1935

The shipping dates listed below relate to the instrument’s serial number and are based on information provided in Spann’s Guide To Gibson by Joseph E. Spann

Note that the serial number indicates the date at which the instrument was shipped rather than its date of manufacture

All examples have maple back and sides unless otherwise indicated

The first L-5s with a 17-inch wide ‘Advanced’ body were shipped in 1935 and the list below includes examples with both the new 17-inch body and the old-style 16-inch body

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

Serial Number: 91329

 Year Shipped: 1935

FON: 1277-4

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. Wide neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small unbound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend

Notes: Repaired cracks in the top, side and heel. The tuners have been replaced. Formerly owned and used by Opry staff musician Steve Gibson. This instrument does not appear in the shipping ledgers probably indicating that it was sold at the Gibson factory

Source: Gruhn Guitars (guitars.com)

Serial Number: 91438

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece. Long bound pickguard has been cut to accommodate a pickup

Notes: The tuners have been replaced and a previous owner has scratched his name into the back of the headstock. A centre-seam split in the back has been cleated

Source: Jack Fields

Serial Number: 91440 (see ‘Notes’ below)

Year shipped: 1935

FON: Appears to be 126?-7 (fourth digit illegible)

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Ebony bridge

Notes:  A two-inch crack at the bottom of the guitar has been repaired and there is some over-spray on the sides. The neck has been neck reset and refretted and the tuners replaced. The pickguard is missing. Has original hardshell case

The original serial number on the interior label is unreadable, but a previous owner has written the number ‘91440’

Source: Union Grove Music (uniongrovemusic.com)

Serial Number: 91475

Year shipped: 1935

FON

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 91503

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1259

Body: Three patched holes in top

Hardware: Replaced hardware

Notes: Guarantee label

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial number: 91521

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1244

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and ebony bridge

Notes: Has a repaired hairline crack near the treble side f-hole

Source: Skip Sail

Serial Number: 91522

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and ebony bridge

Notes: Restoration by Cris Mirabella included concealing marks left where larger tuners and a strap button had been fitted and making a new nut. According to Hank Risan, who owned this guitar, there is reason to believe that it once belonged to Les Paul

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

Serial Number: 91615

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Elongated headstock with horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo and custom floral headstock inlay

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and custom ‘wreath’ style picture frame inlays. 1 13/16 inch nut width

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Original long bound pickguard and ebony bridge

Notes: There are two grain-line cracks at either end of the bass f-hole and a resealed centre seam beneath the tailpiece. This L-5 was custom-built for Carl Kress

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

Serial number: 91681

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1169

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece. Long bound pickguard

Notes: Non-original bass side tuners

Source: Walter Bibinger

Serial Number: 91774

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1356

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides, kerfed top braces

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece

Notes: Currently fitted with a set of reproduction tuners (five of the original open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys are stored in the case). The ebony bridge has the serial number hand-written on its underside and has a ‘turn-over’ saddle for Hawaiian playing. The pickguard is a replica

Source: prewargibsonl-5/ Joe Vinikow, archtop.com  

Serial Number: 91793

Year shipped: 1935

FON:

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo. 

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

Body: Maple back and maple side. Kerfed top braces

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including individual tuners and regular trapeze tailpiece. Long pickguard

Source: Romain Vuillemin

Serial Number: 91879

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and wide block inlays from the third fret. The truss rod cover is engraved with the name ‘Dick Wiley’

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece

Notes: The guitar has been fitted with a Gibson McCarty Pickguard

Source: Jon

Serial Number: 91906 

Shipped: 1935

FON:

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: Block inlays

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 91912

Year shipped: 1935

FON:

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides, white oval label

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys, regular trapeze tailpiece, ebony bridge, long bound pickguard

Notes: Has original red stripe hardshell cas

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

Serial Number: 91917

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1399-11

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with pointed end and wide block inlays from the first to the seventeenth frets

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys (one of the tuners is a non-original nickel-plated replacement)

Notes: A humbucking pickup and associated controls have been removed and the resulting holes have been professionally filled and refinished. In addition, the guitar has been refretted and fitted with a reproduction pickguard (the original ‘guard is stored in the case).  The top, back, sides and neck have been over-sprayed and a three-inch crack above the bass side f-hole has been repaired. Has original hardshell case

Source: Mandolin Brothers and Ruurd Feitsma

Serial number: 92198 Hank Garland

Year shipped: 1935

FON:

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays. Wide neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with small unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: This L-5 belonged to Hank Garland. In 1956, Hank asked Gibson to make a ‘Charlie Christian’ style pickup with a custom white pearloid cover and matching pearl coloured pickguard for his blonde 1955 Byrdland. At the same time Hank also requested a pickup for the guitar pictured here

