The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    A recent ebony L5 from the Gibson demo shop

    Gibson L-5, Ebony | Custom Shop Modified | Reverb

    Some finish issues.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Another black L5! Well, it appears to have been played.

  4. #3

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    If anyone is looking for a black L5CES, there is a 1994 Centennial Diamond Edition for sale in Toronto. I haven’t seen the guitar, but they say it is “mint and unplayed”. They are asking $8,995 CDN, which is about $7,000 USD. I have never purchased a guitar from that store, so I can’t comment on doing business with them. Capsule Music
    Keith

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    If anyone is looking for a black L5CES, there is a 1994 Centennial Diamond Edition for sale in Toronto. I haven’t seen the guitar, but they say it is “mint and unplayed”. They are asking $8,995 CDN, which is about $7,000 USD. I have never purchased a guitar from that store, so I can’t comment on doing business with them. Capsule Music
    Keith
    That’s a fascinating guitar. But the back story in the descriptive post is even more so:

    Each month during 1994 one Limited Edition model was produced by Gibson. Production was limited to 100 of each model to celebrate Gibsons Centennial Anniversary.”

    There’s a whole routine in that wording for a standup guitar comedian!

    • I thought I remembered 1994, but I totally forgot the extra 88 months.
    • It took Gibson 6 years to make my L5, but they made 100 of them in a month in 1994???
    • A sapphire truss rod nut with transparent cover, and a platinum wrench that matched the diamond ring were available for an additional $5,000.

  6. #5

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    Crazy Prices for guitars nowadays! I get it in a way, but the irony is most of these guitars aren’t even used as tools to make a living any longer.
    Well one day these tools will be a real bargain when they are no longer in fashion, LOL,

  7. #6

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    the L-50 with the TK-Smith pick-up left me breathless, this, only in direct comparion, leaves me cold.

    maybe it is just a bridge-change away from being all beautiful.


  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    Crazy Prices for guitars nowadays! I get it in a way, but the irony is most of these guitars aren’t even used as tools to make a living any longer.
    Well one day these tools will be a real bargain when they are no longer in fashion, LOL,
    Making a living with a musical instrument is pretty tough these days. A few who do very well at this can certainly afford whatever guitar they want. And most of these guitars will be bought by hobbyists/collectors who have done very well at other pursuits.

    Fine musical instruments like a Gibson L-5 have never been a "bargain", even when archtops were unfashionable among guitarists (1970's). I doubt they ever will be a "bargain". You get what you pay for.

  9. #8

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    I guess I should have bought that Wes Sunburst version back in the early 2000’s or so for $3500, Lol!

    In the 1970’s I bought a re necked Blond L5 CES for $450.00 . I guess in my time you were able to actually make a very modest living using these guitars, Lol!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    I guess in my time you were able to actually make a very modest living using these guitars, Lol!
    In the summer of 1964, my trio played 7 nights a week at the Golden Inn in Avalon NJ for 74 straight nights. I was 17 at the time and we made $100 each per week. In the late '60s and early 1970s, I was playing multiple weddings, coprporate parties and such every week and making at least $100 per gig. Jazz dates payed less. As I recall, I was paid $100 a week and whatever I wanted to eat and drink to play solo 2 hours a night M-Th at a French restaurant from 1969 to 1971. But I got off early enough to play blues and jazz gigs on weeknights, and I had the weekend wedding & party business. Those were great times!

    In 1960, a S400 was $750 and an L-5 was $650, and a 175D was $310. Here's the 1965 price list for signature models - a Tal was $610.

    Ebony L5 in the Gibson demo shop-gibson-price_list_partial_1965_cropped-jpg

    And we all know what happened to prices since then. Gigs, on the other hand, did not keep pace. Jazz & commercial dates pay a small fraction of the price of an L-5 now. And the price of Strats etc has remained stable compared to the pay for blues and rock gigs because the guitars are no longer made here and the cheaper versions have parts far inferior to those we got in the '60s and early '70s. Thanks largely to changing tastes, DJs, and streaming services, most of the orchestra offices that employed us 50+ years ago are long gone, along with the truly great gigs they brought us. Most of the local jazz clubs are gone. Most of the restaurants that had live music every night are gone. So is the '60 175DN that gave me my start.

  11. #10

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    You bought a 60 175DN at what age? That would mean at age 15 you were born in 1945?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    You bought a 60 175DN at what age? That would mean at age 15 you were born in 1945?
    I was 14. I was lucky enough to have some talent and a decent ear - I started playing piano at 3 and took up guitar at 9. When I discovered jazz on radio & TV (which was not that rare), I fell in love. So by the time I was 12, I had my first fake book and by 13 was decent enough to play local parties with my friends. My parents’ friends thought it was cool, and I had a few buddies who were also decent on drums and piano - so we actually had gigs. Between my Bar Mitzvah money and our gigs at $5 to $10 each, I was able to get a decent start with a little help from my parents.

    The owner of our local music store (Al Primavera) took an interest in me and really helped me a lot. My first good guitar was a new LG-1 in 1958. I got a DeArmond pickup and a tiny Kay amp the next year so I could play out. When I started high school, I really needed a “real” guitar. Al found me a used 345 in decent shape in 1960 and sold it to us for very little money plus the LG. But I really had a jazz Jones by then and wanted a 175 (especially after I saw Wes pictured with one).

    After a lot of back and forth with my family, Al took back the 345 and lent me a few used archtops (Kay, Harmony, Vega etc) to let me learn about them and figure out what I liked. He somehow found me a used 175DN with humbuckers (a ‘60, as I recall - could have been earlier) in good shape and sold it to us for the same $ as the 345 in a fairly ratty but intact Gretsch case. And I played it for a decade until I bought a new L-5CN with Rhythm Chief.

    He also sold me a used Reverberocket that I used for about a year until I blew the speaker on stage at the Ocean City (NJ) Convention Hall. My parents picked up a new Magnatone 4x12 combo within a few days and I was on my way!