Eddie Lang’s dot-neck L-5
Eddie Lang owned at least two Gibson L-5s, a Type Three, block neck model (serial number 88368) and before this a Type Two dot neck example. Although the exact whereabouts of the earlier guitar doesn’t appear to be known, it can be seen in the photo below.
Luthier Paul Hostetter comments:
“Eddie had two L-5s, the one owned by Robb Lawrence with the block inlays, which can be seen in Eddie’s hands in the Bing Crosby film ‘The Big Broadcast’ (1932) and the earlier L-5 with dot inlays that he plays in ‘The King of Jazz’ (1930). The dot-neck L-5 was loaned by Eddie’s widow Kitty to Tony Romano to record an album with Joe Venuti in Hollywood in 1947 but before it could be returned it was stolen from Romano’s car. Some years later it was acquired by Buck Page (guitarist/leader of the western group Riders of the Purple Sage) and verified as Eddie’s guitar by noted L.A. repairman Milt Owens, who had worked on the guitar for Lang back in the 1930s.”
Tony Romano’s son, Richard Niles adds the following information on the stolen Eddie Lang guitar with a slightly different take: “Joe Venuti took Tony to Kitty (Eddie Lang’s widow) and said ‘Give Eddie’s guitar to Tony. He’s the guy I want accompanying me.’ It was never a loan, but a gift, from Kitty to Joe to Tony.
“It MAY have been in 1947 but the album was recorded at Gold Star in 1954. I know Joe and Tony did many gigs together but I know they never recorded in a duo format until Johnny Mercer had some free time at Gold Star and asked Dad to find Joe.”
This guitar, along with Eddie’s block neck L-5 and Maybelle Carter‘s dot neck L-5 (serial number 85558) surely rank as three of the most significant examples in the history of the model.