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Jasper6120

Gibson L5 with Alnico V pickups??

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Hello everyone, its nice to see you.

My name is Jordan. I'm new to this forum here but have been a guitar player for about 16 years now. Mainly Rockabilly originally but these days I play a lot of Jazz. Its nice.

One of the reasons I joined this forum is that I have been searching for my ultimate guitar, the be all/end all if you will. What I've decided is that for me this guitar is a vintage sunburst Gibson L5 with alnico V Pickups like they used in the mid 50's.

Being a regular performer, I don't wish to buy an original 50's one, because, aside from the price tag, I wouldn't feel right about dragging a bit of history like that around and possibly damaging it, so my plan is to buy a 80's/90's era L5 and install alnico 5's.

I have also looked into the notion of getting a custom built 3 piece neck like the original 50's L5s because I would like this guitar to look authentic as possible.

 

My question relates to the alnico V/humbucker routing in the l5's. Will I have to cut out any wood too make the alnico V's fit? If so, are there ways around this? Like putting a replacement carved spruce top on (I have an excellent luthier friend) or what?

Ordering a new L5 with Alnico's fitted is just about the same price as an original 50's L5, which is a bit harsh IMHO. I've really thought myself into a corner over this issue so any advice or opinions are greatly appreciated.

 

Best regards

 

Jordan

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As an longtime L-5 player myself, I think you're putting an over abundance of importance on the specific magnets inside the pickups. As details of this nature may make a big difference in the sound of a solid body guitar, the tone and voice of a full-bodied archtop is primarily created by the body of the guitar itself, the pickups just make it louder.

 

The second most important factor is the amplifier. An amp that sounds good with a Les Paul wailing through it may not be the right amp for an archtop. The early 70's tube amps I've been playing my solid bodies (and semis) through for years are completely unsuitable for amplifying my archtops. Finding the right amp is what took me to the point of finding exactly THE sound I was looking for.

 

My advise (even if you didn't ask for it) would be to find the guitar first. Play it through as many amps as you can (DO NOT rule out solid state amps, that's what ended up working for me). Once you find THE amp, play that setup for a while.......... Then consider the need (or not) for the pickup change.

 

Whatever the stock (patent number) pickups are in my "Historic" series 1990 built L-5CES, played through a Roland Cube 30X amp, are the PERFECT sound (to my ears) for my Big Band, jazz combo, and solo jazz guitar work. I have a set up Gibson 57's in my parts box from another guitar project, and have NEVER felt the need to put them in the L-5.

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Hi Larry

Nice to meet you. Thanks for getting back to me about that. I agree whole heartedly about finding the amp that fits the guitar that fits you. The thing is, aside from Jazz I do seem to get a lot of rockabilly gigs and humbuckers don't do rockabilly for peanuts in my experience. I really do love the P90 alnico V pickups. They hit the nail on the head tonewise for me and my style. Its a shame that Gibson don't reissue this variant of L5.

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Forget putting those pickups on an archtop. That sound is not that unique and those pickups are large and aesthetically challenged. Master your box or get another one (with alcinos) if you're bored with

Your sound. This is what I call gear lust. It is sign of your state of mind which wants more. This un Buddha like. Come back later to reasses this desire. The baddest cats played junky guitars by today's standards. Oh you say what would Buddha do regarding this question?

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Master your box or get another one (with alcinos) if you're bored with your sound. This is what I call gear lust. It is sign of your state of mind which wants more. This un-Buddha like. Come back later to reasses this desire. Oh you say what would Buddha do regarding this question?

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to know what Buddha would do. You have the floor ...

 

Did Buddha dig rockabilly ... or was he more into surf?

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Jordan, will you qualify what you mean by "Alnico V pickup" please? That phrase can be taken to mean more than one thing I'm aware of.

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Maxium, your comment about the alnico V pickups being aesthetically challenged brings forth the argument that it's all a matter of preference.I think they look smashing. And they have just enough twang to take the guitar away from strict Wes Montgomery territory. Buddha may have warned against materialism, which is fair. I'm a one guitar guy and i'm selling a few others because i only want one, but it does need to be the right one. Tmoney, we're referring to the dog ear p90 shape alnico v's that Gibson used on their L5's from 1953 to 1956 before pafs took over.

