Year shipped: 1924
Virzi Number: 10185
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
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. The input jack was attached to one of the f-holes and controls were mounted to the pickguard, thus no holes have been cut in the body. In addition, there are two small holes at the end of the fingerboard (just above the 20th fret) 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. Though the glue joint failed, no damage occurred to the wood itself. Pimentel also dressed the frets. Has original hardshell case, which is stencilled with the original owner’s initials G. H (Grace Hill)
Images courtesy of Dan Shelden
“This Gibson L-5 guitar has always been a part of my life and I am now seventy-five years old,” says Dan Shelden current owner of the Loar signed L-5 pictured here. “My grandfather bought the guitar for my mother, Grace Hill, almost certainly new and probably in Wichita, Kansas but the exact circumstances of its purchase are not known. The guitar was passed down to me by my mother, Grace (Hill) Shelden and has never been owned by anyone other than Grace and myself.
“My mother, Grace Marie Hill was born in 1910 to a mid-west farming family and was probably about 15 or 16 when the accompanying photos were taken (see below), placing their date to the mid 1920s.
“As Grace is now long deceased, I’ll probably never know for sure how a modest mid-western farmer could have afforded to buy his daughter such an expensive guitar but my guess is that he either had an exceptional year trapping mink and muskrat or that he received prize money in addition to the medal he was awarded when he became world trap shooting champion in 1924.”