The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson L5 S Custom Natural Maple, 1979

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The Gibson L5 S, or Custom L-5 – built from 1972 to 1985 and from 2004-2005 – was intended as a crossover between the traditional jazz player’s archtop acoustic and the solidbody world.

In a number of markets, Gibson could not get past Fender, but for serious Jazz players, the roles were reversed. Fender targeted a number of models to the Jazz player – one was even named the Jazzmaster, to make the targeting clear! – but with the exception of the humble Telecaster, Gibson dominated the jazz world.

The Gibson L5 S is loosely based on the classic, top of the line Gibson L-5 CES arched top, Cutaway Electric Spanish with a full size acoustic body. That model was played by many serious players, who often are basically forgotten as part of a big band, but have included Wes Montgomery, Scotty Moore, Tuck Andress, Pat Martino, Lee Ritenour, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood.

The differences between the two guitars are probably greater than the similarities, but the Gibson L5-S features solid Flame Maple for the body and neck, with Ebony for the fingerboard. The inlay set – block position markers, Gibson headstock logo and traditional Flowerpot – is Abalone and Mother of Pearl and would not be out of place on an acoustic L5. The solid body is quite a bit smaller at 13.25 inches than the CES’s 17 inches, and the scale lengths are also different; the L5-S is Gibson’s typical solidbody 24.75 inches and the L5 CES is 25.5 inches.

From 1972 to 1974, the Gibson L5-S was equipped with a pair of large, rounded-end low impedance pickups. Those pickups were also used at the time on the short-lived Les Paul Recording model. These pickups were not popular, and after 1974 were removed and standard Humbucking pickups were installed. The rest of the gold-plated hardware was the same – Grover Imperial tuners and a Schaller ‘Harmonica’ bridge. Originally, the model used an L5-type ‘trapeze’ tailpiece until 1977, but during 1978 this was changed to a Schaller TP-6 Fine Tuning Tailpiece.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson L5-S Custom, dating to January 17th, 1979 at the historic Parsons Street plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is in very nice condition, with light wear. The finish is very clean, and fret wear is light to moderate.

The original hard shell case is included.


 

Price: $8750 CAD
  • Model: L5 S Custom
  • Year: 1979
  • Finish Gloss Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 70179129
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 10/09/2019

  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 9.68lbs 4.4kg
  • Scale Length: 628.6mm 24.75in
  • Nut Width: 42mm 1.653in
Gibson Website

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