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  1. #1

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    I have not done a NGD in two years and in all honesty, I thought I was pretty much done buying guitars. There was one last guitar on my bucket list, a Gibson L-5CESN. And now I have crossed that off my list.

    Why this last guitar? Well in 1973, my high school pal Don Y. turned me on to jazz. He played a Wes Montgomery record for me and I was hooked for life (Wes gave me a lantern and showed me the path). The album was titled "The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery". Incredible indeed. The next day, I went down to my local record store in search of a Wes Montgomery recording. I found a double album under the Milestone label entitled "Wes and Friends". On the cover Wes was holding a Gibson L-5CESN. I was 14 years old and wanted one. Three years later, I was studying jazz guitar at NYU with studio guitar master Allen hanlon. Allen let me play his 50's Gibson L-5CESN while at his studio. The very same one in the picture in this link:

    Allen Hanlon |

    I wanted one even more. Over the years a good deal never presented itself for a Gibson L-5CESN. Until now. Fellow forumite Cincy2 offered his recently acquired guitar in a revived thread for a seriously good price. I pounced and now at 61 years of age, I have a Gibson L-5 CESN.

    Cincy2, by the way was a superb seller! The guitar arrived with no shipping issues (Thank you FEDEX!) and I took her out and tuned her up. I knew that the original pickups had been swapped for some handmade Kent Armstrong PAF's (in gloss Black) but the originals were included. I wanted to give the KA pickups a fair shake and guess what? I love them! They stay. I swapped the gold TOM for an Ebony saddle (a genuine vintage Gibson saddle gifted to me some years ago by fellow forumite Vinny2K, Thank you Vinny!) as i prefer a wood saddle and the guitar looked almost right. The amber knobs needed to be swapped as well. No problem as I prefer speed knobs to top hats in any case. A set of Gibson black speed knobs were sourced and the guitar looks great to my eyes. Purists might scoff at a non-stock guitar, but not me. I am a long time Harley rider. We like our stuff customized.

    The guitar was sold as a 2002 model and there is a Jim Hutchins label in the bass side F-hole dated December 16, 2002. But the serial number indicates a January 2003 completion date. The guitar and case are in fine condition, a few small dings and some finish checks being the only signs of age. Except for the tailpiece. Either Cincy 2 or his seller (the original owner) used metal polish on the tailpiece and the gold is gone. No problem as it now matches the Black hardware just fine to my eyes. Remember, I am a Harley guy and Black and chrome is our thing.

    The neck is a D- profile and with a truss rod adjustment I got her down to feeler gauge action and installed a new set of TI 12 gauge flats. She plays like butter, sounds like a goddess and is as beautiful a guitar as I have ever owned. She weighs 7 pounds 7 ounces (very light for this model) and is very loud acoustically. I was concerned about possible feedback, but last night, I used her on a gig with no issues.

    I have a 1996 WESMO and I have to say, I prefer the CES. Less feedback and a slightly warmer and thicker tone. Every player will have to answer that debate for themselves.

    Well I can say with certainty that this is my last guitar purchase.........until the next one.

    Oh Yeah, pictures or it didn't happen right? The first bunch was taken after I took her out of the box. The last picture is with the new saddle and knobs. 2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l5cesn1-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l5cesn2-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l-5cesn3-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l-5cesn4-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l-5cesn5-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l-5cesn6-jpg2003 Gibson L-5CESN-l5inblack-jpg
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Congrats, beautiful guitar. May she inspire your playing for years to come!

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by v281 View Post
    Congrats, beautiful guitar. May she inspire your playing for years to come!
    Thanks! At my age, I will be happy just having years to come!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  5. #4

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    Wow. I don't think I've ever seen any other picture of Wes Montgomery with a natural/blonde guitar.

    Congratulations and I would love to hear you play that beauty.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Wow. I don't think I've ever seen any other picture of Wes Montgomery with a natural/blonde guitar.

    Congratulations and I would love to hear you play that beauty.
    The next time you come to California, let's get together and you will!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  7. #6

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    Stringswinger, congratulations on this gorgeous beauty! I also have a 2003 L5CESN which is one of my two "alltime favorites" and i can imagine that yours is equivalent to it!
    _________
    JazzNote

  8. #7

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    SS that is fantastic and a real beauty. I must admit I am bit more fond of the pickups that are gold plated. It looks great but to bad they are not all gold I think it would look better than it already does. Play as a tune on it and gives up a video I would love too, to hear to play.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  9. #8

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    The old Harley saying: Chrome won’t get you home.
    The stealth look works. Take it all the way. Powder coat the tailpiece gloss black and get the center medallion gold plated. Black with gold highlights....cool.
    Stunning woods ! Congrats Marco .

  10. #9

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    Attachment 64926
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Wow. I don't think I've ever seen any other picture of Wes Montgomery with a natural/blonde guitar.

    Congratulations and I would love to hear you play that beauty.

