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  1. #51

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    If tapped, tuned and carved right, a good arch top will have resonance with the strings which will prolong the notes and or make them louder (than a non-resonating solid body).


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #52

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    I could be wrong, or maybe I can speak only for myself but, if you want your L5 CES to sound more curt with less singing
    in the notes you play, isn't it a matter of YOU? How you attack, and sustain the notes?

    There is no rule that says your notes must sustain ! Change your technique.

    It's nice to have a guitar that will do both.

  4. #53

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    Actually, I swapped out the 57 on my '98 Wesmo for a high wind lollar imperial, warmed it up beautifully. Sounded a bit bright before that, but made all the difference. But I didn't like the 57s in any guitar I've had, ironically because they sounded muddy to me. Depends on the guitar and the player. It is nice not to have to change anything, but don't feel limited to a stock pickup, even on an L5

  5. #54

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    The Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7811-jpgThe Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7816-jpgThe Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7832-jpg

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7915-jpg

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7912-jpg

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7922-jpg

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-dsc_7923-jpg
    Last edited by Groyniad; 08-17-2016 at 07:30 PM.

  6. #55

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    Groyniad, I think you have got the "Iconic Gibson Jazzbox" thing pretty well covered!

    Oh, and you take a nice picture, as well!

  7. #56

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    i used to be a working musician and will be again

    these are my only 2 guitars (not counting one that is being sold right now)

    its taken me a very long time a) to work out these are the 2 i want b) to get them
    Last edited by Groyniad; 08-18-2016 at 05:37 AM.

  8. #57

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    Ah, there's .... nothing like a nice L5 ....

    ... not a masterpiece of guitar photography, but here is my happy Gibson archtop family cuddling on my office couch

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-img_5176-jpg

  9. #58

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    I like my Gibsons as well - I only find them too expensive for what they are, but great iconic guitars nonetheless .... Strangely they don't fight my Heritages in my music room :-)
    i bought them all used and got good deals on them. The ES175 is 2009, the L5 is a 2006 (i've had it for almost a year and still 'owe' a NGD) and the S400 was not clear. In the thread we had after I got it it was dated 1974-1976.

  10. #59

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    Frank, this was on Reverb a week or two ago, no? previoulsy owned by some famous Euro player iirc.

    almost all the pre-58 electric L-5's and Supers have 2 piece carved backs, but interestingly the vast majority of PAF L-5's and Supers I've seen have lam backs, my '64 PAF was from a run of carved back guitars, and they all seem to be from the same tree.

  11. #60

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    I just found a 1928 Gibson L5 Purchased from an original owner (family) That does indeed have an ultra-flamed ONE PIECE NECK.....couldnt find mention of this before your breathing much easier now....its all Orig cept the top has been Oversprayed.. Im setiing it up and cant wait to hear it with strings that arent 20 years old.....Any suggestion on strings? Thanks Kent

  12. #61

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    I have always strung mine with 12-53 80/20 bronze, either John Pearse or La Bella Criterion. I’ve found that D’Addario ball ends are troublesome fitting the tailpiece slots. Pics please! Also, be sure to register it over at

  13. #62

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    I am just so envious of you guys who have actually played and/or owned these 16" L5s. As someone else commented, many of us have never even seen a 16" L5 or real D'Angelico in the flesh, never mind played one. Like hens teeth here in the UK. There is a 16" L5 for sale in the Netherlands at equivalent of $50k currently, so those at Retrofret and Gruhns at a mere (!) $20k look like bargains from here!
    When I was 16 (1960) I remember hearing jazz players in the London guitar shops talking about D'Angelicos in hallowed tones, and JD' was still alive and building then, a world away in New York. Sigh.

  14. #63

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    I've probably told this story before, but anyway:

    I would never have seriously considered buying my 1928 L-5 if it weren't for Stan Jay of Mandolin Brothers. I brought a damaged 1933 L-12 into his shop to assess for repair options. Keep in mind that the store is over an hour's drive from me, so it was a special trip. Of course I had to have a leisurely look around. In one corner was this 16" L-5, just received from the prior owner, not even polished and ready for formal display. It had old strings and was dusty. As an L-5 nut I had read about these guitars but never seen one in person. I was like "Um, wow..."

    But I was encouraged to play it, and Stan told me that they planned to refret it before listing it on their website. He said there were at least 20 people with that vintage L-5 on their Want List. I, however, being so fortunate as having set foot in his shop that day, could earn "right of first refusal" simply with a $100 deposit. I had no trouble with the deposit. It was the rest of the $16k that was the problem. I could not justify pulling that kind of money from my accounts, but I definitely had some nice guitars I could sell, it would just take time.

    So I told Stan about that, and he allowed me to pay him in installments over a 3 month period. I managed to sell four guitars and recoup the necessary funds to buy the L-5. I almost flaked out halfway through, but he strongly encouraged me not to. Okay, I said, fine - you win!

