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Featured Inventory Archives 1999-2012

1924 Loar L-5

1924 Gibson L-5, Loar-signed


Lloyd Loar, a well-known mandolin and viola performer, came to work for Gibson in 1919, just as the company was entering a period of sharp decline in the wake of World War I. The emerging fretted instrument was the tenor banjo, and the market for mandolins - Gibson's main product - was fading. In addition, Gibson's owners continued to pay themselves "profits" that no longer existed. As it had been since the founding of the company in 1902, Gibson's management philosophy was to increase sales by making better instruments, and the responsibility for better instruments fell on Loar in his positon of "acoustic engineer.

To take on the banjo makers, Loar designed improvements in the Gibson banjo that would eventually make it competitive. And to stop the slide in mandolin sales, Loar's mission was to come up with an improved mandolin -- so much improved that it would revive interest in the instrument. Loar applied his ideas to the entire mandolin family, which in Gibson's way of thinking included the guitar, and the new instruments debuted in 1922 as the Style 5 Master Model series. Commercially, they were a failure, but the L-5 guitar set the stage for the large f-hole archtops that dominated the 1930s and his F-5 mandolins are today considered to be the finest mandolins ever made.

This L-5 (inv.#AR3730) was signed by Loar on March 31, 1924 and is in excellent condition. It has the Virzi tone producer that many of Loar's instruments had, and it has replacement Waverly tuners from the late 1920s. With original hard case, this superb instrument was originally priced at $60,000 and is now offered at the reduced price of $50,000

This instrument is SOLD

For further enjoyment...

Close of body
Bass-side f-hole area
Fingerboard
Headstock
Back of headstock
Back of neck
Full back view
Back of body