Pre-War Gibson L-5 Owners' Club

 

 

 

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1935

A total of 166 L-5s were shipped in this year (includes 110 with old-style 16-inch body)

The first L-5s with a 17-inch wide ‘Advanced’ body were shipped in 1935 and from this point on the body width – where known – is noted

If an instrument appears in one of our picture galleries this is noted beneath the serial number.

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91329

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON: 1277-4

Year Shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal script 'Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, block inlays start at first fret

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware, flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend, non-original Kluson Deluxe tuners

Notes: Repaired cracks in the top (extending from the fingerboard), side and heel. Formerly owned and used by Opry staff musician Steve Gibson

This instrument does not appear in the shipping ledgers (probably indicating it was sold at the Gibson factory). However, other serial numbers in the near vicinity were shipped in March and April of 1935.

Source: Gruhn Guitars (guitars.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91438

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: horizontal 'Gibson' logo, non original Waverly tuners

Neck/fingerboard:  pearl block inlays starting at the third fret, 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end.

Body: maple back and sides

Hardware: gold plated metal parts, regular tailpiece and long pickguard that has been cut to accommodate a pickup

Notes: A previous owner scratched his name into the back of the headstock. A back centre seam split that has been cleated

Source: Jack Fields

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91440 (see ‘Notes’ below)

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: Appears to be 126?-7 (fourth digit illegible)

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal script 'Gibson' logo, non original Grover tuners

Neck/fingerboard:  pearl block inlays starting at the third fret, 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end.

Body: 16-inch body with maple back and sides with some over-spraying on the sides and a repaired two-inch crack at the bottom of the guitar. Other repairs done to this L-5 are a neck reset and a refret

Hardware: gold plated metal parts including wrap over tailpiece. Ebony bridge. Pickguard is missing

Notes: Has original hardshell case. The original serial number on the interior label is unreadable, but a previous owner has written the number ‘91440’

Source: Union Grove Music (uniongrovemusic.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91475

FON

Year shipped: 1935

Headstock:

 

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91503

FON: 1259

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body: Three patched holes in top

Hardware: Replaced hardware

Notes: Guarantee label

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial number: 91521

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1244

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal script 'Gibson' logo with open gear Grover G-98 tuners with metal butterbean buttons

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Ebony bridge, long pickguard, gold-plated hardware including trapeze tailpiece

Notes: Has a repaired hairline crack near the treble side f-hole. According to Joe Spann the guitar went-back to Gibson for a repair sometime in the mid 30's, so the repair may have been done then

Source: Skip Sail

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91522

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with square end and block inlays from the third fret

Body: 16-inch body

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, open gear Grover G-98 tuners with metal ‘butterbean’ buttons, regular trapeze tailpiece, ebony bridge and long pickguard,

Notes: According to owner Hank Risan, there is reason to believe this guitar once belonged to Les Paul

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91615

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Elongated headstock (similar to Super 400), horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo, custom floral headstock inlay

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and custom 'wreath' style picture frame fingerboard inlays (different from those seen on the 1930's L-7), 1 13/16 inch nut width

Body: 16-inch body. Two grain-line cracks at either end of the bass f-hole and a resealed centre seam beneath the tailpiece

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Grover Sta-Tite open back tuners, long bound pickguard, ebony bridge (both the bridge and pickguard have matching serial numbers)

Notes: Custom built for Carl Kress. White oval label (the label the bridge and pickguard have matching serial numbers). Gibson's records show that this guitar was shipped to Kress at least twice, which presumably accounts for minor variations in period photos. Has original hardshell case

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial number: 91681

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1169

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end. Block inlays beginning at 3rd fret

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware including trapeze tailpiece. Long bound pickguard. Replaced bass side tuners.

Source: Walter Bibinger

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91774

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1356

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo,

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and wide pearl block inlays from the third fret

Body: 16-inch body

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, regular trapeze tailpiece, ebony bridge, individual (replacement) tuners and reproduction long pickguard

Source: prewargibsonl-5/ Joe Vinikow, archtop.com  

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91879

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON:

 

Headstock: Horizontal script ‘Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with a square end and wide block markers from the third fret. The truss rod cover is engraved with the name ‘Dick Wiley’

Body: 16-inch body with maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts including trapeze tailpiece. The guitar has been fitted with a Gibson McCarty Pickguard

Source: Jon

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91906

FON:

Shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: Block inlays

Body:

Hardware:

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91912

FON:

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and narrow block inlays from the first fret

Body: 16-inch body

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Grover Sta-Tite tuners, regular trapeze tailpiece, ebony bridge, long bound pickguard

Notes: Has original hardshell case, note narrow block inlays

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91917

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1399-11

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard:  19 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and pearl block inlays at the first and seventeenth frets.

