Gibson L-5 CES

Gibson L-5 CES 1952 in Geib case

There aren’t many guitars that fall into the ‘must-own’ at least once in my lifetime category, but the Gibson L-5 CES is right up there at the top of that list. This one is affordable thanks to a pickup ‘upgrade’ in the seventies, making it a very cool-sounding jazz box of the highest quality.

Price: £5,250.00
S/N: R415

It’s amazing how easy it is to sound like Wes Montgomery when playing this guitar, especially with your thumb and playing through a valve combo amp such as the Fender Deluxe. the Gibson L-5 CES is, of course, one of Gibson’s legendary guitars and the 50s versions are the most desirable. The curved cutaway and pickup switch on the lower bout are tell-tale 50s features, but humbuckers are not and these were factory-fitted in 1979 as an upgrade to the latest technology. Another common upgrade was fitting the ABR-1 bridge to brighten-up the tone.

Overall condition is good, with just some minor scratches to the finish and minimal wear to the frets. The gold-plated metal parts have aged least well and you have to look carefully to see the “L-5” engraving in the tailpiece. But you cant help admiring the flamed figuring of the maple showing on the back of the neck, body and sides. it’s gorgeous. The top is where the distinctive L-5 sound is developed and this has the open grain typical of the spruce Gibson selected for hand-carving.

The brown Geib hard case is a delight too (I’m a fan of cases too!)

Read about Wes and the Gibson L-5 CES 

Tuck Andress talks about his ’53 L-5



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