Serial Number: FA 5172

Year Shipped: 1940


Headstock: Horizontal ‘Gibson’ script logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end.. Wide neck heel. See Notes, below for details of the fingerboard

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 Kluson Sealfast tuners with Catalin buttons. Bound pickguard


The fingerboard of L-5PN serial number FA 5172 is virtually identical to that fitted by John D’Angelico to his New Yorker model archtop, the only difference being that the Gibson has a three-piece pearl inlay at the 17th fret while the New Yorker has a solid pearl block (see photos below).

Compare the fingerboard of John D’Angelico’s 1945 18-inch blonde New Yorker model serial number 1698 (above) with the fingerboard of L-5 PN FA 5172 (see images below). Images courtesy of Guitars ‘n Jazz

It’s unlikely that the DA style board was fitted by Gibson. Indeed, Joe Spann notes that there is nothing in Gibson’s shipping ledgers to indicate that this guitar was a special order or anything other than a normal L-5. What seems more probable is that the work was done by John D’Angelico who fitted a New Yorker style fingerboard at the request of Carl Kress – or whoever owned the guitar at the time.

Has a near mint tweed/pink plush lined ‘luggage’ case made by Geib of Chicago.

Joe Spann adds: “This guitar was originally shipped as an “L-5” on Friday, 19th April 1940 to the New York Band Instrument Company in Manhattan, New York. It evidently did not sell and was returned to the factory. It was shipped a second time as an “L-5P” on Thursday, 8th August 1940 to Carl Kress.

“There is nothing in either of the shipping ledger entries which denotes it as a special order, or anything other than a normal L-5 model. I find no record of any repair return for this instrument through 30 January 1953.”

This guitar is one of 27 Natural finished Advanced L-5s shipped in 1940

This guitar has a near mint tweed/pink plush lined ‘luggage’ case made by GEIB of Chicago.

With grateful thanks to Ultimate Vintage