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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Today is a special day. Exactly 70 years ago, on saturday October 29, 1949, a 23-year old young man called Irvin Lynn walked into the Wurlitzer music store on Main Street in Buffalo, NY. I guess he was very nervous, excited and hadn't slept for a few days because he went there to buy the guitar of his dreams: a 1949 Gibson ES-5N, a big blonde beauty, that had left the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo just a few days before. Irvin paid $390.00 for his new guitar. He got a black Geib case with it (still with the guitar). How do I know all this? Because I'm the (second!) owner of the guitar now and I've found a card with all this information that Irvin wrote and stuck inside the body of the guitar. The card is still there, deep inside the maple beauty.

    Here's the guitar now, exactly 70 years later, over here in Europe:



    This is the building nowadays (674 Main Street, Buffalo, NY). In 1949 there was a showroom in this building of the Rudolph Wurlitzer music company. They sold jukeboxes but also other kinds of musical instruments:



    Just a few days later (November 2, 1949) it would be his birthday and Irvin would turn 24. Was it a birthday present? I don't know. Irvin returned from the far east earlier that year, after being away as a sailor on board of the aircraft carrier USS-Antietam (CV-36) since 1945. Irvin joined the NAVY and the USS-Antietam in early 1945. So perhaps he bought the guitar with his NAVY-money? Perhaps it was a birthday gift from his mother who he had lived alone with since 1927 when his father died, Irvin being just almost 2 years old? It was a big amount of money ($390,00) for a 23-year old sailor in those days. In fact, it was the most expensive electric Gibson guitar that you could buy in 1949! And the most expensive 'natural' version too, a sunburst ES-5 had a price of $375,00 in 1949. Here's a picture of the USS-Antietam with some of the crew in 1945...Irvin could be there too, who knows?





    Only 22 ES-5N's were built by Gibson in 1949, being the first production year of the guitar. Irvin bought one of these 22 guitars, and another one also bought one of these 22 1949 ES-5N guitars. His name was T-Bone Walker...so Irvin's guitar is like a 'sister' of T-Bone's guitar.

    The USS-Antietam returned to the far east at the start of the Korean war. With Irvin and perhaps even with the guitar? I don't know. Irvin never married and never got any children. After doing research for almost 2 years I've know discovered some family members (family of his mother) that knew Irvin. He owned the guitar for more than 60 years. I learned from the family that Irvin passed away last Christmas, aged 93. May he rest in peace.

    Here are some more pics of the guitar he loved so much:











    Last edited by 58dutchie; 10-30-19 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member ZZ Not's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Fabulous guitar and great story! Thanks for posting and congratulations on your acquisition.
    The best responses we get from an audience are when we do our worst material.
    - Frank Zappa

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Amazing story and amazing guitar!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Fantastic!
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  5. #5

    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Congrats: Sensational guitar and fascinating story!

    As the second owner, when did you buy from Irvin (or intermediary)? Do we know how long Irvin had the guitar for and the circumstances that had it move on...?

    Glad it landed in loving hands with a respect for its history, and the life of its prior caretaker!


  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Fantastic story!

    You show signs of being a great caretaker of that ES-5N. May it survive to see 2049, 2149...

  7. #7

    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Well done!

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Quote Originally Posted by jb_abides View Post
    Congrats: Sensational guitar and fascinating story!

    As the second owner, when did you buy from Irvin (or intermediary)? Do we know how long Irvin had the guitar for and the circumstances that had it move on...?

    Glad it landed in loving hands with a respect for its history, and the life of its prior caretaker!

    I bought the guitar about two years ago. Irvin owned it for more than 60 years. About 2,5 years ago he brought it to a vintage guitar dealer: Andy Babiuk's Fab Gear in Fairport/Rochester, NY. I guess he got too old to play it, he was 90+ at the time. Last Christmas he passed away, aged 93.

  9. #9

    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    I bought the guitar about two years ago. Irvin owned it for more than 60 years. About 2,5 years ago he brought it to a vintage guitar dealer: Andy Babiuk's Fab Gear in Fairport/Rochester, NY. I guess he got too old to play it, he was 90+ at the time. Last Christmas he passed away, aged 93.
    Thanks. So it probably stayed in NY for awhile... Amazing find!

    This, along with Steve Craw's "Jimmy Fey ES-345" are the best vintage handover stories I've heard this year (or in a long while, for that matter)...

    Enjoy in good health!

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    This is the card by the way. I discovered it while inspecting the pots with a small light...pure coincidence! It's still inside the guitar. Later I also discovered his address written under the trussrod cover and his NAVY service number on the underside of the tailpiece.



    Last edited by 58dutchie; 10-30-19 at 04:57 AM.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member stephan_l's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    thx for sharing. Love this 🙂

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member Bob Womack's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Wonderful research and lovely guitar! Tell me about the controls, please.

    Bob
    "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "
    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring


    My little site:
    THE MUSICIAN'S ROOM

  13. #13

    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Epic!
    Game on!

  14. #14

    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Great story, makes ownership a little more special, and makes us remember that we are all just caretakers of these fine instruments for a limited time--other than guitar slim who, according to lore, was buried with his gold top!

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Today (November 2, 2019) would have been Irvin's 94th birthday. I've just played 'happy birthday' for him on his '49 ES-5N. It felt very special.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member Red Rogue's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Thank you for that nice story!


    - Blues is the road -

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: Today is a very special day for my 1949 ES-5N...a nice little story!

    Gorgeous guitar. Thank you for sharing.
    Top carves are sexy

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