Gibson / L-5 / 1929 / Sunburst Finish / Guitar For Sale
In 1923 Gibson released the very 1st examples of its amazing 1st generation L-5 Arch Top w/a 16" lower bout designed by the infamous Lloyd Loar as its top of the line model. This wonderous & primitive example is from the 3rd Generation production year run prior to it transitioning to its upgraded 1935 specs when it became a full 17" bodied guitar. Its rich Dark Sunburst finish covers its beautiful carved Spruce top along w/its amazingly curly triple bound book matched carved maple back & sides. Its stunningly curley "V" shaped 3 piece maple neck has only slight wear to its finish from its 1st "cowboy cord" owner 92 year ago...hard to believe. Its headstock is adorned by its straight across script "The Gibson" logo along w/a lovely pearl Flower Pot inlay. By 1925 these went w/gold parts which included its open back Grover 98G tuners & a simple trapeze tailpiece. Its clean original tortoiseshell pickgard is super thin having triple bound celluloid binding. She is still wearing her height adjustable compensated ebony bridge. It also sports the desirable factory "Solid Brace" down the center inside of the top & Kerfed braces on the top & back sides of its inner body construction.
The serial number of this L-5 indicates a shipping date of 1929. Many of these during the Depression sat unsold for a few years. In addition she still has an original ink stamped white oval "Master Model" label inside its bass F-hole w/its serial # 87557 over what appears to be its 1st original white label which usually means it was sent back to the Factory for some type of work done. It also has what appears to be a 2 digit (FON) factory order # inside its treble F-hole. Its tone is irreplaceable having volume to handle a loud orchestral or Jazz Band w/no problem. This has to be 1 of if not the BEST original example extent having no issues, no touchup & only slight play time w/some weather checking. Its certainly a Museum Quality L-5 in Exceptionally clean shape & ready for its next caretaker. She comes in her original Black tolex/purple lined shaped hard case. This was truly the 1st Jazz Guitar for the most eclectic players the likes of Eddie Lang.
What we have figured out on this L-5 was it had originally a dot inlaid pointy end ebony fingerboard when new. The 1st owner bought it new in 1931 then decided to send its back to the factory & have them install the newer type block inlaid fingerboard but instead of ebony, the owner requested Rosewood to be used & at that time, Gibson covered the 1st oval label w/a new label having the now current ink'd on type serial # at the time the fingerboard was changed. In 2005 Kennard Machol from Intermountain Guitar & Banjo in Salt Lake City, Utah owned # 87557. We have attached a photo from 15 years back showing this fingerboard on our L-5 supplied by Kennard who then sold it to Jazz Guitar player & collector, Joey McKenzie from Austin, Texas. Joey decided in 2017 that the rosewood fingerboard was in need of new frets but instead he commissioned master luthier Hugh Hansen from Nashville to create the perfect replacement c.1929 ebony dot inlaid fingerboard w/its fancy pointed end that really appears as original today. Joey, thank goodness, kept this original Rosewood fingerboard from the early 30's as proof it came on it originally for anyone interested. The Pre-War L-5 owners club now use an updated serial number list from Joe Spann, author of ‘Spann’s Guide To Gibson’. In the past the guitar would indeed have been dated to 1929. The shipping date according to Spann being 1931 when sold new with the ‘Traditional’ ledger stating its build date being 1929.