Gibson L-5 Lloyd Loar

Gibson L-5 Lloyd Loar

Guitar Gavel Gear Of The Week with Will Ray - SX Les Paul style Gold Top

Is it a cheapo? You betcha!

Is it ready for the stage? Yes!

Shimming P-90s and enlarging fret markers with nail polish, Will gives us some tips on how he shores up a guitar and makes it his own. Even Will has to see where he's playing.

The best part? "Let me show you what this puppy can do here": 3:10

Mark Blasko, the owner of Cumberland Guitars in Jamestown, KY, sent me this amazing video last week. It’s a 10-minute time lapse detailing his team’s restoration and documentation of a 1923 Gibson L-5 Master Model, the earliest known L-5 to be signed by Lloyd Loar. 

The video sprinkles in a great history lesson among the details of their excruciating guitarcheology efforts. I rarely share videos, but when you have the time to watch it you will not be disappointed. Below the video preview is a compilation of facts about the L-5 and the guitar’s place in musical history. 

• Only 35 Lloyd Loar signed L-5’s are known to exist. 

• This one is the earliest dated/signed L-5, February 28, 1923. It predates the next earliest earliest example by 128 days, July 6, 1923.

• The L-5 shares several features first deployed by Loar on his mandolin designs: an adjustable truss rod (the first guitar to have one), height adjustable bridge, raised pickguard, and raised fretboard over the body. 

• Note: The adjustable steel truss rod and height adjustable bridge were invented by Gibson engineer Ted McHugh in 1921. His patent for the truss rod was approved in 1923.

• The L-5 set the gold standard for all following archtop guitars including D’Angelico, Stromberg, and Gibson’s main competitor, Epiphone.

• Aside from being the most influential jazz guitar, Maybelle Carter played a 1928 L-5, making it the most important guitar that shaped country music history. 

• The L-5 name is rooted in the fact that it was Gibson’s 5th production model archtop.

• Loar was employed by Gibson from 1919-1924 and after his departure the guitar underwent many changes. Most notably were the size changes to 17”, 18” L-5 Super, a cutaway model in 1939, and a fully electrified version L-5 CES in 1951.

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