As featured in the June 2019 edition of Guitar Player Magazine. https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/the-unparalleled-beauty-of-the-gibson-l5-archtop.
This is a rare PAF equipped, round-cut, blonde L-5CES. A.R. Duchossoir's "Gibson Electrics The Classic Years," pages 184,190, states that Gibson made 17 L-5CESN in 1960. Serial number A32922. FON R585 5...
The body is 17” wide and a full 3-3/8” at the lower bout. The nut is 1-11/16” and the scale is 25-1/2”. The neck profile is not quite "slim, fast,” more "C" cup than “D” cup. Flat fret-board with moderate radius. The fretboard is comfortable with medium string tension with .012 to .052 round wounds. Refret by Norio Imai with period correct fret-wire with almost no wear on the frets.
Two double-black PAF’s. Rich humbucker sound. Vintage ABR-1 no-wire bridge, with metal saddles. The guitar was originally factory equipped with a Varitone and stereo wired but the Varitone was recently removed and the guitar is mono wired. (The Varitone worked but I kept losing the stereo jack). The acoustic tone is exceptionally pure, focused, round and punchy. The low notes on this guitar sound deep and throaty. Great tone.
There’s good flame on the neck and rims. The gold plating is worn on the pickup covers (one is a period correct replacement), less so on the ABR-1 and tuner tips and clean on the tailpiece and Varitone circle. I replaced the original Bigsby with an exceptionally clean tailpiece from a 1960 L-5CN. No scratches, one small ding. The top is turning honey blonde. There’s no Bigsby shadow under the tailpiece but if you look hard you can still see a faint circle from the felt pad where the Bigsby touched the top under the spring. The back is one piece laminated maple (instead of two-piece carved maple), a feature that Gibson introduced in that period to suppress feedback. There’s no loss in tone. The back is exceptionally clean and milky white, with only a couple of black flecks of paint under the finish just to let you know that the someone at the factory was off that day.
There's one cosmetic issue. I bought this about 12 (?) years ago, knowing that the lower rim had suffered some finish damage. Cris Mirabella refinished the lower rim from the end-pin to the middle of the bend in the rim. At this point, it’s practically invisible.
Period-correct, brown/pink “Cali Girl” case (tan on the outside and pink on the inside.) Some minor scuffing but overall in very good condition.
This is an iconic Gibson electric and for some a Holy Grail. Think Wes and his blonde round-cut on the cover of “Full House.” It’s a clean, blonde, round cut L5-CES that sets the bar for other L5's.
Paypal accepted (but contact me for the email address) or Wire transfer of immediately available funds to my account per my wire transfer instructions. or Certified bank check from a major US bank.
I would prefer that you personally inspect and take delivery from me at my location in Manhattan or from Mirabella Guitars in St. James, Long Island, New York. Otherwise, unless we agree on another method, I will ask Mirabella to ship to your location, at your expense by UPS or FedEx for 2d day delivery, insured in excess of the purchase price.
Each of my guitars has been inspected and to the extent required restored to vintage specification (with vintage parts if necessary) by Cris Mirabella. All condition and restoration issues are fully disclosed. I strongly urge you to inspect the guitar in person at my location or Mirabella's before shipping. I am happy to consider giving you a right of approval for a specific number of days, especially if you aren't able to audition the instrument in person prior to committing. But unless we agree by email on a right of approval in advance, all sales are final, "as-is, where-is" with no right of return. If you feel that I have materially misrepresented a particular condition or restoration issue, I will, at your request, consider an appropriate price reduction to be granted or denied in my reasonable discretion. This is not a policy of "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware." Instead I am asking you to commit to a purchase on the basis of my full disclosure and your right of prior inspection. I'm a private collector with a day job, not a retail store. I simply don't have the time or resources for you to shop casually. The vintage guitar market can be a tricky space to navigate--there's a fair amount of ignorance, misinformation and outright lying. I've gone to the effort and expense of having each guitar inspected and restored, to the extent necessary, by Cris Mirabella, the leading repair and restoration specialist of vintage arch-tops. You won't encounter any unwanted or undisclosed surprises. That adds a lot of value to the guitars.