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  1. #1

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    Hi,
    I am currently looking around for plating companies to replate my tailpiece on the Newly Acquired Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery, and I just noticed that the tailpiece on my guitar doesn't have the "L5" insignia etched into it.
    Is that normal? I just looked at a 2005 (same Model) that Gregs Guitars had for sale and I noticed that guitar did have the L5 insignia.
    Its shocking to me that I didnt notice this before.
    I am hoping some had it and some didnt.
    Please let me know.
    JD

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi, Joe.

    I have a 2001 Wes. It does have “L5” etched on the tailpiece.

    I haven’t weighed in for a while, but love your new guitar (looks just like mine) and your playing, as always. Especially appreciate your heart for the music and others.

    Larry

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Hi,
    I am currently looking around for plating companies to replate my tailpiece on the Newly Acquired Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery, and I just noticed that the tailpiece on my guitar doesn't have the "L5" insignia etched into it.
    Is that normal? I just looked at a 2005 (same Model) that Gregs Guitars had for sale and I noticed that guitar did have the L5 insignia.
    Its shocking to me that I didnt notice this before.
    I am hoping some had it and some didnt.
    Please let me know.
    JD
    I'd start by trying to contact Gibson and ask if there has been some history of the tailpieces. Perhaps there was an era in which the L5 was not engraved on the tailpiece? I don't know, but I'd check with Gibson first. I have found a couple of 1990's WesMos online that did not seem to have the engraving, but the pictures were not absolutely clear so I can't be certain.

  5. #4

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    For a short period they made them with a resin badge with "L5" inlaid in pearl, similar to the JS. I always that one was the best looking.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Hi,
    I am currently looking around for plating companies to replate my tailpiece on the Newly Acquired Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery, and I just noticed that the tailpiece on my guitar doesn't have the "L5" insignia etched into it.
    Is that normal? I just looked at a 2005 (same Model) that Gregs Guitars had for sale and I noticed that guitar did have the L5 insignia.
    Its shocking to me that I didnt notice this before.
    I am hoping some had it and some didnt.
    Please let me know.
    JD
    This is the tailpiece on one of my L-5 Signatures, from 2003:

    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-l-5sig-tp_01-jpg

    All of mine are from 2002-2004 and all are the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    For a short period they made them with a resin badge with "L5" inlaid in pearl, similar to the JS. I always that one was the best looking.
    These were made in the late '80's to around 1992. Here's a '92:

    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-l-5-92-cesn-front-2-jpg

    Danny W.

  7. #6

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    I’m shocked you didn’t notice it upon first viewing too, for that’s the first thing I look for, especially on a late model 2005. I had a 2005 Hutchins WesMo that definitely had the tailpiece stamp. There’s a story going on somewhere.

  8. #7

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    Bro the tailpiece on your guitar is not a counterfeit. Gibson just screwed up and used a L4 tailpiece by mistake or were out of L5 tailpieces at the moment.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Bro the tailpiece on your guitar is not a counterfeit. Gibson just screwed up and used a L4 tailpiece by mistake or were out of L5 tailpieces at the moment.
    Joe- I agree with Vinny , he knows more about Gibson than most folks. I found a used Wes tail pc without the L5 etching that sold on Reverb. Of course I cannot validate the originality of the tail pc on Reverb - but I do trust what Vinny said

    Gibson L5 Custom Wes Montgomery Tailpiece Gibson L5 Custom Wes Montgomery Tailpiece | Richard's | Reverb

  10. #9

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    L4CES tailpiece Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-35f66104-e838-4dee-9a0c-6bb13167fe5d-jpg

  11. #10

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    That made me feel better.
    Our offline conversations almost made me hang myself.
    JD

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny W.
    These were made in the late 80's to around 1992. Here's a '92
    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-l-5-92-cesn-front-2-jpg
    Yeah that's what I was talkin bout!

  13. #12

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    Joe

    I just thought of something - -

    If - - you're going to have it plated anyway -meaning -
    You'll have some sort of blank slate anyway - -

    Why not find a way to add your initials ?

    Similar font maybe ??

    Dennis

  14. #13

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    I never liked that ebonyish medallion and was glad they got rid of it after a few yrs.
    That said I've never seen an L5 that wasn't a custom order not having the engraving after the 30's besides that short run in the late 80s early 90s.
    I always thought the coolest features cosmetically were the torch inlay, the cupid's bow at the end of the fingerboard and the engraved t.p. Honestly, I'd rather it have the L5 engraving than Wes Montgomery. If it was mine I'd swap it for one w the engraving if I could, but that's me.
    Last edited by wintermoon; 08-13-2020 at 04:11 PM.

