1989 Gibson L-5 CES, Natural

By Gibson

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Wonderful example of the famed Gibson L-5 model, initially introduced in the early 1920’s under the leadership of Lloyd Loar as a fully acoustic archtop instrument. Fast forward to 1951 and the L-5 went electric with introduction of the L-5 CES, initially fitted with 2 P-90 pickups the model would change to 2 Alnico or ‘Staple pickups in the mid-fifties before settling on the configuration we have here by late 1957.
This particular L-5, dating to 1989 comes from a period of Gibson production that saw the company undergo a renaissance, focus shifted to reissuing many classic models with greater attention to original specs and an overall improvement in quality. In part thanks to the introduction of new management and a Custom Shop and Archtop devision headed up by highly regarded Luthier James Hutchins. Classified as a L-5 CESN Master Model this guitar was built in much the same way as the historic models by a very small team being responsible for the entire construction of the instrument. This particular guitar was signed off on the 20th January 1989 and features an additional label inside the guitar with the date and James W Hutchins signature.

The guitar features a 17” body with a full 25.5” scale length, the multi-bound top is unblemished tight grained, carved Sitka Spruce with highly figured flamed maple sides and an incredibly figured quilt maple back. The maple neck is a three piece construction with alternating maple and walnut laminations topped with a bound, ebony fingerboard thats mineral streak free and L-5 style pearl block inlays. The multi-bound hesadstock is a work of art in itself with an ornate pearl flower pot inlay, a design that dates back to the earliest L-5 models.
Electronics comprise of 2 original Gibson 490R and 490T PAF style humbucker pickups with the traditional 4 knob Gibson Volume/tone controls and three way switch. Pots are still within their original protective ‘cans’.
As is befitting a premium model the L-5 CES features gold hardware throughout with an engraved L-5 tailpiece, gold bridge with inlayed ebony base, the tuners have substituted for a set of excellent Kluson Sealfast tuners with no additional holes or marks visible.
The condition of the guitar is excellent throughout with minimal marks or evidence of play wear. The hardware has aged nicely as gold hardware has a tendency to do, the celluloid pickguard is starting to show signs of off gassing, a problem with celluloid pickguards from all eras due to the nature of the material used.

The guitar sound excellent acoustically with a balanced voice and good playability up and down the neck. Amplified the pickups have a warmth and clarity that suits many styles. The guitar comes with its original Gibson case and warranty card, is currently set up with round wound strings.

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