Although there is some conjecture as to the precise year Gibson released the L-5 the first appearance of the model was in Gibson's Catalog O (issued in either late 1924 or early 1925) showing the entire Style 5 Master Model line, including the F-5 Mandolin, the H-5 Mandola, the K-5 Mando-cello and the L-5 guitar.
These early examples were designated as the Style L-5 Professional Model. Originally the Gibson L-5 had a 16-inch body with the neck joining at the 14th fret, constructed from two sections of maple with a dark center seam, the "Snake head" headstock design was bound and inlaid with a diagonal "The Gibson" logo and Gibson's iconic flowerpot motif in pearl. As a high end, professional grade instrument the L-5 in the following years would undergo many changes, both in cosmetics and construction evolving from the original 16-inch wide, non-cutaway design, through the 17-inch "Advanced" model in 1934, on to the L-5 Premier with Venetian cutaway in 1939 and finally on to the L-5 CES in 1951. By 1949 the L-5 had evolved to have a 17" body, 21" with full scale neck, the top grade spruce top was parallel braced and aesthetically the guitar maintained its traditional Cremona brown sunburst finish. The highly figured Maple three piece neck and figured Maple back and rims, the traditional pearl flowerpot headstock inlay are retained as is the 5-ply binding.
Our guitar would have been one of the earlier L-5's to bear the L-5C name with the change from L-5 Premier (P) happening in 1948. Gibson's records show only 23 L-5C's shipped in 1949 with the white label and A "Artist" serial number fitting into the early second half of that year. Being a high end albeit low demand model the guitar features some traits from the slightly earlier period of manufacturing namely the rosewood fingerboard and large script 'Gibson' logo. Appointments are suitably high-end with multi ply binding and gold-plated hardware throughout including the Kluson 'Seal-Fast' tuners and adjustable L-5 Vari-Tone tailpiece. The original 5-ply pickguard, although supplied with the guitar has badly gassed off so the guitar comes with an excellent reproduction pickguard from Paul Fox at Fox Guitars. The guitar comes with the photographed, highly desirable Geib 'Airline Tweed' Case.