View Poll Results: Your L5 choice

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85. You may not vote on this poll
  • L5 acoustic floater ok

    15 17.65%
  • L5ces 2 pickup

    34 40.00%
  • L5 Wes 1 pickup

    36 42.35%
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  1. #1

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    You have 3 choices only. You can buy a Gibson L5 of approximately same vintage of each choice. Does not matter the actual difference in price. It is your guitar to play. Pick what L5 you would buy? Assume cutaway.

    1. L5 acoustic ( a floater ok)

    2. L5 ces 2 pickups

    3 L5 Wes one neck pickup.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    3 -- a mounted pup usually sounds fatter than a floater and I have no use for the bridge pup.

  4. #3

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    None of them have 24.75" scale so I'm out of luck. Pity since I like the 17" body. But I do like a top mounted single PU configuration...

  5. #4

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    An L-5CES with two humbuckers would pretty much ring my chimes. Blonde, sunburst, black, blue, metallic green, gold-top, red sparkle, whatever. That tailpiece, '57 Classics, a set of 0.012s, I'm good to go. Oh, and the case it will rarely be in.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 01-14-2021 at 01:41 PM. Reason: typo

  6. #5

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    Agree completely. While I have never played a 2 pickup CES, I own both a Wes Mo and an L5 with a floater. The set pickup has a fatter sound that cuts through. The BJB floater is thinner. Two very distinct sounds.

  7. #6

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    No bridge pickup, no clean harmonic soloing. I know, I’ve said it before.

  8. #7
    I voted acoustic because that is my primary way I look at an archtop. I have no real reason to have a bridge pickup so the Wes is my 2nd choice. I am interested also in how if effects the used market for these too. That said I would not all mind having a Wes over an acoustic depending on cost.

  9. #8

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    L5P 4 Me!

  10. #9

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    I voted for the WesMo as i already own two L5CES and rarely ever use the bridge pickup.

  11. #10

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    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-l-5-sig-collection-1-jpg

    It's not a poll I can honestly answer--I find each choice serves a purpose and I enjoy playing all of them.

    Danny W.

  12. #11

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    Danny,
    Oh my God.
    I just don’t know what to say..
    Beautiful.
    Joe D

  13. #12

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    Danny W,

    No argument with that, if you have a selection to choose from. You're choices are phenomenal!

    Me, I have to suffer with my Premier. ?

    Steve

  14. #13

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    I'll pick the acoustic Dan. Please don't tell me that that is the quilted one I sold you 30 years ago ?!?

  15. #14

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    Acoustic L-5, no cutaway, pre-war, 17 inch....which describes the only L-5 I own, my 1940. I know it’s not exactly one of the choices, but those are my specs.

    For the purposes of survey, an acoustic L-5.

  16. #15

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    I have a Wesmo, a CES and my 1935 D'Angelico Excel is essentially an acoustic L-5, so I like all three, but I voted for the CES as that is the most useful guitar of the three.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Danny,
    Oh my God.
    I just don’t know what to say..
    Beautiful.
    Joe D
    Thanks--I have posted this photo here before. I should do it more often.
    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone
    Danny W,

    No argument with that, if you have a selection to choose from. You're choices are phenomenal!

    Me, I have to suffer with my Premier. ?

    Steve
    You're not exactly deprived.
    Quote Originally Posted by Archtop Guy
    I'll pick the acoustic Dan. Please don't tell me that that is the quilted one I sold you 30 years ago ?!?
    Okay, I won't tell you that. Those are all small-body L-5 Signatures from 2003-4. The acoustic is an L-5 Lee Ritenour Signature. The one you sold me was unusual because it was one of the few carved-top guitars Gibson built in '87 after having left Kalamazoo. My records show that I bought it from you in 8/87 and sold it to Buzzy Levine in 4/91. It was a nice guitar, but Gibson's best days were still ahead.

    It looked like this:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-87-l-5c-front-jpg

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-l-5c-1987-rear-jpg

    Danny W.

  18. #17

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    One of these would be the one to float my boat.

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-1955-l5-jpg

  19. #18

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    This poll just cracks me up. (The "assume the same vintage" doesn't really work when they didn't offer pickups standard until 1952 and CES, and I'd only want an acoustic from well before then anyway, and I certainly wouldn't want a cutaway, and I wouldn't be putting a floater on it, either). Lol.

