As featured in the June 2019 edition of Guitar Player Magazine. https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/the-unparalleled-beauty-of-the-gibson-l5-archtop.
Rare PAF, sharp-cut, sunburst L-5CES. Label says L5-CES and is stamped “Stereo Varitone.” Serial Number: 11563. In 1961 Gibson made 22 sunburst L-5CES. This is an early sharp-cut.
Standard full-sized nut (1-11/16") and scale (25-1/2"). Exceptionally fast, comfortable neck. The profile starts as a shallow “C” at the nut and becomes a medium “C” at the octave. Wide fret-board with light radius. The sharp-cut gives easy access up to the 20th fret (high C). Light-ish string tension with .012 to .052 round wounds.
Two double-black PAF’s. Rich humbucker sound. Vintage ABR-1 no-wire bridge, with metal saddles. Factory Varitone, stereo wired. The Varitone works as intended; in open position, the guitar roars. The acoustic tone is clear, round and warm. It sings around the octave. Great electric tone.
Overall very clean and flamey. Classic, beautiful iced-tea sunburst. The neck bears striking, book-matched herringbone flame, with prominent stripes centered on the mahogany center-strip. The rims are highly flamed with visible ribbons. The back has good figure, more ripple than ribbon. The gold plating is worn on the pickup covers (period correct replacements), ABR-1 bridge and tailpiece, but clean on the tuner tips and Varitone circle. It started life with a Bigsby but came to me with a vintage correct L-5 tailpiece (which masks 3 screw holes on the lower rim off the end-pin) There’s no Bigsby shadow or stain on the top. No scratches. Two-piece carved back. Some minor vertical lacquer checking on the back. No cracks or structural issues. Good Mirabella refret with medium jumbo frets, little fretwear. Replacement Mirabella pickguard.
Period-correct, brown/pink “Cali Girl” case (tan on the outside, pink on the inside.) Gibson badge. Some minor scuffing but overall in very good condition.
This is an iconic Gibson electric. Think Wes and the cover of "Far Wes." If you want a full-size, sharp-cut vintage L5-CES, it doesn’t get better than this.
PS: I recently pulled the varitone out to deal with some crackling from the vintage wiring and the acoustic sound really opened up. This is a smoking hot guitar with one of the best necks around. I'm leaning towards keeping it.
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.