1. #1

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    Prewar vs Postwar advanced L5-61b8799a-ba06-47f2-8f7e-32f848ae1c64-jpgI’ve been the super proud owner of a non cut L5N for over a year now, and am wondering about what I might be missing out on. Prewar L5s get a premium price wise, but is there anything really different from, let’s say a 39 and a 55?
    Last edited by customxke; 01-14-2020 at 12:32 PM.


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  3. #2

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    they're pretty much the same once they went back to parallel bracing in '39
    but having had several examples from '39 to the early 50s and playing many others, I notice that the early postwar models, '46 to the early 50's seem to be a little less sweet sounding but definitely punchier/louder.
    you'll find louder/sweeter etc in all eras of advanced guitars, but it just seems that early post war period are consistently louder/fuller sounding. why, I have no idea.
    I can't remember playing a non cut as late as your '55 so can't comment about those, I think '57 was the last year for non cuts

  4. #3

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    I haven't played enough post-war ones to generalize, but you might want to watch out for the fact that some post-war 40's L-5s have rosewood boards, and those will sound different. I personally think the ebony board is key to the acoustic "L-5" sound, but that's not to say a rosewood board doesn't sound good on one....

    But the guitar that got me looking for a long scale, parallel "advanced" L-5 was a 1946 or 1947. That I ended up with a 1939 was merely owing to what was on the market at the time, and dumb luck. That said, my 1939 is clearly a special one - a friend has been chasing the dragon of my 1939 after he used it at a gig, and he's got a great 1938 L-5 (also long scale and parallel) of his own.

  5. #4

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    Thanks Wintermoon and campusfive for your input. A few years ago, I decided to divest myself of a large collection of guitars, and focus on what I’d consider a “non-apologetic” collection....it turned out to be another rabbit hole. I couldn’t pass up my 2 L5s at their price point, but non-cut L5s from the postwar era seem to be outliers. Everyone talks about prewar archtops, but little is said about postwar acoustic L5s; good or bad. I played a 60s cutaway that was dead and had a very thick plate......I suspect that it was basically an L5CES without the electric components.....it sounded like a tub. My 55 is anything but.

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    btw, that's a lovely trio of natural Gibby's, excellent taste Jag!

  7. #6

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    I am not an expert with prewar L5s especially the 16 inch models. But without a doubt every late 30's Super 400 I have ever played has been a good great and mostly incredible great. Played one at Gruhn's years ago a 1938 he was shipping out to someone, to this day that guitar still rings in my ears what power but also response. It could be played hard or easy and respond. To me that is a key and one reason I favor Gibson over Epi's of same era. Find a late 30's Super 400 basically you have it covered for archtops.