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware including trapeze tailpiece and open gear Grover G-98 tuners with metal butter bean buttons (one replacement tuner).

Notes: Holes from a humbucking pickup and control knobs have been filled and refinished. The guitar has also been refretted and fitted with a reproduction pickguard.  The top, back, sides and neck have been over-sprayed and a three-inch crack above the bass side f‑hole has been repaired. Has original hardshell case.

Source: Mandolin Brothers

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 91930

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1399-13

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays from the first fret

Body: 16-inch body

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, open gear Grover G-98 tuners with metal ‘butterbean’ buttons, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend and ebony bridge. Pickguard is missing

Notes: Although this L-5 still has the smaller 16-inch body it has small block fretboard markers at the first and seventeenth frets and a style of tailpiece more usually found on the 17-inch Advanced L-5s

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auction

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92033

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1935

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret

Body: 16-inch body. Large f-holes similar to those seen on 17-inch Advanced L-5s. Has solid braces rather than the kerfed braces fitted to some later models

Hardware: Gold plated hardware including regular trapeze tailpiece

Notes: The pickguard, tuners and bridge are replacements. Some overspray to finish, a repaired crack at the treble f-hole and resealed centre seam beneath the tailpiece

Source: Joe Vinikow (archtop.com)

 

 

Model L-5

Serial Number: although the label is missing, the number 92034 is etched on the underside of the pickguard

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 1498-5

Year shipped: 1935 (see note on serial number above)

 

Headstock: horizontal 'Gibson' script logo, individual gold-plated Grover 98G tuners

Neck/fingerboard:  pearl block inlays starting at the third fret, 19 fret fingerboard with square end, bone nut

Body: maple back and sides

Hardware: gold plated metal parts, regular tailpiece and long pickguard (which has begun to exhibit signs of celluloid deterioration). Adjustable ebony bridge with a ‘turn-over’ saddle for Hawaiian playing

Notes: The frets are newer and there are a few small divots in in the lower positions of the fingerboard. An unusual ink stamp that reads "Model L-5" appears on the inside back in several places - this does not appear to be an official Gibson marking

Source: Retrofret

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92035

FON: 1498

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Script Gibson logo

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92230

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON: 142-9

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with wide block inlays from the first fret

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, open gear Grover G-98 Tuners with metal ‘butterbean’ buttons, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend and rosewood bridge

Notes: Transitional attributes include a return to the earlier pointed-end fingerboard, a 19 fret neck, a rosewood bridge (instead of the previous ebony) and large block fingerboard inlays with the new addition of inlays at the first and seventeenth frets

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92301

See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON:

Year Shipped:  1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal script 'Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: Three-piece neck, 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end (refretted), block inlays start at first fret,

Body: Advanced 17-inch wide body with spruce top, maple back and sides and bound f-holes. Top crack beneath tailpiece and small cracks along either edge of the fingerboard end. The finish has been over-sprayed

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert (an opening in the tailpiece for an endpin jack has been filled and concealed) and three engraved diamonds and individual gold-plated Grover 98G tuners. Rosewood bridge. Pickguard is a replacement (the original with a cut-out for a pickup is in the case)

Notes: Has original Gibson ‘Red Line’ hardshell case

Source: umanovguitars.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number:  92330

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON: n/a

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo, has the name ‘Harold Dickman’ engraved on the trussrod cover

Neck/fingerboard: Replaced fingerboard (with pointed end and wide blocks from the first fret), 24 ¾ inch scale length

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body with X-braced top and unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold hardware, individual tuners with ‘butterbean’ buttons, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend, long bound pickguard

Notes: Has original hardshell case

Source: John Stewart

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92576

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON: 128?

Year Shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal script 'Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, narrow block inlays start at first fret, short 24 ½ inch scale length, pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with X-braced top, maple back and sides and small, unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware, replacement Waverly tuners, flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend, rosewood bridge and long pickguard

Notes: Re-glued seam beneath tailpiece

 

Source: Eric Schoenberg, Schoenberg Guitars (om28.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 92605

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

FON: n/a

Year shipped: 1935

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret, 24 ¾ inch scale, has the same 1 3/4" nut width as 16-inch L-5s

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body, X braced top, small unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Grover Sta-Tite tuners, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend, long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: White oval label, has original weed 'aircraft cloth' plush lined hardshell case.

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial number: 92284

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Year shipped: 1936

FON: The FON is 128A-1 (the -1 is written in red pencil)

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'Gibson' script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and block inlays starting at the first fret

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and unbound f-holes

Hardware: Rosewood bridge, gold-plated hardware including a flat L-5 tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend and open gear Grover G-98 tuners with metal butterbean buttons.

Source: Jon Zobler