Gibson L-5 CES Archtop guitar – U.S.A. – 1951

Gibson L-5 CES Archtop guitar The Guitar Database


Electric Hollow Body Archtop guitar


Spruce top, maple body and neck

Two P-90 pickups


The L-5 was already one of the world’s most popular guitars and was considered the classic blues and jazz archtop when Gibson decided to electrically amplify this model in 1951. The L-5 CES was the result.
Primarily a jazz guitar, the L-5 CES had a solid wood top and maple back, with a slightly thicker top than its acoustic counterparts and additional bracings to reduce vibration. The first 31 L-5 CES’s produced at the Gibson factory had a rosewood bridge and two P90 pickups. These pickups made the guitar a classic: it was the first Gibson of the classic series of guitars with two pickups, two volume buttons, two tone buttons and a three-position switch. The L-5 CES was therefore a major leap forward in terms of guitar pickup technology.

Last updated on 5 May 2020
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