1936

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: 92783

Shipped: 1936

Year FON: 321A3

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo, truss rod cover engraved ‘G.E.M.’ (possibly C.E.M.’)

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 24 ¾ inch scale length. Wide neck heel

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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds. Long bound pickguard

Notes: This guitar was refinished, refretted, and had the tuners replaced by Gibson in the late 1950s. A floating DeArmond pickup has been installed.

Source: Carter Vintage (cartervintage.com)

Serial Number: 92824

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 314-3

(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 bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and Grover Imperial tuners (see Notes below). Long bound pickguard

Notes: Shortly after being shipped, this guitar was returned to the factory, where it apparently stayed in inventory for nearly two years whilst being reconditioned and upgraded – hence the small bound f-holes, the hinged tailpiece and the Grover Imperial tuners

Source: Craig Brody of guitarbroker.com

Serial Number: 92895

Year shipped: 1936

FON

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 92947

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 447B

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo, ‘Made in the USA’ stamp on rear of headstock (see Notes below)

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 and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard

Notes: The bridge is a replacement

Source: Vintage Jazz Guitars

Serial number: 92961

Year shipped: 1936 

FON: 447B followed by ‘12’ in red pencil

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

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

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 hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: Repaired crack in X-brace and new mother of pearl nut. The bottom of the original bridge (which had been shaved down) has been built up.

Source: Greg Poulos

Serial Number: 93079

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 554B-6 (the ‘6’ is in red ink)

(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 and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard

Notes: Tuners and bridge are replacements and a strap button has been installed on the heel. Evidence suggests that this guitar was refinished at the Gibson factory early in its life. Fitted with a 1960s DeArmond pickup

Source: Glen Johnson and Skinner Auctions and Gruhn Guitars (guitars.com)

Serial Number: 93097

Year shipped: 1936

FON:

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 93099

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 554

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal script ‘Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays starting at the first fret

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body with X-braced top and unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, individual tuners, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend and long pickguard

Source: Vintage & Rare Guitars

Serial Number: 93121

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 1356-18

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ 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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece

Notes: The tuners, bridge and pickguard have been replaced (the original bridge and tuners have been stored with the guitar). The fingerboard has been refretted by Gruhn Guitars

This guitar is listed in Gibson’s shipping ledgers as “L-5 old.” The FON indicates a pre-1935 body. The fingerboard appears to have been replaced in the late 30s

Source: Glen Johnson and Gruhn Guitars

Serial Number: 93170

Year shipped: 1936

FON:

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

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

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 24 3/4-inch scale length and 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. Long bound pickguard

Notes: Has been re-fretted. Reproduction tuners

Source: John Stewart

Serial Number: 93206

Year shipped:

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. 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 hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and Grover Imperial tuners. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: original hardshell case

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

Serial Number: 93207

Year shipped:

FON: 

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

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

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 hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds 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: 93222

Year Shipped

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. 24 ¾-inch scale length. 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

Notes: Non-original tuners, pickguard and bracket, some overspray to the rear of the headstock and a strap button installed on the bass side of the heel.

Source: Musurgia (musurgia.com) 

Serial Number: 93276

Year shipped: 1936

FON:

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

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

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

Body: 17-inch body with maple back, sides, large unbound f-holes and parallel top bracing

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: This L-5 displays a number of unusual features including a rosewood fingerboard and parallel top bracing (most early Advanced L-5s are X braced). Has original tweed hard shell case

Source: Retrofret (retrofret.com)

Serial Number: 93277

Year shipped: 1936

FON:

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 93281

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 634

(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 and individual open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys. Long bound pickguard

Source: Gruhn Guitars

Serial number: 93291

Year Shipped: 1936

FON:

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and open-back Grover 98G ‘Sta-tite’ tuners with butterbean keys., rosewood bridge

Notes: Missing pickguard. According to Guernsey’s Auction House, where this L-5 was offered for sale in 2016, its first owner was George VanEps. It subsequently belonged to Howard Roberts before being acquired by Don Peake in the early 60s. This is one of just seventeen 16-inch L-5s shipped in 1936

Source: Guernsey’s Auction House

Serial Number: 93549

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 

Hardware: Old style tailpiece

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 93639

Year shipped: 1936

FON: 999-2

(See Type Three 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 length and 1 ¾-inch nut

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body with X braced top and unbound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, flat tailpiece with ‘L-5’ legend, rosewood bridge and long pickguard

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial number: 93943

Year shipped: 1936

FON: illegible

(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 large unbound f-holes (see Notes for information on bracing pattern)

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

Notes: Non-original tuners 

This L-5 has an unusual bracing pattern. The top is parallel braced but with two additional outer top braces that are positioned between each soundhole and the rim. In addition, it has “Spec. L-5R” hand-written on the underside of the soundboard. The ‘R’ designation stands for ‘Regular finish’ (i.e. sunburst) in the same way that ‘N’ stands for ‘Natural finish’

Source: Mark Anagnostopulos