1937

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

Although the Natural finish option wasn’t officially available until 1939, 21 L-5s were shipped with a Natural finish in 1937 and 1938 (this number includes one of the last 16-inch models, which was delivered with a Natural finish in May 1938)

Serial Number: 94094

Year shipped: 1937

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 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

Notes: The pickguard is missing

Source: Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions

Serial Number: 94133

Year shipped: 1937

FON:

(See 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 and wide neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, X-braced top and small unbound f-holes. The label has 1 1/8″ on its lower left-hand side

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

Notes: This guitar belonged to Marty Grosz.  It has its original tweed case. The first five digits of the FON are extremely difficult to read so that the number quoted above may not be correct

Source: Nino Fazio

Serial number: 94138

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 1198 C

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo (lacks a dot over the letter ‘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 flat tailpiece engraved with ‘L-5’ legend. and rosewood bridge

Notes: The original tuners have been replaced, a replica pickguard has been fitted and the guitar has been re-fretted with period-correct fretwire. Still has its original Geib case

“I have been the proud owner L-5 serial number 94138 since 1969,” says the guitar’s owner, Dan Burm. “I bought it from a well-known talent agent, Sammy Tucker, who in turn had bought it from Herb Ellis in the 1950’s. It is the virtual twin to L-5 serial number 94139 (LINK)This guitar is one of 212 Sunburst Advanced L-5s shipped in 1937

Source: Dan Burm

Serial number: 94139

Year shipped: 1937

FON

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo (lacks a dot over the letter ‘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 large 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

Notes: This guitar has been buffed but retains the original finish with possibly some overspray in a couple of spots. 94139 is a serial number that also appears on an L-7 T tenor guitar

Source: Charlie Cushman

Serial Number: 94179

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 94225

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 12040

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial number: 94267

Year shipped: 1937

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 and large 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

Notes: Has been refinished (factory?). Has original hardshell case

Source: Heritage Auctions

Serial Number: 94348

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 94352

Year shipped: 1937

FON:

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Large, ‘flared’ headstock with horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

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

Notes: The large neck heel, ‘Advanced’ style fingerboard and ‘flared’ headstock are features more usually found on 17-Inch L-5s suggesting that the neck was replaced in the late 30s.

Source: Kennard Machol

Serial Number: 94390

Year shipped: 1937

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, 25 1/2 inch scale length and wide neck heel

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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Grover Imperial tuners. Rosewood bridge

Notes: The pickguard is missing

Source: Buzzy Levine, Lark Street Music (larkstreetmusic.com)

Serial Number: 94470

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 94579

Year shipped: 1937

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, 25 1/2 inch scale length and wide neck heel

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

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

Notes: Both the neck and body and been refinished to Natural and a deep Florentine cutaway has been added. The pickguard is a reproduction and a floating pickup has been installed. The neck heel has been repaired

Source: archtop.com

Serial Number: 94666

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 9.3 0-2

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Large, ‘flared’ headstock with horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first to the seventeenth frets. 25½ inch scale length. Wide neck heel

Body: Maple back and sides

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

Notes: The wide neck heel, ‘Advanced’ style fingerboard, ‘flared’ headstock and long bound pickguard are features more usually found on 17-Inch L-5s suggesting that the neck was replaced in the late 1930s.

Source: Sun Valley Guitars

Serial Number: 94679

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 94773

Year shipped: 1937

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 and large unbound f-holes.Parallel top bracing

Hardware: See Notes

Notes: This guitar has been completely refinished and all of the hardware has been replaced. There are several unspecified repairs. A floating pickup has been installed and a strap button added at the heel

Source: Marek Rejhon

Serial Number: 94976

Year shipped: 1937

FON:

Notes: Refinished

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 94906 (possibly 91906)

FON

(See Type Three Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and wide block inlays from the third fret. Truss rod cover of the type more usually seen on 17-Inch L-5s

Body: Maple back and sides

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

Notes: Has been fitted with a humbucking pickup plus tone and volume controls, which will have necessitated cutting holes in the front of the guitar. The pickguard has been cut to accommodate the pickup and the tuners have been replaced. The serial number appears to be either 91906 or 94906, indicating that the guitar was shipped in 1935 or 1937

Source: David Tarkington

Serial Number: 94989

Year shipped: 1937

FON: 546C-3

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 and a parallel braced top

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including flat tailpiece engraved with L-5 legend. Long bound pickguard

Notes: The top has two cleated cracks, the guitar has been refretted and the nut (original in case), tuners and bridge have been replaced. Has original hardshell case

Source: Chuck Nicholson

Serial Number: 95011

Year Shipped: 1937 

FON: 546C followed by – 4 in red pencil

(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

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: A strap button has been added on the heel

Source: Craig Jones Bay State Vintage Guitars (baystatevintageguitars.com)

Serial Number: 95022

FON: 

Year shipped: 1937

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 95080

Year Shipped: 1937 

FON:

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo. Has the name ‘Bobby Sherwood’ engraved on the truss rod cover

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

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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and individual Grover Imperial tuners. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Source:  Stéphane Neidhardt