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This 1953 Gibson L-5CN is one of just four shipped by Gibson that year.  At the time this was the top of the line, most expensive 17-inch archtop made by Gibson, due to the cutaway and the necessity for the absolute best woods because of the natural finish. Speaking of the woods, notice the intensely flamed maple used for the back of this guitar.  The top is fine grained spruce, the fretboard is ebony with block mother of pearl inlays, as is traditional for an L-5, and the neck is 3-ply flamed maple with a center walnut strip.


This guitar shows plenty of playwear to the neck finish and as one might expect when seeing a guitar that has been played a lot, its wonderfully resonant.  It has a clear, singing tone throughout it's entire range.  The frets appear fairly new and show little wear.  All notes ring out clearly at all frets, and it plays beautifully.  In addition to being an excellent acoustic archtop, the guitar had a Johnny Smith floating pickup which appears consistent with a 1960s model installed and wired with a volume pot and to an endpin jack.  This pickup sounds simply amazing on this guitar.


Upon inspection of the interior of the guitar, I noted two names written in pencil inside the bass side f-hole.  Those are "B KESSEL" and "DAN PERRI".  Who wrote those names in there and when, I cannot say.  The "B KESSEL" is written in the same style as Barney Kessel would later engrave his name on the back of the headstock of some guitars he owned.  I have nothing to back up whether or not it was he who wrote this, it's just an interesting note about the guitar at this point.  The other name, Dan Perri, corresponds to a guitarist who was a contemporary of Barney Kessel, playing in several bands and performing on many recordings through the 1930s-1950s.  Again, I have no information to support this guitar having any association with Mr. Perri.  Outside of an ad showing a Perri endorsement, it is very difficult to find photos of him.


The guitar is in all original condition and comes with the original hardshell case.  The top has a small, repaired crack near the tailpiece on the bass side.  The crack is very stable and does not stand out. There is a small area of missing finish near the end of the pickguard, as show.  The neck finish shows a lot of playwear, as mentioned above.  All in all, this is a great example of a well cared for, heavily played guitar that is in superb playing condition.


Weight - 6.2 pounds

Nut width - 1.67 inches

1st fret depth - 0.92 inches

10th fret depth - 0.99 inches


As noted, the original hardshell case is included, and it functions very well with all hinges and latches working correctly.


Ships free in the United States and for reasonable rates worldwide.

1953 Gibson L-5 CN with 1960s Johnny Smith Pickup - 1 of 4 shipped in 1953

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