Serial number: 91052

Year shipped: 1934

FON: 945

Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 19 fret fingerboard with square end and wide block inlays from the third fret

Body: Maple back and sides. Kerfed top braces

Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including regular tailpiece

Notes: The tuners have been replaced Replacement pickguard and the pickguard is missing. The name ‘Maebelle Carter’ (note spelling), which is engraved on the pearl truss rod cover, is a later addition (see serial number 85558)

It is believed that this is the guitar previously owned by Frances Lyell, who played occasionally with The Carter Family

Ronnie Williams, who was a friend of the Carter Family, supplied the following information: “Frances and I met through the Carters and became friends. We often played together and visited. She told me that she was looking for an L-5 and I came across one in Va. Picker’s Supply, a music store in Fredericksburg Virginia. – this would be in the early 1990s. I had the pearl name plate (truss rod cover) made for her. She’d seen the one that I had on my guitar and wanted one herself.”

This L-5 was manufactured about mid-year 1934 and originally shipped late in the year 1934. The tuners and pickguard have been replaced and the guitar has been re-fretted. A strap button has been added on treble side of the heel.

 Joe Spann adds: “L-5 serial number: 91052 was returned for repairs, and shipped to the Levy Page Company Inc. of Portsmouth, Virginia on 31 October 1935. It was returned for repairs again, and shipped to Levy Page Company Inc. of Portsmouth, Virginia on 28 June 1940.

Maybelle Carter with Frances Lyell (centre) and Helen Carter at Centennial Park, Nashville, 1960s

Images courtesy of Matt Bergstrom

Images courtesy of Gruhn Guitars