  11. #10

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    Wow that's beautiful, I love any L5, but especially blondes! I just got my first about a month ago. They're not just incredible guitars, they're an experience to own and behold. Congratulations!

  12. #11

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    Great story, ss! Congratulations, and play it in good health for many years to come!
    Best regards, k

  13. #12

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    Again, this was a great deal for both parties, cincy2 let it go for a "get it sold immediately" price and the right guy got it imo. SS mentioned a blonde CES was on his bucket list for some time now.
    Enjoy that one, cool thing is that baby will no longer be a closet queen, you know he'll work it!

    btw, I was pretty sure you'd dig the twin pickup configuration, I was having a ball working the past 2 nights blending the pickups on my old '69 L-5.

  14. #13
    Great figuring on that Blonde bombshell. Well deserved to a great guitarist. I like the black and tan look.

  15. #14

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    Very Happy L5 NGD to you!!!

  16. #15

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    "Fairest of them all?"

    Very blonde & beautiful, congratulations!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNote View Post
    Stringswinger, congratulations on this gorgeous beauty! I also have a 2003 L5CESN which is one of my two "alltime favorites" and i can imagine that yours is equivalent to it!
    Thank you. As a new member of the L-5CES club, I have to say. I get it. Until one is a full on member, you cannot fully understand how great these guitars are.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    SS that is fantastic and a real beauty. I must admit I am bit more fond of the pickups that are gold plated. It looks great but to bad they are not all gold I think it would look better than it already does. Play as a tune on it and gives up a video I would love too, to hear to play.
    You need to get one of these Mark. Only a Gibson is good enough...
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    The old Harley saying: Chrome won’t get you home.
    The stealth look works. Take it all the way. Powder coat the tailpiece gloss black and get the center medallion gold plated. Black with gold highlights....cool.
    Stunning woods ! Congrats Marco .
    If I can find one of those 80's L-5 tailpiece inserts in Ebony for a reasonable price, I am going for it....Thanks Vinny! All those wooden saddles you gave me have now found homes on my guitars.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6v6ster View Post
    Wow that's beautiful, I love any L5, but especially blondes! I just got my first about a month ago. They're not just incredible guitars, they're an experience to own and behold. Congratulations!
    Thank you! Everything you wrote is spot on.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    Great story, ss! Congratulations, and play it in good health for many years to come!
    Thanks K, I am hoping for both the health and the many years (another 30 years would be just right).
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    Again, this was a great deal for both parties, cincy2 let it go for a "get it sold immediately" price and the right guy got it imo. SS mentioned a blonde CES was on his bucket list for some time now.
    Enjoy that one, cool thing is that baby will no longer be a closet queen, you know he'll work it!

    btw, I was pretty sure you'd dig the twin pickup configuration, I was having a ball working the past 2 nights blending the pickups on my old '69 L-5.
    Yep, you were right about me digging it and you are right about her case queen days being over! Thanks!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhoadsscholar View Post
    Great figuring on that Blonde bombshell. Well deserved to a great guitarist. I like the black and tan look.
    Thanks RS! I dig the black and tan look myself.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Very Happy L5 NGD to you!!!
    Thank you sir!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    "Fairest of them all?"

    Very blonde & beautiful, congratulations!
    And a very fair deal to boot! Thanks!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  26. #25

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    Congrats Stringswinger. Very nice story. Everything comes one day or another to the righteous.

    Cheers.
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Archtop View Post
    Congrats Stringswinger. Very nice story. Everything comes one day or another to the righteous.

    Cheers.
    Thanks! This guitar sure is righteous.....me, I always do my best and keep my word. So far it has worked out quite well.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  28. #27

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    Looks great, SS, and it is, I imagine, happy to find itself in good hands. Have fun together.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Looks great, SS, and it is, I imagine, happy to find itself in good hands. Have fun together.
    Thanks Rob! I think we are well suited. It seems that I get along quite well with Gibson L-5's.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  30. #29

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    Its all been said already SS, it is a great acquisition and forumites
    in their numbers have declared so, you will cherish that guitar for
    sure. Have many years of enjoyment with it

    Best 007

  31. #30

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    So glad she went to a good home. Best of luck!

    Cincy
    2019 Holst 16" Custom

  32. #31

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    It’s a beauty! Congrats!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post

    I have a 1996 WESMO and I have to say, I prefer the CES. Less feedback and a slightly warmer and thicker tone. Every player will have to answer that debate for themselves.
    I wonder if there is a construction difference between WesMo's and CES's other than having or not having the bridge pickup. I've at times removed the bridge pickup from my archtops, it may affect the feedback resistance but it doesn't change the amplified tone very much. Without the bridge pickup, sound gets slightly more open and less compressed, but it doesn't get brighter and thinner. WesMo's are built with thinner top and braces perhaps.

  34. #33

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    That's a beauty. Another model I'd like to try but maybe I shouldn't with my GAS hstory.

    I'm kind of new here but after reading a lot of the OP's posts I'm glad it wound up with him if that makes sense. Also glad it stayed here in family.