    Ah well, don't cry for me being left off the poll, I'm doing just fine...(with my 1939 and 1932 L-5's that is).
    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-93708962-a344-4702-a300-99568ff822f6-jpg
    (good lord, I hope you realize I'm just giving you all a hard time - shooting spitballs over here from the era of jazz time forgot, ha!)

  20. #19

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    For me its a single p'up Wes Mo all the way.

    However, if Danny W. would simply adopt me I'd be happy with any variety L-5.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by campusfive
    (good lord, I hope you realize I'm just giving you all a hard time - shooting spitballs over here from the era of jazz time forgot, ha!)
    I've an archtop from the 20's and two from the 30's; humbler than those above but glorious still.

    I don't own the era like Mr. Stout with his superpowers and power tools (if only!)
    but it's very much my era too and I celebrate these beautiful ladies.

  22. #21

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    Would I have 3 choices, that you be cool because I'd take the 3

    Actually, I would let the Wes Montgomery go and change it with an uncut prewar 17 inches L5. Lucky me, that's exactly what I have. A L5N from 1940, a L5C from '53 (with a floater) and a L5CESN from '96.

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-l5n-40-jpgYour Gibson L-5 Choice-l5c53-jpgYour Gibson L-5 Choice-l5cesn96-jpg

  23. #22

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    Write-in vote:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-a3717e31-08b7-476a-8b17-cdcc54a5a10d-jpeg

  24. #23

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    I think the original early L5’s are the most gorgeous guitars I’ve ever seen. The proportions are just perfect.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think the original early L5’s are the most gorgeous guitars I’ve ever seen. The proportions are just perfect.
    Agree, but I owned a '24 L5, and the giant neck was like trying to wrap your hand around a sump pump discharge pipe.

  26. #25

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    I like Woodysound and FredArchtop’s approach. Write in votes clearly outside the comfortable WesMo box many tout

  27. #26

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    Wesmo. Especially if I can replace the Wes insert with a plain one (no disrespect for Mr. Montgomery intended).

  28. #27

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    Despite the WesMo love, I think the bridge pickup, even unused, has an impact on the sound of the L5ces. Less feedback, and a less acoustic/stringy quality as well. I notice it also between ES175 and ES165. Love them both, but the 2 pickup tone is stronger, the 1 pickup probably picks up more microphonic from the more strongly resonating top for what I call a "stringy" sound--and I don't mean that negatively at all. I just prefer the smoother, more electric sound of the L5ces.

    But if you want to give me a WesMo to prove me wrong, I'm up for my mind being changed!

  29. #28

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    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-00e40c3c-4bc4-40a0-902b-d0dfeb375cfb-jpeg

  30. #29

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    What most don't realize is the top plays a way bigger role than 1 or 2 pickups does. Thick top, thin top, wide grain or tight, stiff or soft.
    My VSB Wes has a very thick top with grain so tight you can see no lines. It is darker than midnight in January. My Blonde Wes has a thinner top with wide grain a more airy tone. My Wine Wes has a top between the 2 and by far is my favorite tone.
    Right now I own 3 Wes's but have bought 6 Wes's, 1 L5CES, and 1 L5P BJB and none of them sounded the same.
    You could blindfold me and play one of my L5 Wes's and I could tell you which one you are playing.
    Buying 1,2, or 3 L5's won't make you a expert. Being a Danny W. will. The wood stack of the build is the bigger factor.
    When I bought that L5CES from TMZ 3 years ago it sounded exactly like my Tal Farlow so I decided not to keep it.
    Ask any builder, the spruce top, the carve, and the stiffness is everything in the tone factor but yes a 2nd pickup will deaden the top more than 1. Personally I have a 175 and Tal's for that type of tone. Not to mention a CES weighs a lot more.

  31. #30

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    Danny W is like the man with so many beautiful daughters.

