1939

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

From 1939 the L-5 was offered – as the L-5P (Premier) – with a single rounded ‘Venetian’ style cutaway. Examples with a cutaway and Natural finish were designated L-5PN

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

Serial number: 95666

Year shipped: 1939 

FON: D-1 (?) The D is ink stamped and the 1 is handwritten

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo. Has the name ‘S.C. Ronsley’ engraved on the truss rod cover

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 bound f-holes. Parallel braced top

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

Notes: The nut and frets have been replaced, loose binding on the body reattached, the fingerboard re-bound and a separated centre seam repaired. A strap button has been installed on the heel cap. Has a reproduction tailpiece and reproduction pickguard by Paul Fox (fox-guitars.com)

Source: Mark Anagnostopulos

Serial Number: 95795

Year shipped: 1939

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 bound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Source: Vintage Guitars Sweden (vintage-guitars.se)

Serial Number: 95833 (hard to read)

Year Shipped: 1939

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

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

Hardware: See Notes

Notes: The tailpiece, tuners and bridge are not original, and the pickguard is missing. The truss rod cover appears to be a replacement or has been modified

Source: Frank

Serial Number: 95840

Year Shipped: 1939

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 bound f-holes 

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

Source: David Johns

Serial Number: 95865

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 139 D-1 (could be 189 D)

(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, parallel-braced top and large bound 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

Source: John G Stewart

Serial number: 95906

Year shipped: 1939 

FON: 269 E-1

(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

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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and Grover Imperial tuners

Notes: Has been re-fretted and there is overspray on the back of the neck. The pickguard is a replacement

Source: Richard Gellis 

Serial number: 95928

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 244 E-1

(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 bound f-holes 

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

Notes: In Gibson’s ledgers this guitar is labeled as ‘LS’ (Long Scale)

Source: Gian Russo

Serial Number: 96594

Year Shipped: 1939

FON:

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 25 ½-inch scale length. Wide neck heel

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece. Rosewood bridge

Notes: Has been fitted with a set of post-war Kluson Sealfast tuners (not original to the guitar) and a reproduction pickguard. A post-war white oval label (still bearing the original serial number) has been affixed to the interior. According to the seller this was common practise when instruments were returned to the factory and may have occurred when the above-mentioned tuners were installed. Has original striped tweed Gibson hardshell case with pink plush lining

Source: Archtop.com

Serial Number: EA 5112

Year shipped: 1939

FON:

Body: 17-inch body, Natural finish

17/05/39 Shipped to Allan Reuss with an ‘EH-150 Amplifier Special Natural’. Not described as electric

11/03/40 ‘Electric L-5 Natural’ shipped to Allan Reuss with a ‘Special EH-150 Amplifier Natural’

25/02/42 ‘Electric Spanish L-5’, shipped to

Lyon and Healy

08/05/42 Shipped to E. Roberts

Notes: Delivered to Alan Reuss in May 1939, along with an EH-150 amplifier. Though not specified as an electric in the first ledger entry, the guitar was described as an “Electric L-5’ when it was shipped to Reuss a second time in March 1940, suggesting that Reuss may have been returned it to the factory to be fitted with electronics

Serial number: EA 5115

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 813 E (hard to read)

(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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: Replacement pickguard and a small professionally repaired crack in the side. The finish has been over-sprayed

Source: Oliver Fröhlich

Serial number EA 5127

Year shipped: 1939

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, large bound f-holes and Natural finish

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.

Source: Herbert Maschner

Serial number EA 5128

Year shipped: 1939

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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Grover Imperial tuners. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Source: Gian Russo

Serial number EA 5130

Year shipped: 1939

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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Long bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: A strap button has been added at the heel and one of the tuner buttons is a replacement

Source: Ryann

Serial number EA 5157

Year shipped: 1939

FON:

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret ebony 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 bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners with metal buttons. Rosewood bridge

Notes: The body has been over-sprayed and there are some areas of replaced binding. Screw holes on the bass side of the neck are where a pickup was once attached. Reproduction pickguard (the deteriorated original pickguard is in case). Has original hardshell case

Source: Tommy Kay, Imperial Vintage Guitars (shaiashguitar@gmail.com))

Serial Number: EA 5168

Year shipped: 1939

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 bound f-holes 

Hardware: See Notes

Notes: The entire guitar has been refinished, a strap button has been added at the heel and all of the hardware has been replaced. The pickguard is missing

Source: Marek Rejhon

Serial Number: EA 5231

Year shipped: 1939 

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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece

Notes: The pickguard is missing

This guitar belonged to Nashville session and radio guitarist Jack Shook.

