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ES-5, '49


Sunburst, Serial # A3943.

When Ted McCarty started at Gibson in 1948, one of his first concerns was to develop and enlarge Gibson’s line of electric guitars. Among these new electrics was the ES-5, introduced in 1949. The ES-5 was intended to be, according to Gibson literature at the time, ‘the supreme electronic version of the famed Gibson L-5’.


Apart from the name, body dimensions, and fingerboard inlay, the ES-5 was very different from the L-5. A 1949 ES-5’s features included: a 17” wide body with laminated maple top, back and sides, pearl crown inlay on headstock, rosewood fingerboard, and unbound f-holes (until 1950). The most exciting part of the guitar was of course its three pickups. These P-90s were controlled by three individual volume knobs and one master tone.


This guitar was originally owned by a guitar teacher in Texas named Leroy Millican. The original Lifton hard shell case is included along with a five page instruction manual explaining how to operate the electronics.

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