Learn the story behind one of the world’s most iconic archtops.
With their carved tops and backs, Orville Gibson’s fretted musical instruments were inspired by the construction methods used for violins, and by the late 1890s his groundbreaking designs had brought the company he founded great success. Lloyd Loar, Gibson’s acoustic engineer, took Orville’s inspiration a step further in the early 1920s by designing a family of high-quality instruments with violin-style f-holes. This “Master Model” group created by Loar and his team included the F-5 mandolin, the H-5 mandola, the K-5 mandocello, and the L-5 guitar.
The first 16"-wide L-5s were made at the end of 1922 and received similar decorative adornments to the F-5, including the famous flowerpot headstock inlay. The 16" L-5 began to change subtly after Loar left the company in 1924, with the most obvious cosmetic difference being the addition of pearl block fretboard inlays replacing the original plain dots.
Calling this maple back “eye-popping” might be an understatement.
The L-5 evolved from its original 16" width to its current 17" width in 1934 in response to Epiphone’s line of “Masterbuilt” archtops. Epiphone’s high-end models measured 16 3/8" wide at the time, so Gibson retaliated by widening its leading archtops (and unveiling the 18" Super 400). Another innovation (besides offering a natural finish option) occurred in 1939 when a rounded cutaway was added to the body on the treble side to allow easier access to the higher frets. The L-5 Premiere was such a hit that the standard non-cutaway L-5 was discontinued by 1958.
World War II nearly brought guitar construction to a standstill while the Gibson factory concentrated on the war effort. Full production was not resumed until 1947.
The L-5 featured this month was made at the end of 1948, and is among the last to have the prewar script logo on the headstock. The inside label still reads L-5P, which by 1949 would be changed to L-5C (for cutaway). Due to a postwar ebony shortage, the fretboard on this example is Brazilian rosewood. Regular use of ebony for L-5 fretboards commenced again in 1950. The rest of the guitar has traditional L-5 features, including a carved spruce top with single-ply bound f-holes, figured maple back, rim, and neck with multi-ply binding, gold-plated Kluson Sealfast tuners, and a gold-plated Art Deco tailpiece.
This ’48 L-5 is one of the last to sport Gibson’s prewar script logo.
From the time of its introduction in 1922 until today, the L-5 has been considered one of the finest jazz guitars. Jazz greats Eddie Lang, Allan Reuss, and Wes Montgomery played versions of this classic model.
Gibson shipped 21 L-5CN guitars in 1948. The 1949 list price was $465. The current value for one in excellent all-original condition is $12,500.
Sources for this article include The Gibson L-5: Its History and Its Players by Adrian Ingram, The Gibson Super 400: Art of the Fine Guitar by Thomas A. Van Hoose, Gibson Shipment Totals 1937-1979 by Larry Meiners, and Gibson Guitars: 100 Years of an American Icon by Walter Carter.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
Mojotone will manufacture and market over 60 of their speaker cabinets and amp kits as “Licensed by Fender.”
This partnership marks Fender's recognition of Mojotone’s dedication to its craft, quality of products, and dependability of knowledge. Beginning November 29th and ranging from $327 - $1,016.
Amplifiers were among the first products to wear the official Fender seal. A qualified electronics technician by trade, Leo Fender developed his iconic amplifiers during the mid-1940s putting innovation at the forefront. To this day, Leo’s influence and innovative spirit can still be heard in today’s amps, as that same iconic, clean Fender tone continues to color new music around the world. As a result, the process for completing the exclusive licensing deal required Fender to carefully audit Mojotone’s amplifier kits, wiring diagrams, electronics, hardware, construction methods, and more to ensure this innovation carried on through the partnership. Mojotone’s many years of intense research, quality production, and favorable reputation solidified the deal.
Mojotone has always been determined to provide its customer base with the most sought-after parts with their insider industry-knowledge. They have spent the last 25 years helping musicians recreate what they deem to be the most famous and easily-recognized tones and aesthetics in the music industry. When purchasing Mojotone products, like Fender products, customers can be assured of unmatched quality and craftsmanship.
For more information, please visit mojotone.com.