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  1. #1

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    Hello all,

    I’m contemplating the purchase of a 2013 L-5 CES. In short, my question is this: Are these guitars from Gibson’s custom shop of lower quality than their predecessors?

    There’s been so much swirl surrounding “what happened to Gibson” and how their practices have changed. I can’t seem to find reliable information about seemingly basic things like whether the tops are carved or pressed. I certainly could search elsewhere for an older guitar, but I have access to this one, and so will be able to get my hands on it before deciding, which isn’t always possible with these guitars.

    Thanks in advance!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My 2003 L-5 CES is as good a guitar as I have ever played. I suspect the 2013 that you are considering will not disappoint. They are all hand carved guitars.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  4. #3

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    Not hand carved.
    They are rough-carved on the "Green Monster" - a machine that Gibson has been using for many, many years. There may be a bit of carving, but most of the final prep, after the top and back plates are carved by this machine, is done with with sanding.
    Attached Images Attached Images Post 90s L-5s-greenmonster-1-jpg 
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  5. #4

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    The Archtops from the Crimson Division of Gibson (Phillip Whorton) newer era. Are some of the best Gibson's I ever played,and that includes Golden Era 40's, 50's Gibson's as well.

  6. #5

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    My 2015 L5ces plays and sounds glorious. It had some color run into the binding, but lucky me, that lowered the price and did not hurt the function at all. And when I play, my arms cover the run-out color. At first glance, it just looks like play wear of some kind. Anyhow, the construction itself, the fit, the feel, the sound, is superb.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  7. #6

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    Yes there's a lot of Gibson 'swirl ' all right......If you can check out that particular guitar, great !.....I would be really curious about the guitar's paper trail since new.....as a '13, that time period was the beginning of the price drops 'til the high-buck archtop inventory was sold.....This was the inventory the dealers had been watching for too long as it hung on a wall with a high ( unrealistic ) price tag.
    ...Both Gibson itself and the dealers were learning the hard way they couldn't sell these for Gibson's prices.......I am guessing there was more than the usual trading between dealers of hard to move high buck archtops...( think 'musical chairs' )....
    I bought my 2014 WesMo from Dave's, in 2016 ( ? ) which included the case candy. It was basically unplayed, and I was told it was part of a new / late model collection that must've seemed like a good idea at the time to someone, but then had to be sold. All it needed was a pickup adjustment and set up, but ok !!
    So I'd bet the one you're considering has had very little wear, because it probably sat around for a good while, before it finally sold.

    Good luck !!!
    Last edited by Dennis D; 11-17-2019 at 10:17 AM.

  8. #7
    My WesMo was basically built in 2013 and shipped in 2014 by the Crimson Division and all I can type is that I love it!
    Last edited by Midnight Blues; 11-17-2019 at 03:49 PM.
    Midnight Blues

  9. #8

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    I have four L5’s (1952, 1963, 1975 and 2008. My 2008 L5CES is a fantastic guitar and every bit as good as my older ones. It actually has the nicest wood of them all. The fit and finish is excellent. The Classic ‘57’s sounds terrific. The color and shading of the sunburst is beautiful. The action is perfect (Plek’d at the custom shop when it was made). If you want a great L5, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one from that era.
    Keith

  10. #9

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    My '99 WesMo is a sweet guitar. Very pleased.
    Guitar Addicts Anonymous
    A 12 fret program

  11. #10

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    My 2003 L5CES is a gorgeous sounding guitar and despite any rumors which might say that the nineties Gibsons are superior, my 2013 LeGrand sounds and plays better than the 1998 i also own.
    _________
    JazzNote

  12. #11
    Thanks, Lawson. Great information. Any chance of any audio clips? Instead of prowling the dark corners of the interest for a used L-5, I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t spring for a new one. But about 5k more than the used ones...man, that’s tough to stomach.

  13. #12
    Thanks for your input, everyone. I’m disappointed to report that the guitar was in such bad shape, I couldn’t even entertain the idea of buying. I thought the asking price was a little much, and the seller was firm. Cosmetically it was gorgeous, but when I say bad shape, I’m referring to the set up. Or lack thereof. Intonation out. Neck was all out of whack, strings buzzing like crazy, which appeared to be brand new and couldn’t yet hold their tune. He told me he had changed the strings from rounds to flat. What he failed to mention he didn’t have it set up. Couldn’t get any real idea of the tonal qualities with neck as bowed as it was. No way I was gonna drop a chunk of change, only to get it home and find out the truss rod was broken. Oh well.

    I have half a mind to just order a new one from Gibson if they’re still cranking out good ones, as most of you seem to indicate is the case. But man, that sticker shock!

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by PenderJazz View Post
    Thanks for your input, everyone. I’m disappointed to report that the guitar was in such bad shape, I couldn’t even entertain the idea of buying. I thought the asking price was a little much, and the seller was firm. Cosmetically it was gorgeous, but when I say bad shape, I’m referring to the set up. Or lack thereof. Intonation out. Neck was all out of whack, strings buzzing like crazy, which appeared to be brand new and couldn’t yet hold their tune. He told me he had changed the strings from rounds to flat. What he failed to mention he didn’t have it set up. Couldn’t get any real idea of the tonal qualities with neck as bowed as it was. No way I was gonna drop a chunk of change, only to get it home and find out the truss rod was broken. Oh well.

    I have half a mind to just order a new one from Gibson if they’re still cranking out good ones, as most of you seem to indicate is the case. But man, that sticker shock!
    There's no way I'd ever buy a new Gibson or any other new production guitar. No guarantee even a new one will be properly set up. Don't let one poorly set instrument deter you. Be patient and one will pop up sooner or later and you'll save big.
    Last edited by wintermoon; 11-18-2019 at 10:48 PM.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    ... Be patient and one will pop up sooner or later and you'll save big.
    This.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PenderJazz View Post
    Thanks for your input, everyone. I’m disappointed to report that the guitar was in such bad shape, I couldn’t even entertain the idea of buying. I thought the asking price was a little much, and the seller was firm. Cosmetically it was gorgeous, but when I say bad shape, I’m referring to the set up. Or lack thereof. Intonation out. Neck was all out of whack, strings buzzing like crazy, which appeared to be brand new and couldn’t yet hold their tune. He told me he had changed the strings from rounds to flat. What he failed to mention he didn’t have it set up. Couldn’t get any real idea of the tonal qualities with neck as bowed as it was.
    FWIW, I assume every guitar I buy is going to need a setup - -including and especially a new one. I am fortunate to have found a luthier in town, and especially if I'm considering a vintage one with possible top sink and or tr issues, etc etc, I get his eyes on it .
    So, I don't know who does your other guitar setups, but if you have a luthier doing them, maybe plan on having him inspect the next guitar you find. If you don't yet have a go-to luthier, the time it takes to find one is well spent.

    Good luck and just MHO.