  15. #14

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    Joe, I would get one that was engraved and then sell the one you have probably can be done.

  16. #15

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    always have to be careful with this kind of thing...15 years from now, they'll be saying a select few wes' went out with a different tailpiece..now a $carce rarity!!..hah

    cheers

  17. #16

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    Or it could be one of these Japanese tailpieces that someone swapped in, yeah, that's the ticket. Of course, they would have had to strip the paint on the badge, grind off the existing engraved strip, polish it back up, get it engraved with the Wes name, silverplate it, and tarnish the silver. Seems a bit ... unlikely.

    Er, ah, maybe you should take a Valium, get a bottle of silver plating solution, and magically restore the badge all by yourself. Here are few typical products that do the job:

    Robot Check

    Silverplater - 4 oz. (133 ml) - Caswell Canada

    Silver Plating Solution | RKM Nushine
    Attached Images Attached Images Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-75ariape180cf-3-1300-jpg 

  18. #17

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    IF i don't have a genuine Gibson Tailpiece on my guitar, then its my own fault. I saw clear pictures of it before I pulled the trigger. I made a decision and I have to live with it. Just another reason to:
    - buy new
    - or buy from a friend who bought new
    - buy from reputable store who will stand behind what they sell and offer a return policy -
    - OR - Don't be a idiot next time and do my homework.

    In retrospect, I should have done my homework.

    Tailpiece aside, The guitar is still an excellent L5. I think I love it even more now. But as we know, "Replacement anything" on a guitar like this devalues it. So I am probably a victim of my own ignorance.
    I am hoping to get a new Tailpiece in the future (if Gibson will sell one to me), when I can afford it. Then, this guitar will be dressed up like she deserves to be.

    Joe D

  19. #18

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    "But as we know, "Replacement anything" on a guitar like this devalues it."

    yeah, but who knows if it already is a replacement


    funny that Wes' own guitar didn't have Wes Montgomery on the tailpiece like other 60s Gibson artist models like the Johnny Smith and Tal Farlow, but rather inlaid on the body where the toggle normally would be on a standard CES model.


  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    "But as we know, "Replacement anything" on a guitar like this devalues it."

    yeah, but who knows if it already is a replacement


    funny that Wes' own guitar didn't have Wes Montgomery on the tailpiece like other 60s Gibson artist models like the Johnny Smith and Tal Farlow, but rather inlaid on the body where the toggle normally would be on a standard CES model.

    Backwards humbucker? And quite a cufflink!

  21. #20

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    I had some offline discussions with JD about this subject today. My L-5CES came to me with no gold ( all of the gold had been polished polished off by the seller) and it needs to be replated. I bought a tailpiece from a Reverb seller to use while mine is out for the replate (I'll get around to that up the road when this pandemic has mellowed).

    The tailpiece I bought was a factory second made by Bigsby for Gibson and sold off by a music store some years ago. I paid $250 for it shipped. It has no L-5 Engraving and no hole for a varitone screw (much like the late 80's/early 90's L-5 tailpieces) and it also has no engraving where the varitone screw would go. The underside has less than stellar welds (I have seen this kind of stuff on Gibson tailpieces that were not factory seconds) making this a factory second. Here are the pics:

    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-l5tp-jpgWes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-l-5tp1-jpg

  22. #21

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    "Backwards humbucker? And quite a cufflink"

    yeah, I think Wes thought it gave a brighter sound backwards. I only noticed the cufflink today and just noticed the extra wide cutout on the guard, I guess so his thumb wouldn't contact it as easily.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    " and just noticed the extra wide cutout on the guard, I guess so his thumb wouldn't contact it as easily.
    or so that he could adjust his pup height without removing the "fingerrest"

    the reversed humbucker also places the pole pieces at the 24th fret node...(despite the non believers!) haha



    cheers

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    or so that he could adjust his pup height without removing the "fingerrest"

    the reversed humbucker also places the pole pieces at the 24th fret node...(despite the non believers!) haha



    cheers
    I don't think so NA, that screw is accessible even on a standard CES guard

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I don't think so NA, that screw is accessible even on a standard CES guard
    not for wes...he was all thumb(s)!!! haha

    cheers

  26. #25

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    I purchased my Wes L5 right when they came out, around 1993. Mine has the L5 engraving and "Wes Montgomery" on the medallion.

  27. #26

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    I wonder if the plating on these modern L-5s is thinner than the old ones.
    Seem to see a lot of recent or semi recent ones that are worn off.