    It's truly a special guitar. It's not just hype or lore (Loar! Get it?). Mine is not pristine - it has a couple of repaired cracks and plenty of surface wear. But the neck is fantastic, along with the tone and playability. If I had to own only one acoustic guitar of any kind, it would be this one, so I guess the investment was smart. Thank you, Stan.

    P.S. Stan did not live much longer (RIP), and this was probably the last L-5 he sold, certainly of this vintage.
    Last edited by rpguitar; 11-21-2017 at 02:12 PM.

  15. #64

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    Hi - Living in the UK, I don't get exposed to a lot of arch tops in the normal stores - they tend to only appear when the dealers have to take a few to get the LP's etc that they are after.

    I tried a blonde L5 recently in a shop over here. I seem to recall its is a 2012 or 13 and still with its stickers etc, so clearly has been collecting dust for some time hence it is a sale item and almost in my price range.

    On looking at it, i was surprised to find there were unsanded "splinters" of wood in the gap between the top box and the underside of the upper register of the neck (by the neck pickup). On a dream forever guitar, I would have expected a better attention to detail.

    BUT 30 mins playing never passed so quick and it was beautifully musical - felt streets ahead of the WESMO that I also tried there (and a less bright too).

    I guess, having not had much exposure to L5's, I don't really know what to expect from the build quality and if it pays to be more patient and wait for a used one to appear or whether i should quit moaning about the small finish issues and go for the tone? Any wisdom/thoughts would be greatly appreciated,


  16. #65

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    In case of doubt, I would walk away.

    There is no reason why there would be unsanded splinters in that area. The first thing that comes into my mind is that that L5 might have had a neck break and that the splinters in that location are from a neck repair. That particular L5 has gathered dust for a reason.
    Patience grasshopper patience, one day there will come a L5 on your path that will be yours..

  17. #66

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    You can't see if from this angle but it where the neck shapes away from the body.
    Attached Images Attached Images The Venerable Gibson L-5-1458667024_0205-jpg 

  18. #67

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    Its not unusual at all to have rougher finish under the fretboard extension, if its what you mean and not really exposed or cracked wood
    I had it on my Epiphone Emperor Regent, was even some sanding residue mixed with the in polished lacquer.
    On my Gibson Tal Farlow its aso a little bit rough there, nothing to worry about if its just unpolished finish in my opinion.

  19. #68

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    Is this the actual guitar you are talking about? Looks very nice to me.
    If so, I see no objections looking at this picture...

  20. #69

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    The guitars are lacquered with the necks glued on, so it is really hard to get lacquer under there and even harder to polish it. Don't expect perfection from a Gibson, they almost always have some little flaws, but then so do most guitars! If it played well then don't reject it completely. It is hard to tell what you mean about splinters without a photo, but I would be surprised if it had a neck break as I think there would be other more obvious signs other than bad finish under the neck extension.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander
    Its not unusual at all to have rougher finish under the fretboard extension, if its what you mean and not really exposed or cracked wood
    I had it on my Epiphone Emperor Regent, was even some sanding residue mixed with the in polished lacquer.
    On my Gibson Tal Farlow its aso a little bit rough there, nothing to worry about if its just unpolished finish in my opinion.
    Yeah - perhaps splinters was a touch aggressive. essentially - just looked like it hadn't been sanded properly, so perhaps its as you describe here Vinlander. It just seemed so surprising as the rest of the instrument looked amazing. And the important part - tone and playability were great (again given my limited exposure to Gibson arch's).

  22. #71

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    That marks you out as a Gibson newbie, newbie. Just ribbing you but they are all like that under fretboard extension. The buffing wheel cannot reach under there. That 's part of the Gibson magic; the unbuffed portion imparts extra resonance...

    When you see enough of them it soon becomes charming. You just accept it as a Gibson foible.

    Oh, well, Gibson archtops may soon become a fond memory so you may not have a chance to agitate over this feature soon.

    A very nice blonde L-5CES, by the way.

  23. #72

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    That L-5CES is exactly as it should be. The area under the fingerboard extension is always rough to a greater or lesser degree. If the guitar plays and sounds beautiful, then it IS beautiful, period. I wouldn't consider the unsanded area an issue for even a second.

    Hope this helps your GAS come back.

    The Venerable Gibson L-5-img_5922-jpg

  24. #73

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    You beat me to it RP, here is my very early 1970s L-5. A little roughness in that area is normal.
    The Venerable Gibson L-5-l-5-neck-extension-2-jpgThe Venerable Gibson L-5-l-5-neck-extension-1-jpg

  25. #74

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    Thanks everyone - much more reassuring to hear it from this forum than from the sales person in the store (who can't understand why I'd buy an L5 over an LP)!

  26. #75

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    Buy it! Today it's getting rare to get your hands on a guitar before deciding. At the end of the day it's a tool. A perfectly finish under the fretboard will do you little good, if you struggle to play it, or don't love what your hearing. Gibson on the headstock with the right purchase is a pretty protected investment.