Connoisseurs have long known that the best sounding Gibson archtop guitars are the 16" L5 models that were designed by the legendary acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar. These were the very first jazz guitars which, largely due to the innovations introduced by Lloyd Loar, posses tonal subtleties and acoustic projection that later models never matched. Loar's design improvements included violin inspired features such as a cantilevered fingerboard, "f" shaped sound holes, and a tap tuned top and back, as well as modern conveniences such as an adjustable bridge and a truss rod. First produced in 1922, the L-5 quickly became the gold standard for jazz guitar and found its way into the hands of numerous virtuosos of the time, including such luminaries as Eddie Lang, Nick Lucas, Les Paul, Carl Kress, and Dick McDonough. Not only a jazz guitar, the L-5 is an extremely versatile instrument that was also played by country music star Mother Maybelle Carter and Nashville session guitarist and Grand Ole Oprey player Jack Schook. Even long after Gibson had introduced the larger Advanced Model L-5s, these smaller 16" models remained legendary for their unparalleled tone and projection, and continued to be the first choice for acoustic work by players such as Barney Kessel, Tony Romano, and Marty Grosz.
Gibson introduced the "Advanced" model in 1935, making this model from 1934 one of the last built with Lloyd Loar's 16" body specs. Even before Gibson redesigned the L5, some smaller cosmetic changes were made starting in the 30s, including block fingerboard inlays with a square end fingerboard and a logo that just reads "Gibson" instead of "The Gibson." It was also common in this period to use kerfed braces (braces which are glued together from multiple pieces) instead of the solid braces specified by Loar. I'm happy to report that this guitar is one of the rare later models that has the Loar style solid braces which produces a richer, fuller tone.
This instrument lives up to its reputation as the sound is simply glorious! It has a full and complex midrange that produces rich chords and flowing, mellifluous single note lines. The bass register is full, yet tight and clear with excellent definition that provides a wonderful bottom end to anything you play. The high end response is crisp yet rounded, with just enough treble to add some sizzle when you need it but is never harsh or grating. This instrument is also phenomenally loud, with the sort of projection that seems to defy physics. It is the consummate acoustic jazz guitar that will cut through in a big band or around a camp fire jam, all the while producing a tone that is rich and full of character.
instrument is in exceptional condition, with the original finish and
only a few small modifications over its long life. The tuners were
replaced with a matching set of modern Grover Sta-Tite tuners (the
originals are in the case.) The
tailpiece, bridge and pickguard are original (it's so rare to find a
guitar from this era with an original pickguard!) The label is missing,
however the serial # was engraved on the pickguard and there is Factory
Order Number stamped inside the body. Also, in several places on the
interior of the guitar there is a stamp that reads "Model L-5." There are no
cracks or other signs of damage. There are numerous dings and
scratches, and a some light finish checking. Otherwise, it's about the
cleanest example from this period that I've ever seen.
This instrument is currently setup up with smooth, low 2.2mm action.
It's rare to find a pre-war Gibson L-5 in such good condition, and
even rarer to find one with solid braces. Owning this instrument earns you membership in the very exclusive club of 16" L-5 owners. Only one, call now!
This is the CASH price...add 3% (4% for International orders) if you'd like to pay with a credit card.
|Serial Number||1498-5 (FON)|
|Sound Hole||F Holes|
|Fret Neck||14 Fret|
|Scale Length||24 3/4"|
|Nut Width||1 3/4"|
|Body Depth||3 1/4"|
|Back and Sides||Maple|
|Tuners||Grover Butter Bean|
|Case||Geib Vintage Hardshell|