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Some variations of the Gibson L5-S guitar. From left to right 1) 1973 - Cherry sunburst. Note the gold plated low impedance 'recording' style pickups 2) 1975 - Still Cherry Sunburst but with humbuckers rather than recording pickups 3) Fireburst finish 4) 1980 Natural L5-S with the TP6 tailpiece.
The L5-S was a particularly fine guitar; the first high end jazz solid body. As the name suggests it was related to the L5 archtop electric acoustic - sharing many features; single-cutaway body (though less sharp horn), ebony fingerboard with block inlays, flowerpot headstock inlay, L-5 tailpiece with contrasting silver on gold and the multilayer binding throughout. Another similar model was the L6-S which was a simplified version of the same guitar, launched in 1974.
Features: Carved curly maple body, with ornate multilayer binding, laminated maple neck, ebony fingerboard with abalone block inlays, gold-plated hardware throughout (pre-78 tailpiece has contrasting silver centrepiece, later changed to a gold plated TP-6). "L5" engraving, two gold plated pickups with seperate volume and tone, three way selector switch. Width at nut 1 11/16", scale 24 3/4".
It was Gibsons most prestigeous olid body (and therefore expensive, with a couple exceptions). Prices were typically 30-40% more than the other high end Gibson solid bodies; the Les Paul Recording, LP Custom and SG Custom. The exceptions were in 1979/1980 when the very fine Flying VII and active Les Paul Artist models were available; both were between $50 and $100 more, and were deleted almost as quickly as they had arrived.
Famous users include Ron Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Pat Martino and Paul Simon
|There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment|
|Norm Elder Comment left 13th November 2011 13:01:57|
I own a 1973 L5 - S and IMO, it is the most fantastic guitar Gibson ever made. My L-5 has been used on so many recording projects, I lost count. The beauty of the instrument has to be in the low impedance pick ups, any tone can be created from big box jazz to "Telecaster" twang. When I play out, I run the L5 through a pair of Twin Reverb Fender amps, w/ real JBLs', none others need apply. Do not pass up the chance to play one of these incredible guitars, should the opportunity come your way. Norm
|Tommy Tom Tom Comment left 7th March 2012 08:08:06|
In the avert up above Santana is playing the L6-S model, not an L5-S. Just sayin'.
|vintage guitar and bass Comment left 7th March 2012 08:08:20|
You are correct Tom - that is not meant to show Carlos Santana with a L5S - rather it is the cover of the 1975 Gibson Solid Body guitar catalogue from which the quote below it (about the L5S) is taken
|Phil Meek Comment left 30th November 2013 21:09:17|
I bought my custom L-5 S around 1980. This thing traveled all over the northwest playing everything from little bar gigs to some pretty big time concerts. I still have it and do play it once in a while. I have everything from strats to PRS and Carvin, but my L-5 is still my baby. When I pass it will go to my daughter. Thanks Gibson for a dream come true that has lasted for my lifetime.