  28. #27

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    Joe I think Vinny is right, they must have used an L4 tp and used the Wes insert. I found this photo online from an old reverb sale where a guy is also selling an L5 Wes tailpiece and it doesn't have the L5 etched into it. There are a few like this out there. Just keep it original!

    I would be curious to see what Gibson says though. Maybe a phone call can get you some information. It wouldn't bother me personally. As long as you know it's legit, you're good to go!

    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-ksndw5ctqfl5mfud7xc1-jpg

  29. #28

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    I’ve gone online and it seems that once in a while you find one without the L5 insignia engraved into the tailpiece. It doesn’t seem right to me, but it is what it is.
    I put a mirror under the top plate where strings attach and there is no serial number engraved.
    I even had a serial number engraved under the pickup bracket of my Johnny Smith.
    I reached out to Gibson for help. Let’s see what they say.
    JD

  30. #29

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    Certainly wouldn't stop me from buying the guitar either way, not nearly enough of a deal breaker imo, it likely just came that way for whatever reason.
    I might keep my eye open for an L5 engraved t.p but I wouldn't lose sleep over it, especially if it played and sounded, more important imo in the end especially when $ isn't a determining factor.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    I’ve gone online and it seems that once in a while you find one without the L5 insignia engraved into the tailpiece. It doesn’t seem right to me, but it is what it is. I put a mirror under the top plate where strings attach and there is no serial number engraved. I even had a serial number engraved under the pickup bracket of my Johnny Smith. I reached out to Gibson for help. Let’s see what they say. JD
    FWIW, Gibson was inconsistent when it can to engraving serial numbers on tailpieces and the undersides of bridge bases for these guitars.

  32. #31

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    In my humble, probably worthless opinion, the L 5 engraving in particular, has always looked amateurish and not up to the level workmanship of the rest of the guitar. Apparently, its symbol value is immense. You can find much finer detail, true engraving instead of incisions, on banjos of much lesser pedigree.

  33. #32

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    JD, if anything could go wrong, this is the least of things that could go wrong. Your L5 WM has one of the nicest sunburst finishes and flamed maple backs that I have seen. Be thankful that the tailpiece is mounted square and straight, not off-centre. Yup, I have seen one or two of those in WR.

    I don't think it is a fake tailpiece. Gibson would probably not do anything about it.

    There could be far worse problems. I bet you did not get a COA with it, too...
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 08-14-2020 at 06:20 AM.

  34. #33

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  35. #34

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    Jabbs, thank you brother. That's where this Tailpiece is going once we confirm it is the Original Gibson Part.
    I appreciate you lookin out for me buddy.
    And you are soooo right. The rest of this guitar is not just good, its extraordinary. And you are right again. No COA. The seller didn't even know what that was.. He suggested the stickers on the inside of the Guitar, signed by James Hutchins, were enough. I kind of agree.

    JD

  36. #35

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    You know I woke up this morning (after a good night sleep, I tend to gauge reality by how I feel when I wake up in the morning).
    And I was little bit down about the guitar. I walked into the Guitar room and said hi to the 165. Then I walked over to the Wes, hanging in the wall case to the left. And for some reason, it was lit up, without the help of direct sunlight. There it was, my Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery.
    It looked so perfect. So symmetrical. Shiny beyond belief. My entire mood changed. I got an L5.
    Enough with the drama. I am a lucky guy.
    Thanks for all the support. Yesterday was a tough day. The rest of time with this guitar is gonna be great.
    I played it last night. That unmistakable thick, brutish tone (DB, maybe not thunk but it is good) was so pleasing. Sustain, depth, note separation, Auto-pilot playability.. This IS the one. My baby.
    JD

  37. #36

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    Yeah, but you know you're fickle. You'll be lusting after a different one soon enough.

  38. #37

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    Joe:
    I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I can’t imagine a situation where the original tailpiece would have been removed and replaced with a fake on a relatively recent L5 Wes. I have never seen an L5 tailpiece break, because they are made in one piece, without a hinge. I also don’t think I would bother having it replated unless the gold is really bad. It certainly didn’t look bad in the pictures you posted. Enjoy the guitar and don’t worry about this minor thing.
    Keith

