Pre-War Gibson L-5 Owners' Club

 

 

 

contact us at info@prewargibsonl-5.com

1931

 

If an instrument appears in one of our picture galleries this is noted beneath the serial number.

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86811

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 9771

Year shipped: 1930

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson' logo, trussrod cover engraved with the name 'Joseph Martori'

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and pearloid blocks inlays from the third fret

Body: Repaired top crack

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, wrapover trapeze tailpiece, long pickguard. The Waverly tuners and rosewood bridge are not original

 

Source: Tim Fees

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86842

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON: 9842

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays starting at the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip tuners, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard

 

Source: Mandolin Brothers

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86843

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON: 9842

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo,

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays starting at the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip tuners, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard

 

Source: Laurence Wexer

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86873

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and long pickguard.

 

Notes: This L-5 belonged to guitarist Les Paul

 

Source: Julien’s Auctions

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86885

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON: 9879

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: Neck with 12 frets clear of the body, 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip Waverly tuners with engraved base plates and pearl buttons, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and ebony bridge

 

Notes: The 12-fret neck suggests that this was a custom order item – label reads: “L-5 spc.”

 

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86939

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON: 9879

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip tuners with pearl buttons, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard

 

Source: Ultimate Vintage

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86940

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Script ‘Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: Replacement fingerboard and non-original Waverly tuners

Body: Spruce top and maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Long pickguard

 

Notes: Eric Schoenberg (of Schoenberg Guitars) says: “We removed a dark overspray and the guitar now has a shine on the finish. There's an area on the back where the original stain was worn and this is now covered with finish.”

 

Source: Schoenberg Guitars (om28.com)

 

 

Serial Number: 86949

(See Type Three Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo and metal truss rod cover engraved with the name ‘Bob Bain’

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with pointed end and wide block inlays from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip tuners with pearl buttons, trapeze tailpiece and long pickguard

 

Notes: This guitar belonged to Bob Bain who played with Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, and Rosemary Clooney

 

Source: scottymoore.net

 

 

Serial Number: 86950

(See Type Three Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo, non-original Grover Rotomatic tuners

Neck/fingerboard: Replacement fingerboard (19 frets with square end and narrow block inlays from the first fret)

Body: Refinished

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts. The tuners, the tailpiece and the bridge are not original

 

Source: Gruhn Guitars (guitars.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86959

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, wrap-over tailpiece and three-on-a-strip tuners with engraved base plate and pearl buttons. Ebony bridge, reproduction pickguard Source: Tony Marcus

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 86981

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON: 9771

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: Dot inlaid 20-fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays starting at the third fret with double dots at the 12th fret

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts including engraved three-on-a-strip Waverly tuners with pearl buttons and wrap-over tailpiece

 

Source: Gryphon Stringed Instruments

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87064

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard: Dot inlaid fingerboard

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87080

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard: Block inlaid fingerboard

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87083

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: Fingerboard with pointed end and dots from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Wrap-over trapeze trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard

 

Source: Met Museum

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87092

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON: 8932

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo, metal truss rod cover engraved ‘Bob Gibbons’

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard (refretted) with pointed and dot inlays from the fret five

Body: Body and neck are refinished

Hardware: The hardware (three-on-a-strip tuners and wrap over trapeze tailpiece) have been replaced with vintage parts while the pickguard is a repro by Cumberland Acoustics.

 

Notes:

 

Source: Ken Waltham

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87093

(See Type Three Gallery

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo, three-on-a-strip Waverly tuners

Neck/fingerboard: 20-fret fingerboard with a pointed end and wide block markers from the third fret

Body: maple back with maple sides

Hardware: gold-plated metal parts including wrap-over trapeze tailpiece. Short pickguard

 

Notes: Tight finish crack on the bass side. Separation of the lower centre seam can be felt on the back of the guitar. Original hard shell case

 

Source: Heritage Auctions

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87155

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo. Gold-plated three-on-a-strip tuners with engraved base plate and pearl buttons

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dots from the third fret

Body: 16-inch body, maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware including wrap over tailpiece. Ebony bridge, replacement endpin

 

Notes: missing pickguard

 

Source: Dexter Johnson Carmel Music Co. (carmelmusic.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87167

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87215

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON: 9952

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the third fret

Body: Maple back and sides, solid carved braces

Hardware: Pickguard missing, wrap over trapeze tailpiece, three-on-a-strip tuners with pearl buttons

Notes: There is a hairline crack under the tailpiece

 

Source: wexerguitars.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87216

FON: 9952

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87230

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body: Refinished

Hardware: Three-on-a-strip tuners, regular trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard with holes drilled in it

 

Notes: This is one of two L-5s purchased by Les Paul (then going by the name of Rhubarb Red) from the Gibson factory in 1933

 

Source: Julien’s Auctions

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial number: 87259

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 9952

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson' logo,

Neck/fingerboard: See ‘Notes’ below

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated hardware including regular trapeze tailpiece. The tuners are modern replacements

 

Notes: Has two labels, one over the other, both with the same serial number. The guitar has a factory refinish and has been fitted with a later ‘Advanced’ style, 20-fret fingerboard with a pointed end and narrow blocks inlays from the first fret

 

Source: Tony Marcus

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87464

FON: 99xx

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87479

(See Type Two Gallery *)

FON: 9965

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: Replacement fingerboard

Body: Maple back with maple sides. Solid top braces

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts including engraved three-on-a-strip Waverly tuners with pearl buttons and wrap-over tailpiece. Short pickguard

 

Notes: Has original hardshell case.

