Making its 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 approaching its centennial, the L-5 remains the most famous jazz guitar of all time.
Produced in the immediate postwar era, this guitar is adorned with the classic prewar fat script peghead logo, which is seen on this model through 1949. It also is affixed with the white oval label, which first appeared early in 1947. Though the label is no longer legible, these hallmarks help us date the guitar sometime between '47 and '49, a period in which Gibson factory order numbers are often absent, as they are on this guitar as well.
The back is carved of bubble (or blister) figure maple of remarkable intensity, with sides and neck of vivid tiger maple, and a top graduated from solid, quartersawn, bookmatched Sitka spruce. The original hardware includes the engraved gold deco style tailpiece with "Varitone" angle adjuster, and the compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge. The Kluson Sealfast tuners with the gold tulip keys would have been installed sometime after 1957, and the guitar was refinished as well in the traditional manner, with true vintage style nitrocellulose lacquer. A short hairline crack by the tailpiece has been professionally resealed long ago, along with another grainline crack on the lower treble bout, which has been splinted and cleated as well.
A vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard is mounted with a recent DeArmond Model 1000 Rhythm Chief pickup, with volume control and endpin jack. The instrument has been well maintained, without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and the original multi-ply binding is tight and in excellent condition. The action is smooth and low over a gently rounded 'C' profile neck with a fresh high precision setup. The voice is clear and open, with excellent projection, and an appealing warmth and woodiness.
An ideal instrument for the serious player, and an outstanding value in a classic Gibson from the Golden Age. One only: call now.
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