Gibson L-5 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1949)

Gibson  L-5 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1949)
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Item # 9742
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Gibson L-5 Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1949), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, natural lacquer finish, Flame maple back, sides and neck, spruce top, ebony fingerboard, original brown tolex chipboard case.

This beautiful postwar carved-top Gibson is one of only 29 sunburst L-5s shipped in 1949; it remains nicely original and extremely well preserved 70+ years on. The headstock still features the old 1930's script logo that had recently been discontinued by Gibson, replaced by the then-new, now-familiar block logo. This is likely one of the very last of the old pre-WWII headstock veneers getting used up! The early "A" artist serial number on the white label in this guitar indicates the instrument was shipped out around March 1949.

The multi-bound, pearl-block inlaid fingerboard is ebony; some L-5's from this period used Brazilian rosewood instead, apparently around 1948-9 when Gibson suffered an ebony shortage. The multi-bound top and flame maple back feature a beautiful shaded sunburst finish that has aged nicely to a lovely amber hue. The tuners are gold-plated Kluson Sealfasts with translucent celluloid "keystone" buttons, a feature in place since 1940. In this period the L-5 was placed second to the 18" Super 400 in Gibson's line, but many players preferred the easier to handle 17" body and it was always a top professional choice.

The top on this example is carved somewhat thinner than many period L-5's making for a very lively sound with plenty of projection. This is a truly splendid example of a late swing-era L-5, an excellent playing and sounding guitar and simply as classy as it gets. It is housed in something we have never seen before; an original 17" Geib heavy chipboard case that has obviously been with it since the beginning. Perhaps the original owner simple couldn't afford the customary hard shell after saving up for his dream guitar!
Overall length is 41 3/4 in. (106 cm.), 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 7/16 in. (8.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This guitar remains in extremely fine condition both structurally and cosmetically with no major repair or alteration. The pickguard is a very finely made modern reproduction, all else is original including the bracket. There is very light checking to the finish and a number of small dings, dents and scrapes, but really this is a very clean guitar for being over 70 years old. The gold plating, most notably on the tailpiece shows some wear, but again nothing too serious. The frets and fingerboard show some very light wear but the guitar simply does not appear much played. This guitar has a big, incisive sound but retains plenty of warmth underneath -- a true swing-era classic. Excellent Condition.