The 17 inch body of this unique Gibson L-5 is fabricated entirely from a clear plastic, as are all of its internal structural components (top braces, kerfed linings and neck and tail blocks). The top, back, and sides have a light ‘sunburst’ finish and the bindings are celluloid.
An unusual reinforcement rod runs through the body from the tail block to the neck block emerging at the lower area of the heel with a recessed brass truss rod adjustment nut.
The neck itself is maple with a triple-bound ebony fingerboard and mother-of-pearl block inlays.
The guitar is fitted with the ‘small diagonal pickup’ that Gibson introduced in 1941 and all of the electronics, including the wiring, potentiometers and tone capacitor, are clearly visible through the body. A see-thorough pickup cover exposes the pickup’s coil and magnets.
Though the reasons for this guitar’s existence are not known, it seems likely that Gibson intended it a marketing device to demonstrate its new pickup and amplification system as well as showing off the design and construction of its top of the line 17-inch archtop model.
Images courtesy of Matt Umanov