Gibson L-5s, ever touched it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by flume, Jan 9, 2008.


  1. flume

    flume Gold Supporting Member

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    I was pretty irritated at myself for being interested in this when it came out - I think 2004 - and I still am - for reasons that elude me. :messedup :NUTS

    A black single humbucker (bridge) version of the ornate 70s model is what this is...Keith Rich-(I mean Cpt Jack Sparrow) posed with one for a nanosecond.

    Never saw one in person - much less on a list of inventory anywhere either.

    Gbase and google offer no leads.

    Would like to hear if anyone even SAW one...much less fingered the blasted thing.

    File under: Sasquatch solidbody
     
  2. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I've owned this L-5S since 1979. It was built in 1978 and I'm the original owner.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    A custom-shop special, no doubt. You could probably order one, if you've got the coin, but I'd much rather go for the Saul Koll goldtop version that's been pictured on this site a number of times.

    FWIW, I've always loved the way the original L-5S model looked, but every one I've ever picked up (sometimes with intent to buy) has been bizarrely inert in terms of unplugged tone, and correspondingly lifeless when plugged in. With some of them, you can get a reasonably good mainstream-jazz tone out of the neck pickup, but beyond that, nothing.

    Anyone ever played a good one?
     
  4. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    Now that looks like a nice example...most of the ones I've tried have had three-piece bodies and/or the low-impedance pickups.

    I'd like to see back and side views of that, if possible...the natural-finished ones are less common than cherry sunburst.
     
  5. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I'll take a picture of the back and post it soon. Meanwhile the back looks just like the front with a matching wood cover over the electronics. These were a cut above the Les Paul in quality at the time. This one sounds wonderful! Very rich, full and warm but it is heavy.
     
  6. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Shaped like a Guild Bluesbird.
     
  7. Guitarzandstuff

    Guitarzandstuff Silver Supporting Member

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    I own one... from the Gibson Custom Shop and it's a VERY cool guitar.

     
  8. flume

    flume Gold Supporting Member

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    Cool...thanks for the photos and replies. They are scarce arent they?

    I think I got into them because the first Guitar Player magazine I ever bought as a kid with Pat Martino on the cover featured him with a sunburst one. So it must be cool right?

    Anyhoo...this single pickup reissue continues to be elusive. Would be very cool to see one pop up someday.
     
  9. rastus

    rastus Member

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    I've owned 2 of these over the years-flawlessly made, marvelous guitars, but I never bonded to the point that I had to keep either of them. As to Keith's - I know all about those. I worked there when they were built in the little custom shop area that was in the massman Drive plant. I worked right up the aisle in whitewood machine, so most all guitars that needed fit and routed were brought to my department, almost without exception.

    If I recall all this correctly, there were 2 black single pickup L5S built for him, both set up with 5 strings. The necks were built from blueprints, a pretty big hassle, as the heel, tennon, and pitch were radically different from anything we offered at the time. This was due to the bodies, which were pulled down from storage on the "body and neck wall" where there were many types of obsolete parts stored. The bodies were stock 70's L5S ones, probably left behind because they weren't very well figured. I think these bodies had had necks removed at some point, because they were fully routed. The routes were filled and recut. The plugs are a part of the reason they were opaque finished, aside from the fact that Keith knew black would be best on it.

    If I recall, luthier Phil Jones built them. He was and is an amazing luthier! They were fit and run through whitewood and on to paint. I believe Tom M sprayed them. I later saw the Stones and was stoked when Keith broke it out for a couple numbers.

    I have heard that a few years later some new versions of the Keith L5S were made, but I have never seen one and can't verify it. Back then it was cool, because the rock stars and such had to mosey right on in and get there guitars. Even cooler, as a worker, I was able to work on producing many notable guitars. A great experience that I remember well, Gibson was a place on the verge of regaining some of it's status back then. Those 2 guitars for Keith were a real highlight during my time there!
     
  10. thomasdk

    thomasdk Member

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    I have only tried for 10 mins, but fell in love!
     
  11. Bobbyoso

    Bobbyoso Member

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    I still have the one I bought new in 1973. It's a cherry sunburst, H-H, 3-piece body, with the L-5 trapeze tailpiece, not the tuneomatic in the pic of the natural one (beautiful example, by the way!).

    It's the only Gibson electric, and the only shorter-scale guitar, that I've kept through all these years, and it plays great, sounds great, sustains really well, intones, and stays in tune. It's got a different tone than any LP I've ever owned, played, or heard, it's sweeter, to my ears. It's heavy as hell, built like a battleship--the tuners are just massive, and I've never seen 'em anywhere else. A beautiful, and with all the binding and inlay everywhere, labor-intensive instrument.

    Pat Martino also played one for a while, during the "Joyous Lake" era, as I recall.

    I've evolved over the years to being partial to longer-scale guitars, as well as lighter-weight ones. But the L-5S is an exception for me, because it's so solid and uncharacteristically well-made for a 70s Gibson (of course, they were ~2x the price of a good LP at the time)--it's a player and a looker.

    Anyway, a well-maintained one holds its own with pretty much what's out there, IMO, especially if you're a Gibson aficionado (with a strong back), looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
     
  12. Guitarzandstuff

    Guitarzandstuff Silver Supporting Member

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    I willl try to post pics tonight...

    I have the one pickup black Keef model!!!

    :D
     
  13. frank4001

    frank4001 Member

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  14. Guitarzandstuff

    Guitarzandstuff Silver Supporting Member

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  15. flume

    flume Gold Supporting Member

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    That is IT!!:AOK:AOK
     
  16. Guitarzandstuff

    Guitarzandstuff Silver Supporting Member

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    It's really a cool guitar, light, resonant and the pickup is split via a push/pull pot... all factory original. Screams like a banshee in humbucking mode.

    I don't play this one much and not "out" at all as it is a pretty rare bird!
     
  17. Alainlafrance

    Alainlafrance Member

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    Mine...but from 1975, an employee's guitar , nothing to compare with the regular factory output...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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  18. flume

    flume Gold Supporting Member

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    extremely nice...my hunt goes on!
     
  19. ant_riv

    ant_riv Member

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    Does anyone know if the standard humbuckers (not the low-z pickups) were standard Gibson pickups?
    The reason I ask, is I have a set of them from a mid-'70's L5-S that belonged to a friend of mine. He changed the pickups to Dimarzios (common thing to do in the '70's) and in exchange for the labor, let me keep the Gibson pickups.
     
  20. Guitarzandstuff

    Guitarzandstuff Silver Supporting Member

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    What exactly are you hunting for? Are you looking to buy one?
     

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