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Jasper, the thing which would most concern me about this is changing the sound of the guitar - very possibly for the worse - by cutting into the top to mount the pickup or pickups. Anything you do to any guitar changes the sound to some degree and cutting holes in the top of an archtop, which relies on the integrity of the top for its resonance and projection seems to me a very dangerous proposition. Have you considered any kind of floating pickup and whether it might deliver what you're looking for? Otherwise, I'd strongly recommend leaving your guitar as it is and seeking out a guitar with the features you want that also sounds good to you.

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Maxium, your comment about the alnico V pickups being aesthetically challenged brings forth the argument that it's all a matter of preference.I think they look smashing. And they have just enough twang to take the guitar away from strict Wes Montgomery territory. Buddha may have warned against materialism, which is fair. I'm a one guitar guy and i'm selling a few others because i only want one, but it does need to be the right one. Tmoney, we're referring to the dog ear p90 shape alnico v's that Gibson used on their L5's from 1953 to 1956 before pafs took over.

 

 

Jasper, take heed of what L5 Larry says. He is the resident expert on Gibson archtops in this forum, particulary the L-5 and L-7. He won't blow his own horn to tell you how much he knows, but I can tell you it will be better information than you'll get from anyone else here.

 

He helped me tremendously when I was looking for my archtop--I have a 1947 L-7--and he knows his stuff.

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Thanks Nick and Larry and all the others who have helped out with advice. I'm kind of stuck. As silly as it may sound I play in a period band doing pre rock and roll jump swing. It's sort of an early 50's vibe so I really want my guitar to be early 50's period too. I do love L5's. They are the be all end all for me and I wish Gibson would reissue the pre humbucking version, they will do custom order but that'll take the better half of a year to recieve and the price is astronomical. As much as an original, needless to say neither is an option. Gah! What do I do?

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OK, here's your guitar.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1955-GIBSON-L-5-CES-NATURAL-GUITAR-ALNICO-V-PICKUPS-/190669369437?_trksid=m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D3%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8216694666866036765

 

At the listed starting price, this guitar will receive "0" bids, nada, nothing, no way. Anybody that would pay that much for this guitar has WAY more money than brains. Anyone that would start the auction at that price for this guitar needs to have their medication adjusted. The seller will grow old and gray (or worse) before anyone would pay near the asking price for this guitar.

 

So.... there is a "make offer" button. In my professional AND educated opinion, the starting price on this auction is at least 3X the value of this guitar.

 

So... MAKE AN OFFER!

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Hey thanks Larry. Wise words regarding making an offer. I'm sure he'd be tempted because its been up there for quite some time now. I'm hanging out for a sunburst however and I still feel funny about using a vintage L5 as a work horse.

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OK, here's your guitar.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1955-GIBSON-L-5-CES-NATURAL-GUITAR-ALNICO-V-PICKUPS-/190669369437?_trksid=m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D3%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8216694666866036765

 

At the listed starting price, this guitar will receive "0" bids, nada, nothing, no way. Anybody that would pay that much for this guitar has WAY more money than brains. Anyone that would start the auction at that price for this guitar needs to have their medication adjusted. The seller will grow old and gray (or worse) before anyone would pay near the asking price for this guitar.

 

So.... there is a "make offer" button. In my professional AND educated opinion, the starting price on this auction is at least 3X the value of this guitar.

 

So... MAKE AN OFFER!

I am not usually a fan of blonde Gibsons....archtop or otherwise!....But the one you show on the Ebay link with the 'double stinger' is an absolute stunner! Especially with the blade-pole P-90's! I would almost give my left nut (the fertile one) for that guitar... [scared]

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Hey thanks Larry. Wise words regarding making an offer. I'm sure he'd be tempted because its been up there for quite some time now. I'm hanging out for a sunburst however and I still feel funny about using a vintage L5 as a work horse.

When you invest in quality guitars and amps that you play 'live', the audience is the biggest recipient.

 

When you play a "vintage" guitar for people, you are sharing it.

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.... Buddha may have warned against materialism, which is fair...

 

Apparently, Buddha never played a really nice Gibson- [thumbup]

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Nice looking Byrd. I assume that it has the uber-short scale as the earlier Byrdlands? Are the alnicoV's custom or standard on this model?

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the neck is very comfortable to play. Does not really feel like a short scale. Feels better than my 66 florentine Byrd. I was told that it was ordered by japanese Importer Yamano that way for the japanese market.

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