  32. #31

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    I voted, but really my choice would be the smaller L-5 Signature or a thinline. This might not be a popular opinion, but larger 17" bodies over 3" tend to bother my shoulder

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2
    I voted, but really my choice would be the smaller L-5 Signature or a thinline. This might not be a popular opinion, but larger 17" bodies over 3" tend to bother my shoulder
    I didn't realize until I poked around on Reverb that there were even thinline Super 400s.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    What most don't realize is the top plays a way bigger role than 1 or 2 pickups does. Thick top, thin top, wide grain or tight, stiff or soft.
    My VSB Wes has a very thick top with grain so tight you can see no lines. It is darker than midnight in January. My Blonde Wes has a thinner top with wide grain a more airy tone. My Wine Wes has a top between the 2 and by far is my favorite tone.
    Right now I own 3 Wes's but have bought 6 Wes's, 1 L5CES, and 1 L5P BJB and none of them sounded the same.
    You could blindfold me and play one of my L5 Wes's and I could tell you which one you are playing.
    Buying 1,2, or 3 L5's won't make you a expert. Being a Danny W. will. The wood stack of the build is the bigger factor.
    When I bought that L5CES from TMZ 3 years ago it sounded exactly like my Tal Farlow so I decided not to keep it.
    Ask any builder, the spruce top, the carve, and the stiffness is everything in the tone factor but yes a 2nd pickup will deaden the top more than 1. Personally I have a 175 and Tal's for that type of tone. Not to mention a CES weighs a lot more.
    Not my experience.

    My 2003 L-5 CES is 3 ounces LIGHTER than my 1996 L-5 WESMO.

    My 1948 D'Angelico Style B has a thicker top (by far) and a brighter tone (by far) than my 1935 D'Angelico Excel and my 1937 D'Angelico Style A.

    Having had many archtops of all sorts, my experience is that 2 pickup models tend to be more feedback resistant and have more tonal options than one pickup models of the same guitar. For a real world gigging musician, those are important traits.

  35. #34

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    Marco you just proved my point about wood stack and density of the wood. Every guitar differs because every piece of wood varies in weight, density, and hardness.
    The wood plays the biggest factor. Yes I already admitted that a 2nd pu will deaden the top but then you might as well just buy a laminate.
    I learned from the best....Mr.James D’Aquisto. I had to beg him for a floater and he was mad about that.
    For me a carved top set up like a Les Paul makes zero sense. Better off with a 175.
    To each their own. No wrong choice just a personal one.

  36. #35

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    I wonder if a heavier bridge that adds damping mass on the top would imbue the single pickup L5WM with much of the character of the double pickup L5CES.

    My other thought is clamping a set of weights with neodymium magnets on the top and obverse side of the soundboard where the bridge pickup would have been.

  37. #36

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    Everything matters including bridge mass and height, neck angle, etc...
    For me l like simple. Don’t like too many knobs on my amp either.

    Joe Pass summed it up best with his 92 175 saying I don’t like too much iron on my guitar.
    Configuration choices is a good thing. We all have what we want.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Everything matters including bridge mass and height, neck angle, etc...
    want to echo what vinny wrote above...i've always said, when it comes to guitars- everything matters!

    why no two are ever really exactly the same


    cheers

  39. #38

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    I'd love to have an L5-CES. They are way too expensive for myself. If I were a Jazz player, maybe. I'm more of a rock/blues player that knows some outside notes who likes archtops.

    I have a L5-CES style laminate top guitar and a Gibson L7. Those will have to do.

  40. #39
    WesMo for sure:








  41. #40

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    Sweet MB ! I think single pu is sexier too.

  42. #41

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    I love Wesmo’s, because that’s what I have, but would love to try a CES. For me, I think it would be splitting hairs, as I like the variety of archtop sounds I can get from my current toolbox. I think a CES, much as I would love to have one, would probably be at the peak of the curve for ROI where satisfaction starts to diminish, unless I sold my Wesmo, which will likely never happen.

    A great solid top jazz guitar is like a sound experiment stretching out over years, watching and listening to changes in the sound as my skills improve and the wood ages. I can’t stop the experiment in the middle, I’ve only been working with this test subject for 22 years

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Not my experience.

    My 2003 L-5 CES is 3 ounces LIGHTER than my 1996 L-5 WESMO.

    My 1948 D'Angelico Style B has a thicker top (by far) and a brighter tone (by far) than my 1935 D'Angelico Excel and my 1937 D'Angelico Style A.

