Very sad NGD - 65? Gibson L5

Cjsinla

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Is there a good and reliable way to date a mid-60's Gibson? He felt like it was a 65, but it may be between 63 and 66.
Using the date codes on the pots is helpful in dating. It can’t be older than the pots.
 

metalmike222

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Using the date codes on the pots is helpful in dating. It can’t be older than the pots.
I'll be honest, on an L5, I'm not entirely sure how to even get a look at the back of the pots. There's isn't a control cover or anything that I see on it. After Christmas I'm going to take it to my friend who is a professional guitar tech and let him give it a little TLC. He might be able to take a look at the pots.
 

Cjsinla

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I'll be honest, on an L5, I'm not entirely sure how to even get a look at the back of the pots. There's isn't a control cover or anything that I see on it. After Christmas I'm going to take it to my friend who is a professional guitar tech and let him give it a little TLC. He might be able to take a look at the pots.
You might need a dental mirror.
 

metalmike222

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It definitely might be. I don't know a LOT about L5's, but I definitely haven't come across another with chrome hardware.
 

kakerlak

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I'll be honest, on an L5, I'm not entirely sure how to even get a look at the back of the pots. There's isn't a control cover or anything that I see on it. After Christmas I'm going to take it to my friend who is a professional guitar tech and let him give it a little TLC. He might be able to take a look at the pots.
There's a very good chance this has metal shielding cans around the potentiometers, which would mean you have to pull the whole wiring harness out through one of the pickup holes, to get inside them and read the pot dates. IMO, that's not worth the effort when you're already able to nail it down to a 1-2 year range. OTOH, if the controls are hopelessly scratchy and you need to get at them to clean/replace, then you might as well. But plastic gets brittle, those knobs have been there a long time, it's tedious work snaking controls in and out of archtops, you don't want to risk cracking the top in overtightening them upon reinstall...
 

judson

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i would put the grade of that as fabtabulous.....no matter what it is or was.

your dad had to be a great man to always put his family first his entire life before buying himself anything that he felt was not as important as providing for the family first even with his guitar being a tool to make a living to support the family.

that is a great story and for that alone...i dont care if it was a broken neck Silvertone with 3 strings missing , it would be my #1 forever

enjoy it ...your a lucky man to have had a father like that, play it often, he would be proud :h5:
 

JOC

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Hi Metalmike,
I have the 11th Edition Blue Book of Electric Guitars. The Gibson Serializaton chapter puts this L5 as a '66. I have a '69 ES-335 that based on the book could be either a '66 or '69. I removed a pot to get a late '68 mfg date which meant the guitar could not be a '66. Getting a pot out is not too tough. All you need to do is remove a knob (pick a pot closest to the f-hole) and tie a piece of thread or fishing line to the shaft of the pot. Then remove the nut that secures it. You can then get the pot over to the f-hole to see the underside. Mine was very oxidized so I couldn't read the date code number so I cleaned it with a scotch write pad. The numbers are engraved so the pad won't hurt them. Once you have the info you can pull the string to get the shaft back out the hole where it belongs. It only took me about 10 minutes to be sure which year my guitar was.
Beautiful guitar BTW. I'm sure your Dad would be happy to know that it is still cherished.
 

Lester

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Sorry for your loss. Losing your Dad isn't easy. Never gets easier, you just get used to it.

It's great that you have his guitar... and such a wonderful instrument at that. Play it and remember him.
 

bblooz

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Awesome guitar and touching story. Every time you play that beauty will be a tribute to your father! :cool:
 

BSeneca

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So sorry for your loss. I lost my father 18 years ago to leukemia. He, like your father to you was my hero. Grew up poor, Vietnam veteran, business owner. He wasn’t a musician and this may sound cheesy to you, but he bought a pair of cowboy boots in 1968 with his first bonus. He re-souled them maintained them and cherished them as it was probably the fir thing he bought for himself. When he passed Mom asked me what I wanted of his belonging. The boots. And I still wear them. God bless you my friend
 

metalmike222

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So sorry for your loss. I lost my father 18 years ago to leukemia. He, like your father to you was my hero. Grew up poor, Vietnam veteran, business owner. He wasn’t a musician and this may sound cheesy to you, but he bought a pair of cowboy boots in 1968 with his first bonus. He re-souled them maintained them and cherished them as it was probably the fir thing he bought for himself. When he passed Mom asked me what I wanted of his belonging. The boots. And I still wear them. God bless you my friend
Not cheesy at all. One of the things that I took after my dad passed was a copper bust of JFK. I'm not particularly a fan of JFK, and I'm not particularly political. I took the bust because it was a fixture on my dad's desk for as long as I can remember. It belonged to his dad before him. Now it sits on my desk, and always will.
 

el84ster

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Wow what a guitar. Even though I like les Paul’s, electric L5s are the top for me!

I haven’t run your serial number but measuring the nut width can give you some idea. Around 65-66 they went to 1 5/8”. Also the headstock angle changed from 17 to 14 degrees sometime in there...’67 I think?

Yes the pots are certainly encased in shielding cans if stock. And no, not worth devaluing to see.
You can also check the pickups and see if you have a paf there by chance.

Here’s the inside of my ‘64 L5. Note the shielding cans around the pots and output jack. Makes these ultra quiet!
B185FE36-1E72-426F-8174-482B914AE38C.jpeg
 
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el84ster

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1960s l5s are very special, starting in 1970 to
present the neck angle and the angle of the top near the fingerboard was changed. These all are much stiffer to play than the 60s and earlier l5s. Sound is a little harder starting with the ‘70 models as well. Terrible change. You can tell by looking at the side where the neck meets the body, there’s a much bigger area there post 1969, the neck is set higher off the body. And consequently the bridge has to be higher up adding much more string tension.
Pre 1970 l5s are my Stradivarius electric instruments.
 
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metalmike222

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The serial number dates it to 66, so that's close enough for me. This one plays like butter. It's one of the easiest guitars to play that I've ever had in my hands.
 


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