    Big congrats!!

  35. #34

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    Marco, you can make a book of matches sound great. I’m sure this guitar is gonna make a lot of people smile.
    You have picked the greatest guitars of all time to make your own. The connection between L5’s and DA’s is undeniable. You must walk into your guitar room every night and feel proud of the things you’ve accomplished and life you have lived. You made great moves Marco. Always a kind word and you even set people back into their place in a gentlemanly way.
    You deserve everything you got.
    Enjoy this guitar and many others to come. You are not done. Not by a long shot.
    Joe D

  36. #35
    Just lovely Ss! Congrats, HNGD and play her in good health!
    Midnight Blues

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverfoxx View Post
    Its all been said already SS, it is a great acquisition and forumites
    in their numbers have declared so, you will cherish that guitar for
    sure. Have many years of enjoyment with it

    Best 007
    Thanks 007. Your past comments about the superior tone of the CES vs. the WESMO were, IMO, correct. And to be sure, the WESMO is a great guitar (as is the Super 400CES, which I also have in my collection), but for an electric archtop, the Gibson L-5CES is "King of the hill".
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincy2 View Post
    So glad she went to a good home. Best of luck!

    Cincy
    Thanks again Cincy. Keeping these great archtops in the JGF family is a wonderful thing!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark M. View Post
    It’s a beauty! Congrats!
    Thank you sir!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I wonder if there is a construction difference between WesMo's and CES's other than having or not having the bridge pickup. I've at times removed the bridge pickup from my archtops, it may affect the feedback resistance but it doesn't change the amplified tone very much. Without the bridge pickup, sound gets slightly more open and less compressed, but it doesn't get brighter and thinner. WesMo's are built with thinner top and braces perhaps.
    I believe the WESMO has one less brace in addition to the one less pickup. I think that additional brace adds to the warm and thick tone of the CES. I love my WESMO and will be keeping her as well, but the CES is the better guitar and being more feedback resistant is also the more "useful" guitar.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by 73Fender View Post
    That's a beauty. Another model I'd like to try but maybe I shouldn't with my GAS hstory.

    I'm kind of new here but after reading a lot of the OP's posts I'm glad it wound up with him if that makes sense. Also glad it stayed here in family.

    Big congrats!!
    Thanks! IMO, it makes perfect sense that it wound up with me. Now I know how lottery winners feel.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    Marco, you can make a book of matches sound great. I’m sure this guitar is gonna make a lot of people smile.
    You have picked the greatest guitars of all time to make your own. The connection between L5’s and DA’s is undeniable. You must walk into your guitar room every night and feel proud of the things you’ve accomplished and life you have lived. You made great moves Marco. Always a kind word and you even set people back into their place in a gentlemanly way.
    You deserve everything you got.
    Enjoy this guitar and many others to come. You are not done. Not by a long shot.
    Joe D
    Thanks JD. As I approach my 62nd birthday (3 months away), I look back on a life well lived, but indeed I am not done. There is more music to be played. Having the gift to play music well carries a responsibility, namely to use that gift. I am still out about 4 nights each week making the music happen. I am back up to 10 archtops (two of which once belonged to you) and all say either Gibson or D'Angelico on the headstock. These are the guitars that inspire my playing. Every player must find the right instrument(s) to make their journey a success. So far, so good here.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blues View Post
    Just lovely Ss! Congrats, HNGD and play her in good health!
    Thank you sir!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  44. #43

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    Beautiful! Enjoy.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    Beautiful! Enjoy.
    Thank you!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  46. #45

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    Beautiful guitar in very capable hands! Enjoy!!

  47. #46

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    My L5ces is indeed a very inspiring guitar to play. Hard to quantify, but it's there. Also for some reason my VOS1959 ES175 inspires me. I seem to play at my best on those two instruments. I get to CA every few years, so next time I'm headed that way, I want to hear that beauty.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan View Post
    Beautiful guitar in very capable hands! Enjoy!!
    Thanks! It is a good thing that a real D'Aquisto never made it on to my bucket list. I would have to give up being a musician and go back to practicing law to cross one of those off my list.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    My L5ces is indeed a very inspiring guitar to play. Hard to quantify, but it's there. Also for some reason my VOS1959 ES175 inspires me. I seem to play at my best on those two instruments. I get to CA every few years, so next time I'm headed that way, I want to hear that beauty.
    Looking forward to it Lawson! And I have guitars for you to play, including a VOS 1959 ES-175.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Looking forward to it Lawson! And I have guitars for you to play, including a VOS 1959 ES-175.
    I imagine anything in your harem would be splendid musical company during a visit. I have sporadic speaking engagements in CA near San Jose, and friends in Santa Barbara, so somehow it's got to happen.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    The old Harley saying: Chrome won’t get you home.
    >>SNIP<<
    Neither will a Harley :-) Ouch :-)

    That's a seriously nice L5 in my fave color, good luck with it.
    Regards,

    Gary