Year shipped: 1939
Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo
Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end and narrow block inlays from the first fret. Wide neck heel
Body: 17-inch body with maple back and sides, Natural finish and large bound f-holes
Hardware: Gold-plated metal parts including Varitone tailpiece and Grover Imperial tuners
Notes: Missing pickguard. The ‘Made In The USA’ stamp on the rear of the headstock indicates that this guitar was intended for export. Has ‘1 1/8’ written on the label
This guitar is one of 15 Natural finished Advanced L-5s shipped in 1939
Van Eps String Damper
Used by guitarists such as Jim Hall, Les Spann and Herb Ellis, the George Van Eps String Damper was intended to eliminate the sympathetic vibrations of an electric guitar’s open strings. The device, which was marketed by Gibson for a short period, mounted on a metal plate that replaced the instrument’s trussrod cover. It was designed by guitarist George Van Eps and manufactured by his company, Vanco.
George Van Eps filed for patent on the string damper on the 11th of September 1950 and this was granted on 17th February 1953.
This beautiful L-5 belonged to Tiny Timbrell, a session guitarist and Gibson West Coast rep. For more on Tiny Timbrell, see the Players page.
According to Joe Spann, Gibson L-5 EA-5573 was originally shipped on 14 December 1939 in a #600 case to the Bank of Toronto (as bankruptcy receivers for Ray Hamerton Ltd.). The shipping ledgers indicate it was a “Natural” model.
Images courtesy of Jay Timbrell