Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 10 123 ... LastLast
Posts 1 to 25 of 234
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    After reading all the post raving about the greatness of Gibson L5s, I finally was able to play one this afternoon.

    I stopped into Artisan Guitars (Franklin, TN) to demo some Carr amps. As usually, the great staff inquires on my style pf playing so they can grab a guitar for me to use. When I mentioned a semi or hollow body I was expecting them to grab one of the mid-priced used arch tops in the store, but the staff grabbed a very fine Gibson L5 CT that they have on consignment.

    Needless to say... Wow! The finish was spectacular. The feel of the neck and fret size was just perfect for my hands. The thinner body width 2 1/2 deep was extremely comfortable! Everything was great.

    If anyone is looking for a spectacular Gibson L5 CT, give Artisan guitars a call and make an offer. I purchased a fabulous Golden Eagle Custom (consignment) from Artisan a couple years ago. I made an offer, they called the owner for approval and sold. I really do wish I still had that guitar


    The Venerable Gibson L-5-_57-jpg
    Last edited by Steve Z; 07-22-2015 at 05:32 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I'm glad you got to play an L5. That's great. I hope (and I'm sure) you loved it. Its a gorgeous guitar.

    But...

    You were there trying out an amp and they put a consignee's L5 in your hands to demo the amp?

    This is why I'll NEVER give my guitar to a shop for consignment. Never.


    Joe D

  4. #3
    I would bet most of the used guitars there are consignment. The shop maintains very tight control on all their instruments.., staff needs to pull from displays, all instruments get wiped down after playing... and the fact the I have purchased thousands from them doesn't hurt. Definitely an upscale operation. Definitely not a GC type store where anyone can grab a guitar off the wall and jam.

    Think of Artisan like a Porsche dealership... Very classy high end products... And yes, you can test drive anything they have in stock - just remove anything that might scratch the leather, or in this case the finish

    Besides, allowing me to play the L5 has me really racking my brain on if I could, should I consider buying it... and, I liked the guitar and the experience so much that I posted it so now many others who would not have know about the guitar now know about it. Seems like a win.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Steve Z; 07-22-2015 at 06:35 PM.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Steve, sounds like a great experience for you.
    If you do buy the L5, you will be spoiled for life. The experience goes beyond playing it. You walk past it and stop, admire it, and say damn I can't believe I own one of these.
    very cool.
    Joe D

  6. #5
    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mentally moving gear and money... Just a bridge (or several thousand) too far. Definitely a guitar for the bucket list!

    I am happy to have played the CT as it did cement the fact that my older shoulders prefer narrower bodies.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    One of the first guitars I ever held was a L5. My cousin Eddy had one. That was before I could actually play, so it was like... Well, it was like many other firsts in life: I was too ignorant to enjoy it.

    But Artisan... Damn the guitars. Just go in there if you want to hang with some great people.

  8. #7
    So, is it normal for owners of high end Gibson guitars to leave the Gibson sticker on the pick guard? The subject L5 CT still has the Gibson sticker on the pick guard. My guess is that the owner was more of a collector than a player. I just find it a bit odd... like people with baseball caps but leave the little sticker on the brim.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z
    So, is it normal for owners of high end Gibson guitars to leave the Gibson sticker on the pick guard? The subject L5 CT still has the Gibson sticker on the pick guard. My guess is that the owner was more of a collector than a player. I just find it a bit odd... like people with baseball caps but leave the little sticker on the brim.
    some people just like brand new, shiny things. Me , I like a guitar covered in check marks that's been well played. The only thing that bothers me is if it's got cigarette odor.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    some people just like brand new, shiny things. Me , I like a guitar covered in check marks that's been well played. The only thing that bothers me is if it's got cigarette odor.
    This is actually a pretty wise move.


    You always have to be careful when buying things that are in mint condition. I means they were never really used. There is a small chance it was bought by someone who played it rarely and it was never taken out of the house/closet.

    however there is a bigger chance it was a stinker from the start. If you find an old beat up fender amp, there is a good chance someone played the sh@t out of it because it sounded amazing.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z
    So, is it normal for owners of high end Gibson guitars to leave the Gibson sticker on the pick guard? The subject L5 CT still has the Gibson sticker on the pick guard. My guess is that the owner was more of a collector than a player. I just find it a bit odd... like people with baseball caps but leave the little sticker on the brim.