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    You know I woke up this morning (after a good night sleep, I tend to gauge reality by how I feel when I wake up in the morning).
    And I was little bit down about the guitar. I walked into the Guitar room and said hi to the 165. Then I walked over to the Wes, hanging in the wall case to the left. And for some reason, it was lit up, without the help of direct sunlight. There it was, my Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery.
    It looked so perfect. So symmetrical. Shiny beyond belief. My entire mood changed. I got an L5.
    Enough with the drama. I am a lucky guy.
    Thanks for all the support. Yesterday was a tough day. The rest of time with this guitar is gonna be great.
    I played it last night. That unmistakable thick, brutish tone (DB, maybe not thunk but it is good) was so pleasing. Sustain, depth, note separation, Auto-pilot playability.. This IS the one. My baby.
    JD
    Joe
    Since everything else with this guitar is extraordinary, and since you DO care about the tailpiece issue, I just suggest you slow-walk, but don't stop, the search to correct it. Keep it in mind, stay "on the hunt" for the right solution, but don't let it ruin your enjoyment of the guitar. One day you'll be absent-mindedly cruising Reverb or this forum and BOOM there it will be, the tailpiece that you're looking for and you'll pounce on it. But let it be a back-burner thing. That way (a) you aren't giving up or trying the impossible "I'll just stop caring about it" and (b) you'll be doing something (watching out for it) but (c) you'll be enjoying the guitar and making great music. Meanwhile, you might learn that the omitted L5 engraving might ID the instrument as especially rare or unusual, and that would be cool too.

    You can't just stop caring about something. The harder you try, the more it will bother you. So just procrastinate. Slow-walk. Think about it, make it a little side-hobby to be investigating these tailpieces and one day you'll hit on a solution and it will be all the more satisfying for the "hunt" that led to it.

    Most importantly, it will allow you to keep bonding with this guitar and keep posting those amazing clips we all love to watch and listen to!

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I had some offline discussions with JD about this subject today. My L-5CES came to me with no gold ( all of the gold had been polished polished off by the seller) and it needs to be replated. I bought a tailpiece from a Reverb seller to use while mine is out for the replate (I'll get around to that up the road when this pandemic has mellowed).

    The tailpiece I bought was a factory second made by Bigsby for Gibson and sold off by a music store some years ago. I paid $250 for it shipped. It has no L-5 Engraving and no hole for a varitone screw (much like the late 80's/early 90's L-5 tailpieces) and it also has no engraving where the varitone screw would go. The underside has less than stellar welds (I have seen this kind of stuff on Gibson tailpieces that were not factory seconds) making this a factory second. Here are the pics:
    I paid $250 for a similar tailpiece...it came with a guitar attached to it, however. I'm not joking, I really just wanted the tailpiece, but the guitar turned out to be great!
    Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-sebring-l5-1-jpgWes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-sebring-l5-jpg

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Yeah, but you know you're fickle. You'll be lusting after a different one soon enough.
    Guilty as charged..
    But, I honestly see myself having 2 of these one day. One with a floater.
    I didnt forget, but I really was impressed with how well these guitars play. Autopilot. I did forget how well they sound. I dont think I was ever able to coax the right sound out of the 2 I owned before. I think I got better. LOOK OUT!!

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Joe
    Since everything else with this guitar is extraordinary, and since you DO care about the tailpiece issue, I just suggest you slow-walk, but don't stop, the search to correct it. Keep it in mind, stay "on the hunt" for the right solution, but don't let it ruin your enjoyment of the guitar. One day you'll be absent-mindedly cruising Reverb or this forum and BOOM there it will be, the tailpiece that you're looking for and you'll pounce on it. But let it be a back-burner thing. That way (a) you aren't giving up or trying the impossible "I'll just stop caring about it" and (b) you'll be doing something (watching out for it) but (c) you'll be enjoying the guitar and making great music. Meanwhile, you might learn that the omitted L5 engraving might ID the instrument as especially rare or unusual, and that would be cool too.

    You can't just stop caring about something. The harder you try, the more it will bother you. So just procrastinate. Slow-walk. Think about it, make it a little side-hobby to be investigating these tailpieces and one day you'll hit on a solution and it will be all the more satisfying for the "hunt" that led to it.

