Loar-signed L-5s

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. For example, 16 of the instruments listed below were shipped after Loar had left Gibson (ten in 1925 and six in 1926)

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

Serial Number: 73718

Year shipped: 1923

Virzi Number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on July 6th 1923

Headstock: Unusual headstock shape, diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at fifth fret

Body: Birch back, no Virzi fitted. The back has a translucent brown finish

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard.

Notes: This is the only L-5 that Gibson is known to have shipped in 1923 and as such, the earliest L-5 on record

Source: Peter Kohman (musurgia.com) and Carter Vintage

Serial Number: 76477

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo (see neck/fingerboard below)

Neck/fingerboard: Late 1920s neck and fingerboard fitted

Body: Birch back. The presence of a label suggests that this guitar was initially fitted with a Virzi Tone Producer, which has since been removed

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Short bound pickguard

Notes: The neck appears to have been replaced in the late 20s. The large neck-heel is something more commonly seen on 17-inch L-5s and may have been added when the guitar was returned to Kalamazoo for repairs in 1947

Source: Laurence Kenyon/www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 76478

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10173

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated By Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Maple back and sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard, replacement bridge.

Source Lowell Levinger and Darryl Wolfe’s F-5 Journal

Serial number: 76480

Year shipped: 1924 

Virzi Number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated By Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Birch back, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Notes: (www.mandolinarchive.com lists this guitar as having no Virzi Tone Producer)

Source: Norman’s Rare Guitars

Serial Number: 76482

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10187

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrapover tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: George Gruhn, www.gruhn.com and Ruurd Feitsma of the Dutch Archtop Museum

Serial Number: 76483

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10185

(See Type One Gallery)

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo 

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrapover tailpiece. The pickguard and tuners are not original to the guitar

Notes: The guitar was returned to Gibson c. 1972 and both the neck and body were refinished. A pickup was added in the early 1980s. This has since been removed leaving two small screw holes in the front of the guitar. In addition, there are two small holes at the end of the fingerboard where a pickup was once mounted. The neck joint, which had become loose, was repaired in the early 1960s by Lorenzo Pimentel of Albuquerque, NM. Has original hardshell case

Source: Dan Shelden

Serial Number: 76487

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: March 31st 1924

Body: no Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 76497

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10057

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: March 31st 1924

Body: Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Gold plated metal parts

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 76508

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: March 31st 1924

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 76699

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10174

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard. Has original hardshell case.

Notes: The neck may have been re-shaped at the factory

Source: George Gruhn and Carter Vintage

Serial Number: 76705

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Birch back and maple sides, no Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 76706

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo. Has the name ‘Lynn Henderson’ on the truss rod cover

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlay starts at fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides. This example was initially fitted with a Virzi Tone Producer, which has since been removed

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Incorrect yet rare 1934-35 Grover tuners and non-original long pickguard

Notes: This guitar had block inlays added to the fingerboard, which have since been replaced with the correct dot inlays. The pickguard is a replica, and the guitar has been refretted

Source: Walter Carter at Carter Vintage (cartervintage.com)

Serial Number: 76707

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10183

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Short bound pickguard

Notes: Retrofitted with late 1920s tuners

Source: Gruhn Guitars, www.gruhn.com

Serial Number: 76708

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10179

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays start at the fifth fret

Body: Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Notes: Formerly part of the Scott Chinery Collection

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com/Scott Chinery Collection

Serial no: 76709

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo with rhinestones added by previous owner

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back, with maple sides. Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: Gary 

Serial Number: 76710

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10184

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on March 31st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners with engraved base plate and pearl buttons. Short bound pickguard

Notes: This L-5 was formerly owned by David Grisman

Source: Robert Corwin, http://www.oldgibson.com

Serial Number: 76983

Year shipped: 1924

Virzi Number: 10220

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Feb 13th 1924

Neck/fingerboard: 1930s replacement neck

Body: Birch back and maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 77392

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10313

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: The Fellowship of Acoustics (www.tfoa.eu)

Serial Number: 77394

Year shipped: 1925 

Virzi Number: 

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Original short bound pickguard

Notes: This is George Gruhn’s personal guitar

Source: George Gruhn (guitars.com)

Serial Number: 77398

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Dec 1st 1924

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 77400

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10319

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

(details listed below refer to the model after restoration)

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: Reproduction fingerboard with pointed end and dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Maple back and sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard. Original bridge, short bound pickguard and tuners with a replacement pearl nut and period correct reproduction tailpiece made by Jackson Cunningham

Notes: This guitar has been refinished and the treble side of the body, the neck and the fingerboard have been replaced. There are two three-inch cracks on the bass side of the body

Source:  Antiques Roadshow USA and Dave’s Guitar Shop

Serial Number: 77401

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10328

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Notes: Evidence of the centre laminate showing on the headstock but no repairs, cracks or modifications. Has original hardshell case

Source: Larry Wexer (www.wexerguitars.com) and www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 77402

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10306

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece. Short bound pickguard. Tuners are replacements.

Source: Tom Rhodes

Serial Number: 77404

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10305

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on 1st December 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: Nino Fazio, http://www.realvintage.it

Serial Number: 77405

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number: 10327 (

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret

Body: Birch back with maple sides

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: George Gruhn, www.gruhn.com

Serial Number: 77408

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo, replacement truss rod cover

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end

Body: Birch back with maple sides, Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Replacement tuners, truss rod cover, tailpiece and bridge. Short bound pickguard.

Notes: This guitar was bought from Barney Kessell at ‘Kessell’s Music World’ in 1970 by recording artist/producer/arranger Tom Keene

Source: Dennis Agajanian

Serial Number: 77410

Year shipped: 1925

Virzi Number:

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: See Notes below

Neck/fingerboard: See Notes below

Body: Maple back and sides, originally fitted with a Virzi Tone Producer but this has since been removed

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece

Notes: Both the neck and fingerboard have been replaced. The tuners and pickguard are not original.

The guitar now has a ‘Gibson Inc.’ label (the Loar signature date was confirmed by Joe Spann from Gibson’s records).

Source: Tim Johnson

Serial Number: 80192

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on Mar 1st 1924 (Dec 1st 1924 according to Mandolin Archive)

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo (see Notes below)

Neck/fingerboard: See Notes below

Body: Birch back with maple sides, no Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Notes: The guitar has been re-necked using the original headstock overlay and fingerboard (20 frets with pointed end) but with the heel changed to the later rounded style. The serial number is now stamped on the back of the headstock. The body has been refinished and re-bound with five-ply binding. Has original hardshell case

Source: Lowell Levinger (vintageinstruments.com) and Schoenberg Guitars (www.om28.com)

Serial Number: 80203

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Dec 1st 1924

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 80262

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Dec 31st 1924 (some controversy exists regarding date, could be Dec. 21, 1924)

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 80263

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Dec 21st 1924

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Notes: This serial number appears on a Gibson F5 copy spotted in recent circulation

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com

Serial Number: 80264

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

(See Type One Gallery)

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar on December 1st 1924

Headstock: Diagonal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the fifth fret with double dots at the 12th and 17th frets

Body: Birch back with maple sides, no Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Hardware: Silver-plated metal parts including wrap-over tailpiece and Waverly three-on-a-strip tuners. Short bound pickguard

Source: Ken Waltham

Serial Number: 80411

Year shipped: 1926

Virzi Number: 

Signed and dated by Lloyd Loar: Dec 1st 1924

Body: No Virzi Tone Producer fitted

Source: www.mandolinarchive.com