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Product 517483

Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar Natural 

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The depth and mellowness of the Gibson L-5 CES is winning acclaim for this fine jazz guitar from the most discriminating artists. The tonal quality o...Read More

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  • Natural

    $10,899.00 Private Reserve

    In stock

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  • Vintage Sunburst

    $10,299.00 Private Reserve

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OVERVIEW

Tone and beauty for artistic performance!

The depth and mellowness of the Gibson L-5 CES is winning acclaim for this fine jazz guitar from the most discriminating artists. The tonal quality of the acoustic guitar and the advantages of an electric are combined in one instrument. Very few carved guitars are built each year because of the scarcity of the wood required and the handcrafting involved.

The building of the L-5s is overseen by Jim Hutchins, a Gibson Builder since 1963. The process has remained relatively unchanged since the 1950s, including the hand-tuning of the top and back. Guitarists sing the praises of the comfortable vintage neck; the fast, easy action; and the rich beauty of the carved spruce top.

Other features on the Gibson guitar include a figured, carved maple back with solid maple rims; a pearl inlaid ebony fingerboard; and beautiful multi white-black binding. With the creation of the L-5 in the 1920s, the modern archtop guitar was invented and it has set the standard for all carved guitars that have followed. (Click on "Private Reserve" at left to see more gorgeous pics.) Includes case.

Check the drop-down menu to the right to select colors and/or other options.

FEATURES
  • Solid spruce top
  • Solid maple sides and back
  • Five-piece maple neck
  • F-holes
  • Binding: Body/neck/peghead/f-holes
  • Hardware: Gold
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: Tune-o-matic/24K gold
  • Pickups: Two '57 Classic HBs
  • Controls: Two volume, two tone, three-way switch
  • Fingerboard: Ebony 20 fret/block inlays
  • Scale length/nut width: 25-1/2"/1-11/16"
  • Finish: Vintage sunburst
  • Includes case

Does it get any better than this? Order today.

Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Gibson CustomL-5 CES Electric Guitar
 
4.3

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great Guitar

The L-5CES is a wonderful instrument. Yes, it's expensive, but it's truly worth it when you think about what you are getting for the money compared to other high-end guitars.My only complaint...Read complete review

The L-5CES is a wonderful instrument. Yes, it's expensive, but it's truly worth it when you think about what you are getting for the money compared to other high-end guitars.My only complaint about the Gibson Custom Shop is that no one there knows how to cut a nut. Every Custom Shop guitar I've purchased, including my L-5, have needed to have the nuts recut. You really can't judge any Gibson Custom Shop guitar until you've taken it home and set it up yourself first. Yes, for this price Gibson should do it right, but they don't -- or can't. Gibson's quality standards are not nearly as high as PRS or other high-end makers. But once you set the guitars up properly (and fix whatever needs fixing), they can be a joy to own. An L-5 will only get better as the top breaks in. Other than the nut, the only other consistent issues I've had with Gibson Custom Shop guitars is that the necks moved a lot and the truss rods needed to be adjusted frequently for the first couple of years. I can only assume this is because Gibson doesn't dry and handle its woods with the same level of care as PRS and other makers do. But once the guitars have settled in, they've all been absolutely wonderful. I guess what I'm really trying to say here is that Gibson Custom makes some fabulous instruments -- especially the L-5 (although the Historic Les Pauls are happening guitars too), don't expect the guitar to be perfect right out of the box. None of the 6 Custom Shop guitars I've purchased (all new) were perfect out of the box. Plan on taking the guitar home and putting some sweat equity into it first -- think of it as a "feature" with Custom Shop guitars. Once you've corrected the set up and the guitar settles in, you will be rewarded with an outstanding instrument. It just takes a little time and effort for the guitar to reach its potential.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

not what you think

I bought the CES straight from the factory about 4 months ago. When I took it out of the case, I must admit, it was stunning. but from the moment I started playing...Read complete review

I bought the CES straight from the factory about 4 months ago. When I took it out of the case, I must admit, it was stunning. but from the moment I started playing it, I realized that it sounded quite familiar. it did not have a distinct tone. it sounded like my epi dot. from then on, it had never ending problems. at one point, a sound post collapsed, the humbucker sunk in and eventually popped into the guitar, and the tuning machines became very loose. Sadly the guitar was reminding me of a squire start. maybe I had a bad guitar, but it was honestly a big hunk of crap for the money. Although the guitar is poorly made, it has a wonderful tone. the tone is deep and perfect for rock and metal. crazy? not really. test it out. I advise buying an epiphone elitist arch top. they are much better