    Having had many archtops of all sorts, my experience is that 2 pickup models tend to be more feedback resistant and have more tonal options than one pickup models of the same guitar. For a real world gigging musician, those are important traits.
    I haven’t voted yet because I have a bit of a dilemma. I think the best one would probably be a Wes Montgomery, but I have never owned one. I have owned five L5’s, but they all had either two built-in pickups or one floating pickup.

    The Wes Montgomery L5 is elegant and simple, having only the electronics that a jazz player would typically use. Also, I find that built-in pickups with volume and tone controls are the most versatile for live performance. I am not sure I will ever buy a Wes though, because I really like older/vintage guitars and a single pickup version was not offered in the old days, unless by custom order.

    Having said that, I don’t feel I am in a position to vote for the Wes without the experience of owning one. I will say that my CES’s have been wonderful guitars, with great tone and virtually no feedback trouble. The second pickup, although never used, may be a factor in all of that. My L5C (with Johnny Smith pickup) is very nice to play around the house, but I seldom play it on gigs as it’s a little too bright when amplified. A tone control would help but I don’t feel the need to modify it, especially when I will probably still grab the L5CES when heading out to a gig (if we can ever play gigs again).

    Keith

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    I haven’t voted yet because I have a bit of a dilemma. I think the best one would probably be a Wes Montgomery, but I have never owned one. I have owned five L5’s, but they all had either two built-in pickups or one floating pickup.

    The Wes Montgomery L5 is elegant and simple, having only the electronics that a jazz player would typically use. Also, I find that built-in pickups with volume and tone controls are the most versatile for live performance. I am not sure I will ever buy a Wes though, because I really like older/vintage guitars and a single pickup version was not offered in the old days, unless by custom order.

    Having said that, I don’t feel I am in a position to vote for the Wes without the experience of owning one. I will say that my CES’s have been wonderful guitars, with great tone and virtually no feedback trouble. The second pickup, although never used, may be a factor in all of that. My L5C (with Johnny Smith pickup) is very nice to play around the house, but I seldom play it on gigs as it’s a little too bright when amplified. A tone control would help but I don’t feel the need to modify it, especially when I will probably still grab the L5CES when heading out to a gig (if we can ever play gigs again).



    Keith
    I have had feedback issues with my WESMO. It is fine for a duo gig with a bassist, but with a drummer, it is not ideal, particularly on a tight bandstand where you are seated right by the drums. Using both pickups together on the CES helps when playing a "muddy" sounding room.

    My solution to the dilemma is to have both

  45. #44

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    Bottom line if it says L5 on the tailpiece it is a winner.

  46. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Sweet MB ! I think single pu is sexier too.
    Thanks Vinny, it's very much appreciated!


    MB

  47. #46

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    This is one of my favorites, I have others, this really floats my boat

    Gibson L-5 finish: What is the name of it?

  48. #47

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    Money no object? Give me a super rare L5CT Gobel and an impossibly rare single pickup ES-5.

  49. #48

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    I think there must be more L5 owners here than anywhere! I’m in the double pu crowd. I owned a Wesmo and a CES. I sold the Wesmo because it sounded bright. Perhaps it had bad wood?

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I have had feedback issues with my WESMO. It is fine for a duo gig with a bassist, but with a drummer, it is not ideal, particularly on a tight bandstand where you are seated right by the drums. Using both pickups together on the CES helps when playing a "muddy" sounding room.

    My solution to the dilemma is to have both
    That’s the answer! I would probably have both as well if a Wes became available near me at a reasonable price. I find the discussion about the effect of the number of pickups and thickness of the top on tone quite interesting. Also, I am curious about the weight of guitars and how that affects the sound, feedback, etc. Rather than hijack this thread, I think I will start a new thread and post my thoughts on these things.
    Keith

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crm114
    This is one of my favorites, I have others, this really floats my boat

    Gibson L-5 finish: What is the name of it?
    That's a great guitar--I really enjoyed it when I owned it:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-ai-corus-ten2-l5c-bjb-jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals
    Money no object? Give me a super rare L5CT Gobel and an impossibly rare single pickup ES-5.
    Can't help with the latter, but here's one of the former, a 1960:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-gobel-1960-front-jpg

    Here's a reissue from '94:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-dscn3131-jpg

    and a few more Gobel-sized guitars:

    Your Gibson L-5 Choice-l-5-thin-1-jpg


    NOTE!: I no longer own any of these guitars!

    Danny W.