by | May 16, 2017 | Best Electric Guitars

In today’s vintage guitar flashback, we are going to take a look at the Gibson L-5S. The example shown here is a 1973 model owned by Richard Gonzmart of the famed Columbia Restaurant Group in Tampa, FL.

Vintage 1973 Gibson L-5S electric guitar


Now most of you are probably familiar with the L-5 (no “s”), the archtop hollow body jazz box,
and are wondering what the relationship is between these two guitars. Well, I don’t know either.
The only similarity I have found is in the neck. The necks on the two guitars feel pretty much the same. That said, the L-5S is one beautiful guitar with its deluxe seven-ply binding wrapped around a curly maple body, a flamed top finished in a beautiful cherry burst, and its three-ply bound ebony fretboard with mother of pearl block inlays atop a curly maple neck (also finished in cherry burst).


The Les Paul-inspired body shape is much thinner than an LP and contoured for a more comfortable ride. The guitar features two low impedance pickups which deliver a unique sound that falls somewhere between a traditional Gibson humbucker and a Fender single coil. To round out the package, the hardware is plated in a gold tone finish which gives it a warm, rich look. The L-5S was also available in ebony and natural finishes. Over the years, there were various changes made, such as replacing the low impedance pickups with standard humbuckers and some hardware changes, as well. Although it was considered a top of the line guitar, it never gained the popularity Gibson would have liked and the line was dropped entirely in 1983.


Jazz great Pat Martino
Paul Simon
Keith Richards/Ron Wood

In 2015 The Gibson Custom Shop, in conjunction with Ron Wood, released a limited edition (300 pieces-the first 50 signed by Ron Wood) Ron Wood L-5S.


All in all, I think this is a great playing, great sounding guitar and should be a standard feature in any recording studio and coveted by all serious collectors.


From Soho Guitar in Tampa, FL, I’m Rob Meigel. Visit us online at