    Some of the " used" high end Gibsons on the market now are actually new old stock

    By listing them as used the stores can advertise at a lower price without breaking their dealership agreements ...

    Artisan doesn't appear to be a Gibson dealer .... so this one may really be used ...

    or they may have worked a deal with a Gibson dealer that needed to move it

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    A friend of mine has a Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery, but the rarer version with the pearl heart inlay near the pickguard. It was absolutely wonderful to play and sounded incredible. One day I hope to be able to own a guitar of that calibre- but I have a feeling I'll be drifting more in the direction of a pre war Epiphone Emperor should I have the funds.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I still remember when I got my first one, a 1930 model, $3500-my very first vintage guitar and a lot of money at the time.
    been through a number of them since then and have a soft spot for those little guitars.
    they have a quick response and a wonderful sound, you can play any style of music on them.
    it's rare to play a dud, they're much more consistently good sounding than later 17" models.
    along w/the early DA's they're really the only guitars w/a short scale that I like.
    I'll play other archtops for awhile but always come back to the little L-5.

    Gibson really had beautiful sunbursts back then. though there are later sunbursts that are nice, for me they were the best in the 20's and got progressively more "factory" looking as the yrs passed.
    Gibson also had a nice selection of flat sawn Michigan curly maple back then, you'll rarely see a mildly figured L-5 from this period.

    unlike a lot of other archtops they seem to increase in value every year.
    I like the 20s dot necks best...

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I hope the skewed bridge on the reissue is the result of an unfortunate bump and not the actual position. Still a lovely guitar, but I have to agree about the older 'bursts. And those elegant f-holes! L-5s have always exemplified a level of visual beauty that accurately reflects their musical potential. I'm a fan (from a distance, so far).

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    "You can play any style of music on them."

    I think this is a unique aspect of Gibson's original f-hole archtop, before they started making them bigger and (arguably) louder. I've made the point here before about how Loar's creation was quickly set aside in lieu of different, changing technology in the mid to late 1930s, somehow being made obsolete before its impact could be thoroughly developed. The amplified ES-150 changed that vector of history forever.

    But if you play one today, you'll realize that it is as viable a general purpose acoustic guitar as a Martin 000, for example. It is not as much of a pigeonholed "jazz guitar" as a later Gibson acoustic archtop, such as the 17" L-5, is. Of course I tend to play old style plectrum guitar classics such as April Kisses on mine, but I strum cowboy chords on it all the time, too.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Yup, there's a special magic to 16" L-5's. In the last couple of months, I've played 7 different small body L-5's, and all of them sounded really good, with a couple sounding superb. Two of the 7 were set up terribly, but you could still hear the tonal quality just waiting to sing.

    I definitely want to mention the issue with kerfed bracing, because it really does make a big difference. One of the big reasons dot neck '27-'29 L-5's are even more desireable than the '29-'34 block necks is because of the change from solid braces (meticulously carved to perfectly fit the inside of arch of the top), to kerfed braces (where slits were cut into the braces allowing them to be bent into the inside archtop of the top). Now, there are some block-neck L-5's with solid braces that were made during this period, and those are worth seeking out. Those would probably be the best value, since you get the '28 sound with a '32 price (which in my case was about 22% cheaper).

    About the reissues, besides the inaccurate sunburst, the thing that really bugs me is that they are x-braced, unlike the parallel braced originals. Just ain't the same thing at all. I haven't played a reissue in probably 10 years, so I'm not going to say they can't sound good, but it's gonna be different - and not just the new vs. 80-year old issue.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by campusfive
    About the reissues, besides the inaccurate sunburst, the thing that really bugs me is that they are x-braced, unlike the parallel braced originals.
    Hmm... I had one for a while, and I sure don't recall that being the case. I'm sure I poked my fingers inside those f-holes and fondled parallel braces... Now I'll have to look it up. I mean, they modeled the '34 RI on a specific L-5 guitar (it's pictured in Ingram's L-5 book). Why would they copy a guitar and change the bracing? The truss rod cover, sure, etc. - but the bracing?

    I know the Bozeman L-7C is X-braced, which never existed (not in cutaway form, only in non-cut). Maybe that's what you're thinking about?

