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  #1  
Old 09-26-2016, 11:14 AM
Vee_Voe Vee_Voe is offline
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Question Gibson L5 CES Please Help

I was offered a 1974 Gibson L5 CES today for right under $4K. It has a headstock/neck repair using the spline method and an input jack repair. I was told it's in solid shape. I was wondering if you guys could help me determine a fair offer or should I avoid it all together. Here are some pictures.












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Old 09-26-2016, 12:28 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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You rarely see a top-of-the-line archtop in such poor shape - as I stated in an unrelated post, I've seen 200-year-old violins in far better condition than this 40-year-old piece - and IME that's a matter of owner attitude. I started as a jazzer in the early-60's, and when I was taking lessons I was taught that you respect your instrument as you respect yourself: the only places on a correctly-handled guitar that should show fingerprints are the neck and tuner buttons - and you wipe those off as soon as you're done playing. I'm thinking this was bought by some '70s hair-rocker looking to do the Nugent thing, and he proceeded to beat it to crap; that's a newer case, BTW - which also tells a story in itself for a guitar of this type. In a nutshell, I wouldn't touch it at any price - you'd do better buying a new Eastman 910CE and installing a Johnny Smith-style dual-pickup pickguard, for similar (and probably less) overall money...
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:44 PM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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The owner is living in a fantasy world if he or she thinks a Norlin era L5CES in that condition is worth $4,000. Run away.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:57 PM
Steve Christens Steve Christens is offline
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Maybe at $2000....maybe. But at $4,000, just walk away. That's not character, that's abuse.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:31 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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Let's start a GoFundMe campaign to whack the person responsible for trashing what might have been a usable instrument.

My bet is that it was stolen at some point in its unfortunate life.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:03 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Let's start a GoFundMe campaign to whack the person responsible for trashing what might have been a usable instrument...
No problem - just tell us where to find this guy and fuggeddaboutit...

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Old 09-27-2016, 05:21 AM
Mr. Scott Mr. Scott is offline
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$4000 is a joke. Even the repairs are badly done. If you got it for nothing it would still cost a bit to put right. And has someone has already pointed out, it's a Norlin era guitar and although they were not all bad in that period, it was not a good time at Gibson.
On the other hand, if he is giving it away, I'll have it! I don't think it would cost $4000 to get it nice again.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:37 PM
terken terken is offline
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Here ya go. Just as good as a Gibson of that era, probably better.

https://reverb.com/item/1550520-1976...apan-super-400
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:34 PM
JazzNote JazzNote is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vee_Voe View Post
I was offered a 1974 Gibson L5 CES today for right under $4K. It has a headstock/neck repair using the spline method and an input jack repair. I was told it's in solid shape. I was wondering if you guys could help me determine a fair offer or should I avoid it all together. Here are some pictures.
I'm fond of 70's Gibson Archtops, but would never buy an L5 in shape as this one is. If you lack the funds now wait and save until you can buy one in better shape. There are some great deals for not much more, just be patient looking out for them.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:41 PM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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How does it play? How does it sound?

$4000 is unrealistic for an L5 in that condition, but if it plays well and sounds good, then around half of what the seller is asking is a reasonable price.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:04 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terken View Post
Here ya go. Just as good as a Gibson of that era, probably better.

https://reverb.com/item/1550520-1976...apan-super-400
Absolutely a good substitute, and with a far more appealing sunburst!

The extra 1" in the body size may be an issue, though.

HE
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  #12  
Old 10-15-2016, 09:48 AM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Except for the fingerboard inlays, this is much closer to an L-5 than a Super 400. 17" lower bout, same size as the one the OP was offered.
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:50 AM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluemonk View Post
Except for the fingerboard inlays, this is much closer to an L-5 than a Super 400. 17" lower bout, same size as the one the OP was offered.
Meant to quote HE's reply, but I don't think I can edit to add a quote.
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  #14  
Old 10-15-2016, 06:52 PM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vee_Voe View Post
I was offered a 1974 Gibson L5 CES today for right under $4K. It has a headstock/neck repair using the spline method and an input jack repair. I was told it's in solid shape. I was wondering if you guys could help me determine a fair offer or should I avoid it all together.
Did you make a counter-offer on this L5?
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:06 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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The Sealfast tuning machines with their peghead ferrules alone are worth about $800 to $1200. Those early Sealfast Bullseye tuners without the conical ferrule and teflon washer are worth that much to a restorer. The pickups might not be T-Tops but being 1974 Gibson, could be worth $500 to $800. The L5 tailpiece is worth about $500.

The headstock break is not itself an issue when it is well-repaired and solid. The lacquer chips look nasty but do not affect the sound.

$2000 seems like a good price for an American archtop. It is cosmetically flawed but if structurally sound will make a fine gigging guitar that you can gladly play and not have to worry about. You cannot but worry when you are holding a $6000 to $7000 L5CES.

Worse comes to worse, for $2000, you can strip it for parts and get your money back.

Norlin Gibson gets a bad rap. But their archtops were mainly left unscathed by the Norlin association. The maple may be plain looking but it is quality maple without any blemishes or pockmarks or mineral streaks. That is expensive maple to those in the furniture trade. Plain maple without defects is just as valuable as curly maple. The plain maple of this era displays fine silking when you look at it closely. Smooth as butter and not easy to find. And yes, among luthiers there is agreement that plain maple makes great guitars. It is just that the public likes too see curly maple.

Norlin Gibson archtops are great guitars, devalued in part because of its Norlin reputation, in part because the maple shows no curl and the public wants curl.

For $2000, a solid player's L-5CES. Not worth anything more. You can put in some money to refinish it. It is already devalued.
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