The one and only, the mighty Gibson L-5. The granddaddy of all archtop guitars. This particular example was made in the first half of the ‘70s at Gibson’s old Kalamazoo plant. (I was told 1973, but if someone insisted it was a year or two in either direction, I wouldn’t resort to fisticuffs). The Norlin era has a less-than-stellar reputation, but high end archtops like this one didn’t suffer the same fate as most of the other Gibson guitars of the time period. They were still made by a small group of people dedicated to the craft. The worst thing you can say about them is that the maple isn’t as flamey. 

Seeing as how it’s old enough to be eligible for an AARP card, it has some tarnishing, some bumps and bruises, some tarnishing on the gold plating, but it’s still playing and sounding great. I’m not sure what I can say about the sound of this guitar that hasn’t already been said a million times about other L-5s. But I will add that this one sounds rather woody and still has plenty of the bright, acoustic nature one associates with fully carved archtops.

A full 1-11/16” wide nut. The guitar has been refretted in the recent past with a modern fret size. A new wiring harness has been installed, but the original is included in the case. Speaking of, it comes with a modern TKL case. The pickguard is a modern repro, as the originals tend to crumble. The binding on the front edge of the pickguard (between the two pickups) came unglued at one point and has been reglued, but it is ever so slightly off center. The switch tip has been replaced also. Other than those items, the rest of the components on the guitar are stock (including the pickups). No cracks, headstock breaks, or repairs. The neck depth is .76” at the first fret and .93” at the 9th. Perhaps it’s the larger frets, but the neck doesn’t “feel” quite as small as those numbers sound. I think it’s very comfortable.

L-5s are hard to come by these days and this one is priced attractively given today’s market (there are plenty of examples of folks asking over $10,000 for them). Feel free to reach out with any questions or to inquire about international shipping. Be sure to check out the video of the guitar in the hands of someone who really knows how to use it!

Due to the abundance of low ball offers, I had to disable offers on this one.

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Listed4 months ago
ConditionGood (Used)
Good condition items function properly but may exhibit some wear and tear.Learn more
  • L-5CES
  • Sunburst
  • 1969 - 1985
Made In
  • United States
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Color Family
  • Brown
Body Material
  • Maple
Neck Construction
  • Set-Neck
Body Type
  • Hollow Body
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Body Shape
  • Single Cutaway
Neck Material
  • Maple
Model Family
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Finish Style
  • Gloss
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Stop-Bar
Model Sub-Family
Pickup Configuration
  • HH
Scale Length
  • 24.75"
Number of Frets
  • 20

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The Land of Oo-Bla-Dee

Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Joined Reverb:2020

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