The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson L5 Archtop ES5 Conversion Sunburst, 1948


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The Gibson L5 was the premiere cutaway archtop for jazz guitarists – in fact it was originally named the Premiere – from its 1939 introduction. Close on its heels, though, the 1949 ES-5 offered three P-90 pickups but was built with laminates instead of solid woods for the body, all to reduce feedback.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson L5 built during 1948, and some time later converted to an ES-5 configuration, with three P-90 pickups, but wired as other Gibson models – four controls and a switch – and not the six controls of the ES-5.

The Gibson L5 was, and still is, a serious guitar built using top quality materials. It features a full 17 inch wide body with carved, solid Spruce top, solid carved Maple back, and Maple for the sides and neck. The fingerboard is Ebony. Originally, this guitar would likely have had an Ebony bridge, but here it has a modern Tune-O-Matic style bridge on a Rosewood base. The scale length is 25.4 inches. The inlay set includes Mother of Pearl Gibson script logo and flowerpot on the head, and block position markers along the fingerboard. The tuners are the original Grover Imperial models with short shafts and plastic keystone buttons; the tailpiece is the original engraved, gold plated L5 model.

It’s difficult to say when this Gibson L5 was converted. It was very likely originally been a straight acoustic L-5 and not what became the L-5 CES (Cutaway Electric Spanish), which appeared in 1951. It has also been refretted, and there is plenty of fret material for years of use.

This Gibson L5 to ES-5 conversion is in decent condition, and plays quite well. And then there’s the P-90s, which sound great – warm, rich, full and powerful.

The original hard shell arched top and back case, which was long ago stripped of its finish, is included.


Price: $7,500.00 CAD
  • Model: L-5
  • Year: 1948
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: A 2479
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 18/11/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.524lbs 3.42kg
  • Scale Length: 25.4in 644mm
  • Nut Width: 25.4in 43mm
Gibson Website

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