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Thread: L5S

  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    L5S

    Does anyone have experience playing one of these? It appears to be an L5 neck on a solid boby. Show it on Ebay for $3500

    Thanks
    drboat
    "It is no use to work if you don't have a dream. And, it is no use to dream if you are unwilling to work!!!"

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member TomGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    From Wikpedia...
    The Gibson L5S is a solid-body electric guitar model produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
    Introduced in 1972, the Gibson L5S was essentially a solid-body version of the popular Gibson L-5 hollowbody. Like the L-5, it featured multiple binding on the single-cutaway body, neck, and headstock, and also featured an ebony fingerboard with block inlays. The headstock featured a flower-pot inlay similar to the L-5 archtop and most L5S models featured the L-5 trapeze tailpiece (though some had stop-bar or TP-6 fine-tuning tailpieces). However, the L5S had a thin solid body, whereas the L-5 archtop was larger in size and fully hollow. The L5S was available in various finishes, such as ebony, cherry sunburst, and natural.
    Upon its introduction in 1972, the L5S featured two low-impedance pickups, similar to those found on several Gibson Les Paul models of that period, such as the Recording model, the Signature model, the Personal model, and the Professional model. This incarnation of the model was not a success, however, thus Gibson switched from low-impedance pickups to regular humbucker pickups. Though it was considered one of Gibson's more top-of-the-line models, it was still not particularly popular among guitarists. In the mid-1980s, the L5S was dropped from the Gibson line.
    In 2004, the L5S was briefly reissued by the Gibson Custom Shop Division; this reissue was partly based on the black-finished single-pickup L5S that Ron Wood and Keith Richards played. However, the model was discontinued by Gibson in 2005.

    I played quite a few in the 70's. Nice guitars but a little cold sounding. Ususally very flamey maple body with maple neck/ebony board. Never played the low impedance models, just the humbuckers. Played great if you like an L5 neck. A little neck heavy as I recall.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Leņa_Costoso's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by TomGuitar
    From Wikpedia...
    the Gibson L5S was essentially a solid-body version of the popular Gibson L-5 hollowbody.
    And Wikipedia is full of beans! L5s's came in quite a few variations, including those mentioned. However, there were, at different times, trapeze tail, stop bar tail, and string thru the body tail. I believe the last original version had the stop bar, with string through in between.

    Its more of a L6s-meets-LPCustom (with appointments) than anything else. Its very thin, only 1-1/2 inches on the one I've seen, which is about 1/8 inch thinner than an SG.

    They're well appointed, sound fairly bright too. Cool flame (sorta matching) maple rear control cover that is HUGE. Thats about it. It was designed as a "luxury" model, along with "The Les Paul" and was considered top-of-the-line solid body along with TLP.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Humbuck's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    I've never seen one with a string thru body tail...got a pic?

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Here's a 1974 L5-S i had years ago. It was a special order by a Gibson dealer who collected and wanted a sensational top. His rep hooked him up and I ended up with the guitar in a trade in which I got the L5-S and a 1959 George Gobel L5-CT. The scan does not represent the depth of the flame. There were no vertical lines like you see, that is the scan. The back looked exactly like the front and the cavity cover was matching flamed maple. . I sold it to Buck Sulcer in Arlington 15 years ago for what was crazy money back then. When he saw it, he would not put it down until he got it from me. He had to have it. I bought a mint '57 Les Paul TV Special with what I got for the L5-S. I remember what it played and sounded like very well. It was heavy, stiff, thin and harsh, and felt like somebody strung up a marble slab. It was so heavy and stiff it would piss you off just to play it. It was an awful guitar but I wish I had it back just to look at it again:


  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member TomGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuck
    I've never seen one with a string thru body tail...got a pic?
    I don't remember that either. I've only seen TP6 and trapeze tails.

    Quote Originally Posted by j45
    It was heavy, stiff, thin and harsh, and felt like somebody strung up a marble slab.
    That's kind what I meant by cold. Just trying not be too harsh, someone out there loves these things.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    I didn't mean to slam the L5-S's in general. Just this one was pretty rude. Gorgeous though... I'm sure there are much better playing and sounding examples.

