Vintage 1934 Gibson L-5 Archtop


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Guitar connoisseurs, especially of the jazz genre have long known that the best sounding Gibson archtop guitars are the 16" L5 models that were designed by the legendary acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar. The L-5’s were the first f-hole archtop guitars ever made. These were the very first jazz guitars which, largely due to the innovations introduced by Lloyd Loar, possess tonal subtleties and acoustic projection that later models never matched. Loar's design improvements included violin inspired features such as a cantilevered fingerboard, "f" shaped sound holes, and a tap tuned top and back, as well as modern conveniences such as an adjustable bridge and a truss rod. First produced in 1922, the L-5 quickly became the gold standard for jazz guitars and found its way into the hands of numerous virtuosos of the time, including luminaries such as Eddie Lang, Nick Lucas, Les Paul, Carl Kress, and Dick McDonough. Not just a jazz guitar, the L-5 is an extremely versatile instrument that was also played by country music star Mother Maybelle Carter as well as Nashville session guitarist  and Grand Ole Oprey player, Jack Schook. Long after Gibson had introduced the larger Advanced Model L-5s, these smaller 16" models remained legendary for their unparalleled tone and projection, and continued to be the first choice for acoustic work by players such as Barney Kessel, Tony Romano, and Marty Grosz. 

This instrument lives up to its reputation as the sound is simply glorious! It has a full and complex midrange that produces rich chords and flowing, mellifluous single note lines. The bass register is full, yet tight and clear with excellent definition that provides a wonderful bottom end to anything you play. The high end response is crisp yet rounded, with just enough treble to add some sizzle when you need it but is never harsh or grating. This instrument is also phenomenally loud, with the sort of projection that seems to defy physics. It is the consummate acoustic jazz guitar that will cut through in a big band or around a camp fire jam, all the while producing a tone that is rich and full of character.


Archtop with white binding
Spruce top with raised Tortoiseshell Pickguard, unbound f-holes and black/white purfing
Ebony fingerboard with Mother-of-Pearl diamond block inlays and 19 frets
Maple with Walnut centerstripe
NUT 1.75" Bone nut
Triple-bound Walnut-faced headstock with Mother-of-Pearl logo and