Year shipped: 1929
Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo
Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with square end, dot inlays from the third fret
Body: Maple back and sides. Has Master Model label
Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including individual Grover 98G, ‘Sta-tite’ tuners (most of the plating worn away). Short bound pickguard cut to accommodate pickups
Notes: At some point three pickups and seven controls were installed. Though the owner states that “the pickups are floating on top of soundboard and could easily be removed,” the electronics will have required holes to be drilled through the top. The guitar has undergone various other modifications including a strap hook attached to the back of the headstock.
Images above courtesy of AJs Music and Vintage Guitars
Update, 2021: Below, David Osborne, the current owner of L-5 serial number 85104, talks us through the changes that he has made to the guitar: “I did the work myself, including binding repair to the headstock, replacing the tuners – which were non-original later model Grovers, replacing the Epiphone tailpiece with a period-correct wrap-over tailpiece from a 1924 L-2, and most importantly, removing all of the added electronics – which involved plugging a total of 24 holes!
“The originally pointed-end fingerboard had already been replaced. I didn’t do any finish work, as I wanted the restoration to remain visible, though I did attempt to ‘blend’ the work as much as possible.”