  8. #8
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    Re: L5S

    I have little experience with these, exept having always wanted one. But everyone I've played in the many vintage shops over the years, has left me cold. Heavy and stiff is a good description. I don't know why. I've wanted to love them ever since I fell in love with the look, I believe from the Guitar Player cover with Pat Martino on it.
    I wanted one of those newer ones from the custom shop, but they disappeared as soon as they were annoucned it seemed. I liked the cherry 2 pickup one, but never saw one anywhere.
    Bob
    Not a downstroke, fistpicker.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member Leņa_Costoso's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuck
    I've never seen one with a string thru body tail...got a pic?
    Been looking for a pic, it was a shocker to me too. Had the angled string arrangement of the L6s, gold top ferrules, dunno about the back. They normally have a huge wooden backplate but I'm guessing they probably had a gold version of the L6s "cup" back there for the string thu.

    I forget if I saw it out on the web, or on eBay. I seem to recall the trapeze ones using several different types too.

  10. #10

    Re: L5S

    God, these were stupid, bad guitars. They weighed REALLY a lot. The all-maple construction was very bright-sounding indeed.

    Gigantic neck volute. Too-narrow necks. Hideously high binding in the cutaway. I was really interested in them in the 1970's until I played a few and they consistently sucked.

    I suppose a chambered version with a properly built neck could work. Adjust the binding. Mahogany core. Balance might be an issue. And it would hardly be a reissue, more of an update. Unless that's what the Les Paul Supreme is. Hmmmm...

    - Hammertone

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member Humbuck's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    I've had two different ones (still have one) and they are great guitars. Neither was too heavy and neither had a huge volute (I have played them with a huge volute). I've played deluxes, customs and standards that were much heavier. Either one was neck heavy (nothing like some SG's or Firebird's) or overly bright sounding. Great hard rock or metal guitars if you have one with humbuckers. I have no experience with the early low impedence models plugged in.

    I've taken one of mine to Europe on tour...I would NOT have taken a guitar that didn't sound great and was too heavy.

    Only thing I don't like is the low, wide frets...I replaced mine. Also hated the clowny looking ones. The one I still have is a beautiful brown burst.

    Anyone care to host a pic? I forget how!!

  12. #12

    Re: L5S

    I think Keith Richards used to play those guitars at one time.
    He was on the cover of Guitar player magazine '90 ?

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Humbuck's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Kieth had a bridge pu only black one...nice guitar. They reissued it a few years ago.

    Mark Farner used to wield a nice one too. So did Paul Simon (?) and I think Ray Davies. Of course Pat Martino as well.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Humbuck's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    I mean DAVE Davies.

  15. #15

    Re: L5S

    I used to GAS for one of these in the early 80's. I thought they were so cool looking. I eventually played a couple of them at guitar shows in the late 80's and was pretty disappointed. Heavy as lead, played okay but small neck, and the sound was just not to my liking.

    J45, it looks like you did okay on the deal, especially if you still have that Special.

  16. #16
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    Re: L5S

    [QUOTE=j45] I remember what it played and sounded like very well. It was heavy, stiff, thin and harsh, and felt like somebody strung up a marble slab. It was so heavy and stiff it would piss you off just to play it. It was an awful guitar but I wish I had it back just to look at it again:

    LOL! That describes a LOT of "pretty" guitars I've played over the years, from Fenders to Gibsons to others. That's what happens when cosmetics take over common sense.

  17. #17

    Re: L5S

    [QUOTE=Litcrit;1354190]
    Quote Originally Posted by j45
    I remember what it played and sounded like very well. It was heavy, stiff, thin and harsh, and felt like somebody strung up a marble slab. It was so heavy and stiff it would piss you off just to play it. It was an awful guitar but I wish I had it back just to look at it again:

    LOL! That describes a LOT of "pretty" guitars I've played over the years, from Fenders to Gibsons to others. That's what happens when cosmetics take over common sense.
    Big Laughs Here...I thought I would resurrect this thread as it almost kept me from buying an L5s. For personal reason, I wanted a L5s, and after reading quite a few negative threads, I almost gave up on wanting one, but my stubbornness persisted, and it took 6 years, but I found one that was 9.1lbs, has killer tone, 2 piece top, and a great feeling neck. And yes, I've played some of the heavy dogs, but I just kept on looking. The only negative I find is the closely spaced knobs. On the positive, fingerpicked solo guitar songs sound GREAT with these. And no, nothing like a Les Paul, but I got that covered.



