Gibson Custom L5-S w/L5 trapeze tailpiece 1970's Reviews 5

I happened to be in Cambridge, MA waiting for someone and popped into a music store circa 1980. They had a Custom L-5S hanging up and I fell in love with it! List was $750, I traded in my Les Paul Goldtop plus $400. What a steal!

IMO, This has to be about the most beautiful, elegant solid body I've ever seen. The detail work and finish on it is superb. To me now, Les Pauls look rather drab and ordinary by comparison. It plays and sounds as good as it looks. It's fairly similar to the shape of a Les Paul, except the it tapers thinner out to the edges. It also has very detailed binding, the L-5 neck, and flaming cup abalone inlay on the head. Very striking. Now a days, when you pull this guitar out, heads will turn and people ask, "What the hell is that!?".

About the only downside is that changing strings with the trapeze tail is kind of a pain.

It's built like a tank. I've had it 25 years now and have played it constantly and it still looks great. I've play it a lot! Just got a 2nd fret job and it looks like it will need new frets next time. But, this guitar has a LOT of play time on it in 25 years. If anything, it's gotten more elegant with age as the ivory binding has gotten a little browner...

If you can find one of these beauties, buy it! Gibson only produced them for a few years in the 70's. They also switched out the trapeze tail for a stop tail, so finding one with the trap may be worth more. I have no idea how much they go for these days, but given the limited production, craftsmanship, beauty of design, superb play and sound it will only go up in value. Gibson has recently reissued the L5, but it has only 1 pickup (!) and no trapeze. I'm not sure why they ever stopped making the L-5S. I think the L-5S has been a very very overlooked Gibson model. I'm surprised they didn't sell bucketloads of them in the 70s.

edg rated this unit 5 on 2005-01-26.

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