to be seen. The deep gold plating on the tailpiece and tuners still shines like a dime. (Gibson apparently used substantially thicker plating back then.) Apart from a few almost microscopic lacquer nicks, the guitar appears virtually in new old stock condition. (Obsessive collector types please note: if this gleaming guitar isn't clean enough for you, we'll be delighted to order you a brand new one.)

Smooth low action over freshly dressed original medium jumbo frets, on a gentle D profile neck that sits effortlessly in the hand. Despite its cloistered existence, this guitar has an unusually clear, lively voice, with excellent projection, balance and natural reverb, presumably due to the notably well graduated soundboard. This stunning instrument remains nestled in its original black Gibson logo plush hardshell case with the deep purple plush lining. And yes, it's every bit as pretty as the guitar itself.

Direct from the Wayback Machine. To you. Call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings (.013-.056). 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: Original black Gibson logo plush hardshell case.









































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