    But what's even funnier, is that a few days after I hooked up the first one, I found another with the TP6 tailpiece, so yes, I snapped it up...


  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member chuckNC's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    I like the looks of that darkburst! How does it sound compared to the first one?
    If it sounds good, it is good.

  19. #19

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckNC View Post
    I like the looks of that darkburst! How does it sound compared to the first one?
    I'll let you know when it gets here, which should be by Thursday!

  20. #20
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    Re: L5S

    Very nice, rockabilly69. You've got a pair of real beauties.

  21. #21

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by eldorado2001 View Post
    Very nice, rockabilly69. You've got a pair of real beauties.
    Thanks Eldorado! I'm sitting here waiting on the brown truck for the second one to be delivered.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Looks like Les' chubby brother. Maybe we should call them More Paul...I love those things. 3 drinks to ya!

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member Grog's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Mine was just dropped off by the brown truck on the 20th. I wasn't really looking too hard for one, but it was the last of the low impedance models missing from my collection. My wife & I were on a road trip, just outside of Nashville. We stopped in at Gruhn's Guitars to see his new location.............. it kinda happened. The gold on yours looks flawless! mine's sort of rough looking. Most of the low impedance versions I've seen look as bad as mine or worse. Mine doesn't seem overly heavy & I've got some heavy Les Pauls. The frets were changed to normal frets, it passed the 15 second test in 10. I think it's the only low impedance model that is set up to only play in high impedance, what's the point of the low impedance pickups? Only 197 were shipped with these pickups in 1973, changed over to humbuckers sometime in 1974. It's not a Les Paul by a long shot, but I like it for what it is. Time will tell!


  24. #24

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by Grog View Post
    I think it's the only low impedance model that is set up to only play in high impedance, what's the point of the low impedance pickups? Only 197 were shipped with these pickups in 1973, changed over to humbuckers sometime in 1974. It's not a Les Paul by a long shot, but I like it for what it is. Time will tell!
    Congrats on your new guitar, and welcome to the club.

    Nice color on that one. Is there any way to use this as a low impedance guitar too? And are the pickups hot enough to get a decent amp cooking, and what do they sound like with a clean boost or overdrive pedal? I've never played one of those so I have no reference to what they are like. Mine aren't like Les Pauls either, they have their own sound which I like. I have my own little test I do, which is to change the strings, set the intonation, and then bring 'em to a gig. I play the whole first set with it. By the end of that set I know what I think of the guitar A little more than 15 seconds, but it works for me. I took the darkburst to it's first gig last night, and the people loved it. I played it clean, and heavily distorted for some slide guitar blues, it sounded great!

  25. #25

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    Looks like Les' chubby brother. Maybe we should call them More Paul...I love those things. 3 drinks to ya!
    Professortwang said I should call my two, Fat Helga and Fat Olga No more Chimay for him!

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member Grog's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
    Congrats on your new guitar, and welcome to the club.

    Nice color on that one. Is there any way to use this as a low impedance guitar too? And are the pickups hot enough to get a decent amp cooking, and what do they sound like with a clean boost or overdrive pedal? I've never played one of those so I have no reference to what they are like. Mine aren't like Les Pauls either, they have their own sound which I like. I have my own little test I do, which is to change the strings, set the intonation, and then bring 'em to a gig. I play the whole first set with it. By the end of that set I know what I think of the guitar A little more than 15 seconds, but it works for me. I took the darkburst to it's first gig last night, and the people loved it. I played it clean, and heavily distorted for some slide guitar blues, it sounded great!

    Unlike the Les Paul Recording, it doesn't have a switch to bypass the transformer. It would be easy to unsolder the transformer, but I hate to alter vintage guitars unless they are unplayable.
    The pickups seem a little weaker & don't break up as much as humbuckers, but it's not too bad. The sustain seems to last forever. I've heard people describe them as "cold", but I like the different sound.

