The Guitars of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Maybelle Carter Gibson L-5
In 1928, with the money from the Carter Family’s successful first recordings, nineteen-year-old Maybelle Carter paid $275 for the finest guitar she could find, this 1928 Gibson L-5 model. “Mother Maybelle” used it on hundreds of recordings, radio and television programs and live appearances.
As the first f-hole, archtop guitar, the L-5 was designed to be twice as loud as any flattop guitar of the period. Carter used it to revolutionize the role of the guitar, transforming the rhythm instrument into a distinctive lead voice. Her signature “Carter scratch”–heard on classics such as “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Wildwood Flower”–became the most imitated guitar style in America during the 1920s and 1930s.