Reviewed by 12 customers

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(1 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

One Awesome Guitar

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

I've had the wonderful fortune of of having my dads 1968 L-5 ces handed down to me to enjoy and enjoy it I do. That guitar has a tone like no other and a real pleasure to play. This guitar is for the serious working musician that doesn't mind making that sort of envestment towards their carrier. I remember as a kid when my dad could take his L-5, plug it into a 1964 Fender Vibroverb, no effects whatsoever because there wasn't much to choose from back then... take a three piece band and fill up an auditorium with a wall of sound. Now, ask me if I could afford a new one on my own? hardly not. But, If I were a full time working musician and wanted a top,top quality guitar to make a living with, I would definitely make the investment. I promise you won't go wrong.

Comment on this review

(9 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Gibson L-5 1998/purchased new from Sam Ash Music

By Kenroufa

from Austin, TX

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

reference-Jazz guitarist that has "performed/toured" with Andy Williams/Jack Jones/Houston Symphony Orchestra/Houston Grande Opera/numerous "Show productions" ie Chorus Line/Oklahoma/Porgy and Bess-Guitar Chair/sight reader-Gibson L-5 from Custom Guitar shop set up terribly-as per Luthiers in Austin,Tx-Mark Erlewine/Ed Shaeffer-Archtop specialists-"Nut" not cut properly/bridge not "set" properly/Frets not "dressed" properly/Frustrating that Gibson lets such a "Fine" instrument leave their shop without ANY attention to detail

Comment on this review

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Guitar

By Learned Rocker

from Washington, D.C. area

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

The L-5CES is a wonderful instrument. Yes, it's expensive, but it's truly worth it when you think about what you are getting for the money compared to other high-end guitars.My only complaint about the Gibson Custom Shop is that no one there knows how to cut a nut. Every Custom Shop guitar I've purchased, including my L-5, have needed to have the nuts recut. You really can't judge any Gibson Custom Shop guitar until you've taken it home and set it up yourself first. Yes, for this price Gibson should do it right, but they don't -- or can't. Gibson's quality standards are not nearly as high as PRS or other high-end makers. But once you set the guitars up properly (and fix whatever needs fixing), they can be a joy to own. An L-5 will only get better as the top breaks in. Other than the nut, the only other consistent issues I've had with Gibson Custom Shop guitars is that the necks moved a lot and the truss rods needed to be adjusted frequently for the first couple of years. I can only assume this is because Gibson doesn't dry and handle its woods with the same level of care as PRS and other makers do. But once the guitars have settled in, they've all been absolutely wonderful. I guess what I'm really trying to say here is that Gibson Custom makes some fabulous instruments -- especially the L-5 (although the Historic Les Pauls are happening guitars too), don't expect the guitar to be perfect right out of the box. None of the 6 Custom Shop guitars I've purchased (all new) were perfect out of the box. Plan on taking the guitar home and putting some sweat equity into it first -- think of it as a "feature" with Custom Shop guitars. Once you've corrected the set up and the guitar settles in, you will be rewarded with an outstanding instrument. It just takes a little time and effort for the guitar to reach its potential.

Comment on this review

(2 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Gibson L5

By Engrdrill

from Upper NYS

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

I have owned a Gibson L5 for 56 yrs. The case is a little ragged and the Guitar shows its wear. I play it in Church and for my own enjoyment. The quality is very good and you don't have to tune it every time you pick it up.

Comment on this review

(4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Gibson L5-CES - A Truly Great Guitar