Source: Cheryl Offutt

Serial Number: EA-5376

Year Shipped: 1939

FON: 441 E

(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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Rosewood bridge and long bound pickguard

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

Serial number: EA-5424

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 459E-2

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal script ‘Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 25 ½-inch scale length

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish, large bound f-holes and parallel top bracing

Hardware: Rosewood bridge inlaid with Super 400 style pearl triangles. 

Notes: The pickguard, tailpiece and tuners are not original to the guitar. There is some light overspray. Has been fitted with an Armstrong floating pickup together with tone and volume controls and an endpin jack socket. The neck has been reset and the fingerboard extension shimmed so that it now resembles that of a post 1940 L-5P. The neck has been reset and the fingerboard extension shimmed so that it now resembles that of a post 1940 L-5P (early examples of the L-5P had a fingerboard that was glued flush to the top of the guitar rather than being elevated as on the non-cutaway L-5)

Source: Joe Vinikow (archtop.com)

Serial Number: EA 5459

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 459 E-7

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and bound pickguard 

Notes: Raised brass star was added by a former owner

Source: Gary’s Classic Guitars

Serial Number: EA-5461

Year Shipped: 1939

FON: 459E-1

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. 25 ½-inch scale length. Wide neck heel. Bone nut

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

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. rosewood bridge

Notes:  Has reproduction pickguard by Mirabella. Two small screw holes have been filled from a previously installed pickguard bracket. Has its original striped tweed Gibson hardshell case

Source: Archtop.com

Serial Number: EA 5556

Year Shipped: 1939

FON: 

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

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

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

Notes: First shipped to the Stoner Piano Co. in Des Moines, Iowa

Source: Kevin Siggins (gibson-prewar.com)

Serial Number: EA 5577

Year Shipped: 1939 

FON: 

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: Clear overspray to the back of the neck, replacement pickguard, frets and nut. Has original tweed hard shell case

Source: Musurgia (musurgia.com)

Serial Number: EA 5590

Year shipped: 1939

FON:

Body: 17-inch body

Notes: 12/12/39 ‘Electric L-5’ shipped to J. B. Millhollan – 

Serial Number: EA-5610

Year Shipped: 1939 

FON: 

(See 17-inch Premier 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, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Grover Imperial tuners. Bound pickguard

Notes:  ‘1 1/8’ is handwritten on the label. Has original case stencilled with World War II U.S. Navy bases

Source: Laurence Kenyon

Serial Number: EA-5682

Year shipped: 1939

FON: 309E-7

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

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

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

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

Notes: Needs refret, binding repair (or replacement) and is missing truss rod cover and pickguard. Has original tweed covered hardshell case with orange and black stripes. The serial number appears on the paper guarantee label and is die-stamped into the rear of the headstock 

Source: Gruhn Guitars

Serial Number: EA 5695

Year shipped: 1939

FON:

(See 17-inch Advanced Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘script’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end narrow block inlays from the first fret, 25.4-inch scale length

Body: 17-inch ‘Advanced’ body with parallel top bracing and bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts, Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons, Varitone tailpiece, long bound pickguard, rosewood bridge

Notes: Some finish touch up and sealed centre seam. Has original brown hardshell case

Source: Joe Vinikow, archtop.com

Serial Number: EA 5573

Year shipped: 1939

FON:

(See 17-inch Premier 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, Venetian cutaway, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: Missing pickguard. The ‘Made In The USA’ stamp on the rear of the headstock indicates that this guitar was intended for export. Has ‘1 1/8’ written on interior label

Source: Jay Timbrell

Serial Number: EA 5574

Year shipped: 1939

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 bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece

Notes: Has been fitted with newer US made Grover Imperial tuners and reproduction bound pickguard

Source: Schoenberg Guitars

Serial Number: EG-5026

Year shipped: 1939

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, parallel top bracing, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including hinged tailpiece with silver centre insert and three engraved diamonds and Grover Imperial tuners. Rosewood fingerboard

Notes: The tailpiece hinge has been professionally repaired. Reproduction pickguard. Has original striped tweed G&G hardshell case

Source: Joe Vinikow (archtop.com