Images Courtesy of Mike Thompson

Serial Number: 91930

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1399-13

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and narrow pearl block inlays from the first to the seventeenth frets (see Notes below)

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat plate tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Ebony bridge

Notes: Although this L-5 has a 16-inch body, it displays a number of features similar to those found on the 17-inch ‘Advanced’ L-5s that Gibson introduced in 1935. These include narrow block fingerboard inlays at the first and seventeenth frets, a wide neck heel and a flat tailpiece engraved with the L-5 legend. While these features might be viewed as indicative of the changes that Gibson was introducing at this time, it is more likely that the guitar was returned to the factory in the late 30s and the neck, fingerboard and tailpiece replaced. This appears to be borne out by the shipping information provided by Joe Spann

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auction

Serial Number: 92032

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 14XX – followed by a ‘1’ in red pencil (the second and third numbers are illegible)

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys.

Notes: The top centre seam has been resealed in the area beneath the tailpiece and there is some lacquer overspray over most of the instrument (the headstock face excluded). Reproduction pickguard. Has its original black hardshell case

Source Retrofret Guitars 

Serial Number: 92033

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first to the seventeenth frets

Body: Maple back and sides. Large unbound f-holes similar to those seen on some 17-inch L-5s. Has solid tone bars rather than the kerfed braces fitted to most of the later 16-inch examples

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece

Notes: The pickguard, tuners and bridge are replacements. Some overspray to the finish, a repaired crack at the treble f-hole and resealed centre seam beneath the tailpiece. Has original hardshell case.

This L-5 displays a puzzling combination of features that include an ‘Advanced’ style fingerboard, large unbound f-holes and solid (rather than kerfed) tone bars. A possible explanation is that the both the fingerboard and top were replaced in the late 1930s.

Source: Joe Vinikow (archtop.com)

Serial Number: 92034 (see Notes)

Year shipped: 1935 

FON: 1498-5

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and wide pearl block inlays from the third fret. Bone nut

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. The long, bound pickguard has begun to exhibit signs of celluloid deterioration. Adjustable ebony bridge with a ‘turn-over’ saddle for Hawaiian playing

Notes: The frets have been replaced and there are a few small divots in in the lower positions of the fingerboard. An unusual ink stamp that reads “Model L-5” appears on the inside back in several places – this does not appear to be an official Gibson marking. Although the label is missing, the number 92034 is etched on the underside of the pickguard

Source: Retrofret

Serial Number: 92035

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 1498

Headstock: Script Gibson logo

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 92230

Year shipped: 1935

FON: 142-9

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo with no dot on the i

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with pointed end and wide block inlays from the first fret. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small unbound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge 

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

Serial Number: 92301

Year Shipped:  1935

FON:

See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds (an opening in the tailpiece for an endpin jack has been filled and concealed) and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Rosewood bridge

Notes: The fingerboard has been refretted and there is a crack beneath tailpiece and small cracks along either edge of the fingerboard end. The finish has been over-sprayed. The pickguard is a replacement (the original, which has a cut-out for a pickup, is in the case). Has original Gibson Redline hardshell case

Source: umanovguitars.com

Serial Number:  92330

Year shipped: 1935

FON: n/a

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo with the name ‘Harold Dickman’ engraved on the trussrod cover

Neck/fingerboard: See Notes below. 24 ¾ inch scale length. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, X-braced top and small unbound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including individual flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend and open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard

Notes: Replaced fingerboard (with pointed end and wide blocks from the first fret). Has original hardshell case

Source: John Stewart

Serial Number: 92576

Year Shipped: 1935 

FON: 128?

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 24 ½ inch scale length. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with X-braced top, maple back and sides and small, unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend. Rosewood bridge and long pickguard

Notes: Non-original tuners. Re-glued seam beneath the tailpiece

 Source: Eric Schoenberg, Schoenberg Guitars (om28.com)

Serial Number: 92605

Year shipped: 1935

FON: n/a

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 24 ¾ inch scale and 1 3/4″ nut width. Wide neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, X-braced top and small unbound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

Serial number: 92284

Year shipped: 1935 

FON: The FON is 128A-1 (the -1 is written in red pencil)

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and wide block inlays from the first fret. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small unbound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Source: Jon Zobler

Serial number: 92296

Year shipped: 1935

FON: FON 215A-1 (the -1 is written in red pencil)

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony fingerboard with pointed end and wide block inlays from the first fret. Pointed neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides and small unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend. Rosewood bridge

Notes: Replacement tuners and a repro pickguard. “1” appears on the label

Source: Tony Marcus