    Most importantly, it will allow you to keep bonding with this guitar and keep posting those amazing clips we all love to watch and listen to!
    Great advice Lawson. You should be an educator. A priest or something.
    You are so, so right.
    JD

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    Joe:
    I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I can’t imagine a situation where the original tailpiece would have been removed and replaced with a fake on a relatively recent L5 Wes. I have never seen an L5 tailpiece break, because they are made in one piece, without a hinge. I also don’t think I would bother having it replated unless the gold is really bad. It certainly didn’t look bad in the pictures you posted. Enjoy the guitar and don’t worry about this minor thing.
    Keith
    Thank you Keith. You are sooo right.
    But, remember who you are talking to here.. The guy who would RATHER have a COMPLETELY restored 1935 D'Angelico Excel in absolutely dead MINT condition who had to sell it, because he was afraid to break anything on it, so the idiot didn't play it, ever at all..
    I have mental problems..
    JD
    OH yeah.. And to make matters worse.. When I 1st received that guitar, It was in perfect, but dull condition. It was restored that way on purpose so it didn't too fake.. I was like, "f#%k that"! Out came the Porter Cable, Meguires 105 and the Menzerna PO85rd and the White, Orange and Black pads. 2 hours later, it looked probably 10x better than it did when it left John D'Angelicos shop in 1935. SS, correct me if I am wrong..
    Yes, I have serious mental problems..
    JD

  44. #43

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    +1 .....they took away my belt and shoelaces years ago.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    +1 .....they took away my belt and shoelaces years ago.
    replaced 'em with guitar strings tho!!

    haha

    cheers

  46. #45

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    Yeah, some guys here contemplate refinishing guitars that get a ding or lacquer check (you all know who you are!)

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Thank you Keith. You are sooo right.
    But, remember who you are talking to here.. The guy who would RATHER have a COMPLETELY restored 1935 D'Angelico Excel in absolutely dead MINT condition who had to sell it, because he was afraid to break anything on it, so the idiot didn't play it, ever at all..
    I have mental problems..
    JD
    OH yeah.. And to make matters worse.. When I 1st received that guitar, It was in perfect, but dull condition. It was restored that way on purpose so it didn't too fake.. I was like, "f#%k that"! Out came the Porter Cable, Meguires 105 and the Menzerna PO85rd and the White, Orange and Black pads. 2 hours later, it looked probably 10x better than it did when it left John D'Angelicos shop in 1935. SS, correct me if I am wrong..
    Yes, I have serious mental problems..
    JD
    Other than some binding shrinkage on the original 85 year old binding, the 35 Excel looks brand new. I was playing it this morning. Talk about "functional art"! Wes Montgomery "L5" Tailpiece Insignia-da1-jpg

  48. #47

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    Hi Joe

    Congrats on the new addition to your guitar family. The Wes Mo is a great guitar. I have often wondered how they compare to the L5 CES, but not going to risk marital discord to find out. Well, at least not anytime soon.

    My 98 Wes Mo has the L5 imprint on the tailpiece, like most I have seen. It does not have his name engraved on the medallion insert. My medallion is blank, like some I have seen. The orange sticker indicates it is the Wes Montgomery model. The entire tailpiece is a bit tarnished, like the pickup. Traces of the gold remain. I have come to expect that with Gibson guitars. My two Johnny Smiths from 74 and 81 respectively are the same.

    Play it in good health.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredH
    Hi Joe

    Congrats on the new addition to your guitar family. The Wes Mo is a great guitar. I have often wondered how they compare to the L5 CES, but not going to risk marital discord to find out. Well, at least not anytime soon.

    My 98 Wes Mo has the L5 imprint on the tailpiece, like most I have seen. It does not have his name engraved on the medallion insert. My medallion is blank, like some I have seen. The orange sticker indicates it is the Wes Montgomery model. The entire tailpiece is a bit tarnished, like the pickup. Traces of the gold remain. I have come to expect that with Gibson guitars. My two Johnny Smiths from 74 and 81 respectively are the same.

    Play it in good health.

    Fred I would be interested in your comparison of your 2 Smiths. That would be insightful.

  50. #49

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    Joe, i know how you feel. But this feeling will pass by when you start enjoying the guitar and have beaytiful memories with it. My only concern is the playability of a guitar. If a X tailpiece would make a better sound than the Gibson one i would care.
    Nevertheless the resale price changes, thats the only issue.
    I dont care about brands. I had an L-5 Ces and sold it because my Mr Wu was more likely to give the tone i was looking for. You can imagine yourself how less i care about big brands.
    If it were for me i would change the tailpiece of my L-5 for a Daquisto one and change the inlays for some abalone cheesy thing.
    Anyway your tailpiece looks like a Gibson one without the L-5 thing. I wouldnt care at all after a few weeks. In the moment that i realize i would be very angry as you are. But it will pass.
    Play it in good health.



    Enviado desde mi LG-H870 mediante Tapatalk

  51. #50

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    Mark:

    I will PM with a comparison of two Johnnies. Be happy to do it. I don't wont to detract from this thread and all the really great advice Joe has received.