As featured in the June 2019 edition of Guitar Player Magazine. https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/the-unparalleled-beauty-of-the-gibson-l5-archtop.
Extremely rare, possibly one-off, PAF equipped, round-cut, thin-bodied L-5CEST. The label says “L5-CES A-34510.” Factory Order Number: R 5886 1. Registered on September 8, 1960. This is a special guitar.
In "Gibson Electrics The Classic Years," page 183, A.R. Duchossoir specifically describes it as a “so-called electric Gobel”; that is, a thin-body L-5CES and 25-1/2” scale, in contrast to an L-5CT with a 24-3/4” scale (like my 1962 L5-CTN, which is separately listed). I bought it almost 20 years ago from J.P. Lamarque, a noted French collector.
The body is 17” wide and 2-3/16” at the lower bout. It’s an inch thinner than a full-depth L-5 but a bit thicker and heavier than a standard Byrdland. Full-scale nut (1-11/16”) and scale (25-1/2”). The neck profile is “wide, flat”; a shallow, wide, flat “D” with prominent shoulders that open the palm. Fret-board is wide, flat with little radius and feels open and comfortable. The neck plays fast and accurately with moderate string tension with .012 to .052 round wounds. Good Mirabella refret with jumbo frets and little fret-wear.
Two double-black PAF’s. Vintage ABR-1 no-wire bridge, with nylon saddles. The guitar was factory equipped with a Varitone circuit and stereo jack. The Varitone worked as intended before I removed it and re-wired the jack mono. The acoustic tone is pure, focused and round with moderate volume, but this guitar was built to play electric jazz. Plugged in, the guitar has a definitive humbucker sound, with great color. It can hang with a B-3 and play lines like a sax.The tone can get a little creamy and furry if you roll off the neck pickup.
There’s moderate flame on the neck and some ribbon flame on the rims. The gold plating is worn on the pickup covers, less so on the ABR-1 bridge and tuner tips and clean on the tailpiece and Varitone circle. No scratches. The ABR-1 bridge is shallower at the bridge post (which was a Les Paul thing). The back is two-piece carved maple with some swirly figure. The dark part of the sunburst extends a bit further into the middle of the top, sort of like an early L-5. There’s a little gold speckling in the finish on the top off the bass side of the fretboard extension, just to show that someone at the factory was a little off that day. There is some horizontal lacquer checking on the top but nothing too heavy. There are several dings in the finish in the back of the neck under the 1st and 3rd frets.
The one structural issue is a crack that developed under the Varitone plate from the weight of the circuit (since removed), running from the bottom edge of the Varitone circle to the lower rim south of the endpin. (This is not uncommon and is the real downside to the Varitone). The crack has been cleated under the top and stable for at least 10 years. It's not very noticeable.
Period-correct, thin-line, brown/pink “Cali Girl” case (tan on the outside and pink on the inside.) Stone Case Company badge on the inside but no Gibson badge on the outside. Some minor scuffing but overall in very good condition.
This is an iconic, one-off, Gibson electric and for some a Holy Grail. I don't know of any any others in this configuration. It’s a local legend among the guys who hang out at Mirabella’s shop on Long Island. They simply call it “the Gobel.” Ratko Zjaka, a protégé of Joe Pass, has recorded on this guitar.
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.