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  1. #1
    Last October 29 was a very special day. Exactly 70 years ago, on saturday October 29, 1949, a 23-year old young man called Irvin Lynn walked into the Wurlitzer music store on Main Street in Buffalo, NY. I guess he was very nervous, excited and hadn't slept for a few days because he went there to buy the guitar of his dreams: a 1949 Gibson ES-5N, a big blonde beauty, that had left the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo just a few days before (I know from the serial number and the shipping ledgers that the guitar left the Gibson factory between October 1 and October 29, 1949. Irvin paid $390.00 for his new guitar. He got a black Geib case with it (still have it with the guitar). Did he order the guitar himself? Did he see it in the window of the Wurlitzer store and fell in love with it? I'm not sure...how do I know all this at all? Because I'm the (second!) owner of the guitar now and I've found a card with all this information that Irvin wrote and stuck inside the body of the guitar. The card is still there, deep inside the maple beauty. Here's the guitar now, exactly 70 years later, over here in Europe:This is the building nowadays (674 Main Street, Buffalo, NY). In 1949 there was a showroom in this building of the Rudolph Wurlitzer music company. They sold jukeboxes but also other kinds of musical instruments:Just a few days later (November 2, 1949) it would be his birthday and Irvin would turn 24. Was it a birthday present? I don't know. Irvin returned from the far east earlier that year, after being away as a sailor on board of the aircraft carrier USS-Antietam (CV-36) since 1945. Irvin joined the NAVY and the USS-Antietam in early 1945. So perhaps he bought the guitar with his NAVY-money? Perhaps it was a birthday gift from his mother who he had lived alone with since 1927 when his father died, Irvin being just almost 2 years old? It was a big amount of money ($390.00) for a 23-year old sailor in those days. In fact, it was the most expensive electric Gibson guitar that you could buy in 1949! And also the most expensive 'natural' version too, a sunburst ES-5 had a price of 'only' $375.00 in 1949. Here's a picture of the USS-Antietam with some of the crew in 1945...Irvin could be there too, who knows?Only 22 ES-5N's were built by Gibson in 1949, being the first production year of the guitar. Irvin bought one of these 22 guitars, and another (more famous) guitar player also bought one of these 22 1949 ES-5N guitars. His name was T-Bone Walker...so Irvin's guitar is like a 'sister' of T-Bone's guitar. The USS-Antietam returned to the far east at the start of the Korean war. With Irvin and perhaps even with the guitar? I don't know. Irvin never married and never got any children. After doing research for almost 2 years I've know discovered some family members (family of his mother) that knew Irvin. He owned the guitar for more than 60 years. I learned from the family that Irvin passed away last Christmas, aged 93. May he rest in peace.Here are some more pics of the guitar he loved so much:
    Last edited by 58dutchie; 11-17-2019 at 01:32 PM.

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  3. #2

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    What a great guitar and obviously in great condition as well. Don't you just love it when a guitar this old has a known story/history behind it. Let' s thank Irvin that he shared his story on a card hidden inside the guitar. Did you find it by accident?
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    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  4. #3
    Yes, I found it by accident. I was checking the pots (date code etc) with a small light and then I saw it. It's stuck against the side of the guitar, in the area of the input jack. It's still in the guitar now. I made a picture of it by putting my iPhone (very thin) carefully through the treble f-hole. In the picture I was able to read what was written on the card. Later I also found his name and address written under the trussrod-cover and his NAVY service number written on the underside of the tailpiece. This guitar is like a time-capsule, haha! I even found a 40's Gibson plectrum inside the body! The guitar is in great and all original condition indeed, apart from a repair on the hinge of the tailpiece (a weak point of this type of tailpiece, happens a lot) and a changed pickup spacer under the bridge pickup (because of 'gassing' of the original one I guess). Apart from that, all else is totally stock and in good shape, original frets, pots date to 1949. Case is original Geib. She plays great and sounds divine: played unamplified she almost sounds like an acoustic archtop (L5-ish).
    Last edited by 58dutchie; 11-17-2019 at 07:41 AM.

  5. #4
    What a wonderful story and what a beautiful guitar!
    Midnight Blues

  6. #5

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    Fantastic - Enjoy her in good health!
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    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  7. #6

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    That is a great story. Your research efforts to discover the history behind this beautiful instrument is an act of love of a truly worthy partner that the guitar has found in you. Enjoy playing it and make great music. Thanks for sharing and happy new guitar day!

  8. #7

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    Wonderful story all round. Makes you want to play it with respect.

  9. #8

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    If only all of us, players and collectors, would keep such history of the pieces that go through our hands. Thanks for the history lesson.

  10. #9

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    What a great story! Irvin took great care of this wonderful instrument, and now it has passed to you. I know you will do right by it. I'm officially envious. Three P-90s and four knobs just makes me giddy.

    Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Best regards, k

  11. #10

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    A great story indeed. Congrats on the new guitar. Looks great. Did you import it from the US?

    DB

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    A great story indeed. Congrats on the new guitar. Looks great. Did you import it from the US?

    DB
    Yes, Andy Babiuk’s Fab Gear in Fairport/Rochester, NY

  13. #12

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    Love to hear this beauty! Great story & photos, 58dutchie - thank you!

  14. #13

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    Holy smoke! What a great guitar and what a great story. That guitar and an old Fender Pro Amp, and I'd be...Heaven...I'm in heaven...I'm in heaven and my...

    Aw, you know...

  15. #14

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    Often I look at my vintage guitars and think what stories they could tell if then could only speak. Thanks to your excellent sleuthing skills, here's a guitar that speaks its story in full. And what a glorious story it is! It's not the story of a famous guitarist and a famous guitar. It's the story of one person's love of music and the instrument used to nuture that love. It touches each of us because it reflects our own life stories. My hat's off to you Dutchie for your work and sharing this tale.

  16. #15

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    Great post with cool pics! Enjoyed it.