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1957 Gibson L-5CES
 
Peghead Nation instructor Matt Munisteri demonstrates his rare Gibson electric archtop with a special pickup configuration.
January 10, 2024
 

To his Peghead Nation students, Matt Munisteri is mostly known for his use of vintage acoustic Gibson archtops, including his 1930 L-5, 1930 Master Model L-5, and 1949 L-5N. But Matt also plays a lot of gigs that require an electric guitar, and for more than 20 years, his instrument of choice was a vintage Gibson ES-150. However, recently, Matt found an ultra-rare version of a Gibson L-5CES that he feels is ideally suited to his electric playing. Matt had the guitar with him during a recent Peghead Nation video shoot that followed a string of California gigs with Catherine Russell, and in this clip, he demonstrates and discusses the instrument.

Matt’s L-5CES was made in 1957, and it appears to have left the factory with the extremely rare combination of a Charlie Christian pickup in the neck position and an Alnico 5 pickup at the bridge. Similar guitars had been used by Hank Garland, Tal Farlow, and possibly Wes Montgomery. Matt has only ever seen one other L-5 with this pickup configuration. As is standard for the CES (which stands for Cutaway, Electric, Spanish) versions of the L-5, the guitar has a 17-inch lower bout and was built with maple back and sides and a carved spruce top. The guitar also has a maple neck and a long scale. After getting the guitar, Matt had Tom Crandall of New York’s TR Crandall Guitars replace the neck’s multi-ply binding and refret the guitar. Matt also had a slightly enlarged pickguard made that provides a more comfortable place for his picking-hand’s pinky to rest. In addition, the guitar’s electronics have been modified with an Ilich Electronics hum canceling system, which removes virtually all of the typical hum and noise that two single-coil pickups would ordinarily produce.  

“I was stunned when I started using this guitar on gigs, how much more I liked it than my ES-150, which I used on everything for years and years and years, thinking it was just the best guitar that I could find. I’ve never had a long-scale, maple neck, carved top, electric guitar. The difference with a guitar that has a long scale and doesn’t have a mahogany neck is stunning, in terms of the clarity you get.”

To study guitar with Matt, see his Roots of Jazz Guitar, Swing Guitar Soloing, The Song According to Matt Munisteri, and Western Swing Guitar courses on Peghead Nation!

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com