    My '33 L-12 is also 16" and has kerfed braces, while my '28 L-5 has carved ones. There are numerous other differences of course, but the L-5 has a more refined, precise, and deeper/richer sound. The L-12 is still real sweet though.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    It's interesting that a very small subset of the board comments on these 16" vintage Gibson threads. Is it just that these instruments are a bit rare and costly, or maybe they're perceived as a guitar with limited application? They are certainly acoustic only, and that alone makes them unappealing to the boppers in the crowd. I dunno.

    Guys and gals, you owe it to yourselves to experience these in your lifetime... they are our history, man... Everything with an f-hole exists today due to these Gibsons from the 1920s and 1930s.
    Last edited by rpguitar; 10-29-2015 at 08:24 PM.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    I'm thinking it's a rarity/cost issue Roger. I'd venture to say that a lot of folks have never even had the opportunity to play one, let alone buy. much like D'Angelico's
    I'm pretty sure the majority of folks around here would love to own one, but life and reality gets in the way sometime.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Hmm... I had one for a while, and I sure don't recall that being the case. I'm sure I poked my fingers inside those f-holes and fondled parallel braces... Now I'll have to look it up. I mean, they modeled the '34 RI on a specific L-5 guitar (it's pictured in Ingram's L-5 book). Why would they copy a guitar and change the bracing? The truss rod cover, sure, etc. - but the bracing?

    I know the Bozeman L-7C is X-braced, which never existed (not in cutaway form, only in non-cut). Maybe that's what you're thinking about?

    My '33 L-12 is also 16" and has kerfed braces, while my '28 L-5 has carved ones. There are numerous other differences of course, but the L-5 has a more refined, precise, and deeper/richer sound. The L-12 is still real sweet though.
    Everything I've ever read was that the '34 RI had x-bracing. I've never owned one, but perhaps someone who has one currently provide some first-hand evidence. I wasn't personally mistaking it for the L-7C, but I'm aware that one is x-braced.

    Yeah, as far as the kerfed guitars, I think that's a good way of describing the difference. When I was comparing the 4 L-5's in the store when I bought mine, the kerfed ones were definitely sweet and really sung. But the non-kerfed ones were even deeper and richer and more refined and precise - exactly as you said.

    I also think the magic of the kerfed ones is the ability of it to be both rich and balanced, but also have outstanding projection. Once I had both the '35 L-12 (advanced) and the '32 Epi Deluxe, I felt that the two characteristics must be mutually exclusive. Each guitar was so specifically good at either side that I figured it must be apples or oranges. But, after playing a couple D'A's and then the bevy of L-5's, I found that they don't have to be mutually exclusive, it just must be hard to make something has both, and part of what makes those guitars so storied is that magical combination.
    Last edited by campusfive; 10-29-2015 at 10:49 PM.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I have a friend who has a 28 L-5. It is probably the best sounding acoustic archtop that I have ever played...and that includes D'Angelicos and Benedettos (Though some of the DA's that I have played, including the two that I own are right up there). The same guy also had a 34 L-5. That 16 inch L-5 was different. It had a not very comfortable neck and was a bit harsh. Another friend had a 32 L-5. Same lousy neck and also a harsh sounding guitar. After playing these three, my conclusion is that the dot neck 16 inch L-5's are a holy grail guitar, right up there with the best D'Angelicos. And like the DA's, you get what you pay for. Good stuff is never cheap.

    Another friend had one of the 16 inch L-5 reissues. It was a very nice sounding guitar, but lacked good volume. The neck on it was superb. But it ain't a vintage dot neck 16 inch L-5. Yep, you get what you pay for.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    My first guitar teacher had an old L-5 that had "THE GIBSON" written on the headstock.
    Did that have any significance regarding the year of construction, model, etc...

    The 1935 "Snakehead' model D'A I own sounded a lot better than that particular guitar, even though it was modeled after the L-5s.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    The neck on the 28 is quite modern and comfortable. I have read that 28 is the only year with the modern neck profile.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    The neck on the 28 is quite modern and comfortable. I have read that 28 is the only year with the modern neck profile.

    '27 as well

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    The neck on the 28 is quite modern and comfortable. I have read that 28 is the only year with the modern neck profile.
    My '24 was pretty chunky. But not as bad as my Style O Scroll. No truss rod, huge neck. But still straight as an arrow.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Also, and I really don't know if it's a year-of-production thing or just a run of specific guitars, but there are a batch of 1928 L-5s with one piece flamed maple necks. Mine is one of them, and I've seen a couple others. Really quite stunning and part of the mojo for that year.