1940

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: 96202

Year shipped: 1940

FON: 684F-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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: The four-piece back suggests that the guitar may have started life with a sunburst finish, the dark outer areas of which would have hidden the additional sections of maple at the body’s edge

Source: musurgia.com

Serial Number 96204

Year shipped: 1940

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 Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Has original bound pearloid pickguard

Notes: This guitar has been refretted by Norio Imai. Has original case

Source: Buzzy Levine, Larkstreet Music (larkstreetmusic.com)  and Laurence Wexer (wexerguitars.com)

Serial Number: 96179

Year shipped: 1940

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 with Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts

Notes: The tailpiece and pickguard are replacements and the guitar has been fitted with a DeArmond pickup

Source: Imperial Vintage

Serial Number: 96345

Year Shipped: 1940

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

Notes: At some point an under-saddle pickup was fitted with corresponding controls – the latter requiring holes to be drilled through the pickguard

Source: The Music Gallery

Serial Number: 96358

Year shipped: 1940

FON: 945 F

(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 and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: Replacement pickguard

Source: Rudy’s Music

Serial number FA-5015

Year shipped: 1940

FON: 706E

(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, Natural finish and large bound f-holes 

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Kluson Sealfast tuners with metal buttons ((two of which have been changed). Rosewood bridge

Notes: Reproduction tailpiece. The pickguard is missing. This guitar was delivered to guitarist Dave Barbour on April 2nd 1940

Source: François Charle (additional information André Duchossoir)

Serial Number: FA-5165

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

Body: 17-inch body

Notes: Model: Electric L-5N shipped to Les Paul in March 1941 and returned to Gibson shortly after

Source: July 2013 edition of Vintage Guitar Magazine and Dec 2013 edition of Vintage Guitar Magazine

Serial number FA-5166

Year shipped: 1940

FON: 844-2

(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, 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

Notes: This L-5N was first shipped on 20th March 1940 to Lyon & Healy in Chicago

Source:  Gian Russo

Serial Number: FA 5172

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

(See 17-inch Premier Gallery)

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and custom ordered ‘Super 400’ style 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 Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Bound pickguard

Notes: Has a near mint tweed/pink plush lined ‘luggage’ case made by Geib of Chicago

Source: Ultimate Vintage

Serial Number: FA-5173

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

Body: 17-inch body

Source: July 2013 edition of Vintage Guitar Magazine

Serial number: 96030

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

(Pictures withheld)

Headstock: Horizontal script ‘Gibson’ logo

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

Body: Maple back and sides, Natural finish

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

Notes: the guitar has been refretted and there are two stable cracks in the top that have not been repaired.

Source: Withheld

Serial Number: 96267

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

17/11/41 ‘L-5 and Electric Pickup’

shipped to New York Band 

Notes: This may be an acoustic L-5 that was shipped with a detachable pickup.

Serial Number: 96515

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

Body: 17-inch body

Notes: Sent to Charlie Christian in June 1941. Following Christian’s death in 1942, the guitar was returned to Gibson. It later belonged to Tony Mottola and in the 40s was fitted with a second bar pickup at the bridge, which Mottola later replaced with a humbucker.

Source: Dec 2013 edition of Vintage Guitar Magazine

Serial number 96516

Year shipped: 1940

FON: 1343F-9

(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 and large bound f-holes 

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

Notes: This L-5P is just one digit away from the serial number of the electric L-5P that Gibson made for Charlie Christian 

Source: Gian Russo

Serial Number: 96557

Year shipped: 1940

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, 25 3/8-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 and Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Bound pickguard and rosewood bridge

Notes: Has original tweed case

Source: John Stewart and Nino Fazio (www.realvintage.it)

Serial Number: 96576

Year shipped: 1940

FON:

Body: 17-inch body with Venetian cutaway and Natural finish

Notes: Over-sprayed neck and repaired side crack

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com