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

The L5-CES is the classic archtop Jazz/Blues guitar. Also widely used in bygone days for Country Western and early Rock & Roll, they are one of the most sought-after guitars of all time. Mine was made in 1972 and has 2 humbucking pickups. I purchased it used at a local guitar shop in 1979. High end archtops are traditionally as much about art as sound. Many new archtop builders have taken a minimalist approach to aesthetics to keep costs down but L5s remain very ornate. The carved solid spruce top just gets gets better and better with age. This one sounds OK acoustically even though it has pickups in the top; better than similar high end electric archtops I've played, but does not have the power and tone of my late Mom's 40s all solid/carved Regal acoustic archtop. The neck is very fast and the action is moderately low. I use Thomastic BeBop med round wound strings with a wound 3rd to give it a slightly brighter tone but it sounds beautifully warm and rich with the volume backed off. One downside of this guitar is it needs slight tuning adjustments until the guitar is warmed up by my body heat. I've installed a no-cut Earvana compensating nut to improve intonation but keep the original nut in the case. The L5-CES is the most versatile of the 6 working vintage or custom instruments I own. I use it mainly for 2 big bands I play with but also for stage musicals, have used it for small combo mainstream, blues, and even retro-rock. It has the classic warm to dark jazz sound, but can sound 'lively' and 'raw' as desired. It sounds very rich, full, and warm with my tiny Evans AE-200 jazz amp, and even more so with my Mesa Boogie MKIIB combo. Mine while being more responsive than similar newer high end electric archtop guitars I've played does not get feedback at big band or reasonable combo volumes. I would never ruin the acoustic response of my guitars by stuffing them with foam or other such nonsense. Resale value is outstanding. It's value has appreciated nearly 10x what I paid for 28 years ago.

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Check It Out!

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

My experience is 40+ years of playing, performing and recording. The L5 is "the" design most archtops are patterned after. The one I use has produced the most satisfying results possible. Expensive? You bet! Quality? Tops!! For those who have had a problem with their necks shifting and frets popping out my suggestion is if you live in the Southwest, where the climate is extremely dry and hell on the woods in an archtop guitar, you might want to invest in a Hygrometer and Humidifier.

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

best guitar for jazz and blues

By fanoftheliving-iYVXj

from New York, NY

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

After reading a couple of negative comments from the list of people below (all recommending the epi elitist - are they the same person?) I had to chime in. I own one of these wonderful guitars - do not hesitate to buy one. The construction is solid, it's built like a tank. I've had the pleasure of playing many different jazz guitars, and this one is the absolute best. You pick it up, and it speaks to you. Please don't try to play heavy metal on it (as some reviewer below suggested). This guitar will be appreciated by someone playing jazz and/or blues. Especially if you have had some experience playing these forms, you will see the light with this guitar. I am sure of it!

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(9 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

ANYBODY SAYS THIS AXE IS A DOG IS CRAZY!!!!

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

I just cannot believe the negative reviews I'm seeing regarding this guitar. I really think there are some kids wishing they could own one of these magnificent guitars, and since they can't have to decided to bash them. And I don't beleive the Steve Laury review is real as well. Check out his web page on the "Gear" Link. There sits a beautiful Wes Montgomery L5 at the top of his gear page!!! I presently own 15 guitars. ES175, 335, 57LP reisuie, Ramirez, Strat, Tele, etc, etc..etc. and let me assure you, all those axes aren't in the same tonal universe as my L5CES. The tone is just astounding!! Every note perfectly balanced and pure. This guitar is really a wonder technically, and visually it's just a piece of art.I have been playing 40 years and in that time period, I have only played one guitar, that I would consider "Sweeter" than my Gibson L5CES. That guitar was a 70's D'Aquisto "New Yorker", straight from Jimmy's shop, that a friend owned. And the gorgeous L5CES tone is not that far behind.Just a wonderful guitar!!!I really can't believe ANY of these negative comments on this axe, and if you're a potential buyer, do yourself a favor. Find one, Play it, and I think you'll agree with me.

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(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Top-of-the-line

By Tbonewalk

from Forest Hills, NY

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

I have had a few and have one now. Very expensive, no doubt, but what are one's options for a carved spruce top guitar? Today, many jazz players use the "boutique" guitars from independent luthiers, and they generally cost more than an L-5. Gibson guitars also hold their value. The L-5 holds a spcial place in music, it is in a sense the industry standard. The ebony neck feels and sounds great. Mine have played very well, usually require a good setup like any other guitar. I have sometimes been a little disappointed with attention to some details; I expect an expensive guitar like this to be perfect. For example, the tailpiece should be perfectly alligned, allowing the strings to be evenly spaced. But these things can all be corrected simply. The L-5 is one heck of a guitar.

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(3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Best for Jazz!!

By JeffL

from Cleveland, OH

Comments about Gibson Custom L-5 CES Electric Guitar:

Best sound around! Wes, Pat, and many others used one. If you really want to hear every note, and have every note sing, you have to play this guitar. No distortion- just make every note as full as a note from a trumpet or sax.

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