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Magnificent 17″ archtop guitar which left the Kalamazoo factory in 1963, in exceptional original condition.

An extremely rare model in its Natural finish and cutaway variant, since it is one of only 4 identical guitars produced that same year! Since the 1950s and the widespread adoption of P-90, Alnico, and later humbucker pickups, including on archtop models, the death bell had sounded for the traditionally acoustic Gibson archtop. However, this type of instrument still being favored by those nostalgic for previous decades, a handful of these guitars were shipped each year out of the Kalamazoo factory up until the 1970s, particularly the high-end models that are the L-5 and Super 400. Thus, we find 13 L-5CN in 1960, 5 in 1961, 12 in 1962, then the near-nil number for the year of production of this guitar… We can let you imagine how many these archtops which have survived the decades until today intact, and among them those which remain as well preserved as the model presented here!

In any case, we are in the presence of an absolutely high-end guitar built with woods of exceptional choice – carved top made from wide-grained spruce, back, sides and neck made of stunning maple, ebony fingerboard and Brazilian Rosewood adjustable bridge. We find on the headstock the script-style logo as well as the inlaid flowerpot motif, and the rest of the original hardware consisting of the luxurious art-deco tailpiece typical of the L-5, and gold Kluson Sealfast tuners. The neck profile of this guitar is a “D”, relatively flat compared to the L-5 of the previous generation but ultimately quite typical of other Gibsons encountered in the early 60s and in line with the new playing habits developed since the introduction of electric models. The neck construction is otherwise of the new type recently introduced, 5 parts consisting of 3 pieces of maple spaced with two rosewood lines, instead of the older 3 piece style. By 1963, a player wanting a premium acoustic archtop guitar was left with one of two options: Gibson or John D’Angelico in New York. This L-5CN is thus an eloquent demonstration of the know-how that Gibson workers still knew how to put into the construction of their acoustic instruments, even at a time when electric had taken over in the interest of musicians and in the resources committed to research and development of instruments. Without a shadow of a doubt, this guitar has unparalleled superbness, a pleasure to play, to hear played, and to contemplate.

We must emphasize the almost mint condition of the guitar, which gives it a significant interest – even for us, it is uncommon to encounter 60+ year-old instruments that are so well preserved, to the point that they seem never to have been played! Although inherently acoustic, this L-5 is equipped with a floating pickup in the style of a Johnny Smith, this system having the interest of not requiring any cut-outs or drilling since the attachment of the microphone is done directly on the ‘guard. The original pickguard is preserved in the case, along with the original tags and case key.

Sold in its original Lifton case, fully setup, prepared and appraised in our workshop. The guitar is accompanied by its certificate of authenticity produced by us.

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