1989 Gibson L4 CES Jazz Guitar Vintage Sunburst

The Blue Book Says:


– single sharp cutaway bound body, carved spruce top, layered black pickguard, f-holes, mahogany back/sides/neck, 20-fret bound ebony fingerboard with pearl parallelogram inlay, tune-o-matic bridge on ebony base with pearl inlay on wings, trapeze tailpiece, blackface peghead with pearl crown/logo inlay, three-per-side tuners with plastic buttons, two covered humbucker pickups, four knobs (two v, two tone), three-way pickup switch, gold hardware, available in Ebony (disc. 2005), Natural, Vintage Sunburst, or Wine Red finish, this model is from the Custom Collection, mfg. 1987-present.

I say:

Possibly the highest grade guitar I’ve ever had – I let this slip away from me once before – I wonder how long it will stay this time!

OK – All cleaned up and ready for action.  For a “Vintage” guitar this really is in excellent condition!

Starting at the top, the headstock has no marks whatsoever and the gold plating on the tuners is in great condition.  The mahogany neck is smooth and unmarked, The ebony fingerboard shows no signs of wear and the frets are in excellent condition.

The front of the body is a beautiful carved piece of spruce with lovely grain.  There are as far as I can see only two small “lacquer checks” on the upper edge of the body, near the toggle switch with its idiosyncratic (and original) rubber “grommet.”  These are shown clearly in the photos, and they do in fact look far bigger in the photos than in real life – thanks to my super new macro lens 🙂

The reverse and sides of the guitar are beautiful mahogany, and the lacquer is completely unmarked. The gold hardware does show some signs of use and is thinning in the more accessible places – both due to play wear and cleaning.  There is no corrosion/pitting of the metalwork. The floating bridge base and ABR1 bridge are in great condition.  The lacquer under the bridge assembly is slightly lighter in colour than the rest of the body – but it makes it easy to position the bridge in the right place.

The PAT No pickups are in great condition (other than the wear to the gold plating).  The neck pickup sounds warm and rounded, the bridge pickup packs a little more spank and bite.  Currently strung with a new set of Di’Addario chromes 11-50 set, the sound is perfect for the Jazz genre, and playing feels fluid and rewarding.

The guitar has its original tan and cerise Gibson case with the ever so fluffy shroud that they included in the 1980’s.  The case is in excellent condition all catches and combination fully functional.

Currently Gibson is selling new ones of these at $6300 – plus import duties and shipping – say about $7600 which (today) equates to about  £4500! – This one is now 25 years old and therefore officially qualifies as “vintage!”