    The chord that was supplied with the first low impedance Les Pauls was rather long, with a transformer in the center. If I used the shortest chord I could get away with, it should be at least as good as using the supplied chord.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member Grog's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Reading several reviews and comments, one gripe I read several times was how close the knobs were to each other. After hanging up a Les Paul next to it, I couldn't help but notice how much longer the Les Paul was vs. the L-5S. It measured a full two inches shorter! That explains the tight spaces between the knobs......

  28. #28

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by Grog View Post
    Reading several reviews and comments, one gripe I read several times was how close the knobs were to each other. After hanging up a Les Paul next to it, I couldn't help but notice how much longer the Les Paul was vs. the L-5S. It measured a full two inches shorter! That explains the tight spaces between the knobs......
    No question about that, after last week's gig with the L5s I found it's a bit harder to adjust the volumes on the fly with that tight spacing! That said, the tone was GREAT!

  29. #29

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
    Professortwang said I should call my two, Fat Helga and Fat Olga No more Chimay for him!
    Hey it's me that supplies the Chimay Spanky. I stick by my original naming of them, I'm sure they have great personalities.

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member Grog's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Anybody know if the cherry on these models will fade like it did on the cherry burst Les Pauls & some of the '60s SGs? I generally don't leave the goldtops & the cherry guitars out for extended periods of time to avoid fading. I hate to put it back in the case......................

  31. #31

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by Grog View Post
    Anybody know if the cherry on these models will fade like it did on the cherry burst Les Pauls & some of the '60s SGs? I generally don't leave the goldtops & the cherry guitars out for extended periods of time to avoid fading. I hate to put it back in the case......................
    There was a guy here on this forum that faded his 70's Cherry Sunburst in the sun so I guess it will.

  32. #32

    Re: L5S

    Just picked up a project L5S today! Not looking for one, but for the price, I couldn't pass it up. Back Shellacking in the 80's, pots redone in 87, non-original tuning pegs, but I only paid $650 for it... SO WHO CAN COMPLAIN?!?!

    I personally LOVE the tone. Neck is comfortable and mine is in the 9lb range. 3 piece flamed maple top. You can tell by the neck that it was the Cherry burst.






  33. #33

    Re: L5S

    Here is my former 1978 Gibson L-5S Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay played. You got a deal on the L-5S at only $600.00 or should I put it another way................ SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. #34

    Re: L5S

    Here is a L5-S in White..............yeah it was a refinished player looked cool though and it still sold for over 2K.

  35. #35

    Re: L5S

    Small pics here but you can see the stunning maple on this L-5S................I have never seen another with maple like this one had.

  36. #36

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by nawainwright View Post
    Just picked up a project L5S today! Not looking for one, but for the price, I couldn't pass it up. Back Shellacking in the 80's, pots redone in 87, non-original tuning pegs, but I only paid $650 for it... SO WHO CAN COMPLAIN?!?!

    I personally LOVE the tone. Neck is comfortable and mine is in the 9lb range. 3 piece flamed maple top. You can tell by the neck that it was the Cherry burst.





    I chased the perfect L5s for over 6 years, and when I found one, I found another just two days later, so I bought that one two. I love them! Congrats on your score. Take your time and really bring that one back to it's former glory.

    I just recorded one of mine (1978 TP6 tailipiece model) on a new song, I used it on the fingerpicked electric guitar parts and steel like fills, the slide is a 2014 Historic Goldtop... https://soundcloud.com/daniel-weldon-1/a-call-away

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    There was a nice one in natural, with humbuckers at the Dallas show last weekend.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  38. #38

    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by TW59 View Post
    There was a nice one in natural, with humbuckers at the Dallas show last weekend.
    I saw this one from Texas on ebay, wonder if it's the same one...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gibson-Custo...item3f4db8f3b9

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
    I saw this one from Texas on ebay, wonder if it's the same one...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gibson-Custo...item3f4db8f3b9
    I don't know, but the seller at Dallas [with a booth] was from Kansas.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member Michael Patrick's Avatar
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    Re: L5S

    Dave's has one, they are asking $1250.
    My guitar wants to kill your mama

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