 

Given the fact that this guitar no longer has its original fingerboard, there is no way of knowing for sure whether it started life as a Type Two (dot markers) or Type Three (block markers) L-5

 

Source: Musurgia

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87557

(See Type Three Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: horizontal 'The Gibson' logo, individual Grover 98G tuners

Neck/fingerboard: 19-fret rosewood fingerboard with a square end and wide block markers from the third fret

Body: maple back with maple sides, solid tone bars

Hardware: gold-plated metal parts, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and long pickguard

 

Source: Kennard Machol

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87558

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87562

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard:

Body:

Hardware:

 

Notes: Neck replaced in 1932

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87708

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: Pearloid headstock facing with engraved horizontal ‘Gibson’ logo and floral motif (no flowerpot). Pearloid truss rod cover

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret pearloid fingerboard with pointed end and offset dot position markers at frets 17 and 19

Body: There are a number of top cracks and two small screw holes at the end of the fingerboard

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, engraved three-on-a-strip tuners with pearloid buttons and wrap-over trapeze tailpiece. The pickguard, the pickguard mounting hardware and one tuner button are missing

 

Notes:. Has original hardshell case

 

Source: Mass Street Music

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87723

(See Type Two Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON: 9965

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo, three-on-a-strip tuners

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the third fret

Body: Maple back with maple sides

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts and wrap-over tailpiece

 

Source:  John G. Stewart Fine Guitars (myjazzhome.com)

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87725

FON: 9965

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock:

Neck/fingerboard: Block inlaid fingerboard

Body:

Hardware:

 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87887

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret, pearl nut

Body: There are a number of hairline cracks near the f-holes and some overspray

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Grover open back tuners, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece, short bound pickguard and ebony bridge

 

Notes: White oval ‘Guaranteed’ label, original hardshell case

 

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87990

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 8955

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘ Gibson' logo Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret ebony fingerboard with square end and block inlays from the first fret

Body: Two or three minor repaired cracks in the maple back. Solid tone bars

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, regular trapeze tailpiece, long bound pickguard. Replacement tuners

 

Notes: Pickguard has a tight crack near the end of the neck. Has original case

 

Source: Mass Street Music

 

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87991

(See Type Three Gallery)

FON: 9965

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and block inlays from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, three-on-a-strip tuners with engraved base plates and pearl buttons, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece. Pickguard has deteriorated

Notes: Has original hardshell case

 

Source: Gothic City Guitars

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87992

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the third fret

Body: Maple back with maple sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including and regular trapeze tailpiece. Reproduction Waverly three-on-a-strip, pearl button tuners and replaced bridge, short pickguard

 

Notes: This L-5 appears to have been factory refinished Cherry red in the early 1960s (note the large numbers stamped into the rear of headstock). According to Gibson researcher Joe Spann, the guitar was manufactured and shipped early in 1931 and returned to the factory for repairs in 1937, 1940 and 1941. It’s unlikely however that the refinish was done at any of these dates and since we don’t have access to Gibson ledgers beyond September of 1951, we are unable to confirm at what point it took place

 

Source: Tony Marcus

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87993

(See Type Two Gallery)

FON: Illegible

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal 'The Gibson' logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the third fret

Body:

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, individual tuners, wrap-over trapeze tailpiece and short pickguard

 

Source: John Stewart

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial Number: 87997

FON:

Year shipped: 1931

 

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo,

Neck/fingerboard: Pearl nut, dot inlays from the third fret

Body: A couple of grain line cracks near the soundholes have been resealed and the body has some light overspray

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Grover open back tuners and patent stamped wrap-over trapeze tailpiece

 

Source: Joe Vinikow

 

 

Model: L-5

Serial number: 88003

(See Type Three Gallery)

Year shipped: 1931

FON:

 

Headstock: horizontal script ‘Gibson' logo, Grover Gold-plated Grover 98G tuners

Neck/fingerboard: 19-fret fingerboard with square end, blocks inlays from the 3rd fret

Body: maple back and sides

Hardware: gold-plated hardware including regular trapeze tailpiece. Long pickguard.

 

Notes: restored by Bryant Trenier

 

 

Source: Rudy Pensa (rudysmusic.com)