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Anyone know which make and model the L5S is based on?  I'm interested in a 335 type guitar, and would like any opinions about the L5S with a bolt on neck.  Anyone got one of these?  Opinions?

Also, with similar hardware and pickups, how different would a hollow f hole tele and an L5S or 335 type sound?


The L5s is based on the Gibson L5s.


This one is an early model with low impedance (dual impedance) pickups.  Later they went to SuperHumbucking (Lawrence designed, three magnet or four magnet design).  They also got a regular stop bar.  All had the harmonica bridge.  All had a matching wooden rear control plate (huge, same as W's).  All had set necks.  All were SOLID not hollow, and they were rather thin bodied at 1-5/8 inches like an SG.  The body was solid maple.  The neck was 3 piece maple (or 5 if you count the wings on the headstock). 

It has been said, that the L5s was essentially a solid L5c.  That is totally erroneous, except perhaps both had six strings and a neck.  The L5c has pretty much standard electronics, many have only one pickup (neck).  The L5c has a different tailpiece, and rosewood or ebony bridge.  The binding was all different, the tuners different... the whole damn thing was different.  The Gibson L5s is more of an upscale, slightly thicker L6s, due it its solid maple construction and similar (yet more refined) body shape.

What Gibson was trying to do was come out with a solid body that would appeal to the jazz player, hence the L5 name, the low impedance pickups etc... and marketed it as a luxury instrument, much as the L5c is... with gold hardware, MOP block inlay, special headstock inlay, and fancy appointments.

No slight to W, as they are due credit for making the shape available, but what you have when you build a W L5s is nothing like the Gibson L5, except the body shape.

Not based exactly on anything, and it kind of depends whether you order it semi-hollow or solid. Not exactly like an Gibson L5S, which was a solid body, not exactly like an L5CES, kind of "in between" several models. At any rate, it's about as close to an ES-335 as you're going to get building with Warmoth parts.

Bolt on neck to me is simply an aesthetic matter, doesn't seem to affect tone.

Haven't done a Warmoth L5S yet, but a Thinline would be a better comparison than a hollow F holed Tele. My Thinline has hot Rio Grande P90s in it, and ergo has more "balls" than an ES-330, and is a little "brighter" which could be in part due to the Tele bridge. You can, however, get some pretty similar tone.

I imagine that if you did a Thinline or L5S with a TOM bridge and appropriate pickups you can get tone pretty similar to an ES-330/335.

My Thinline is almost, but not quite, as loud as my ES-335 when not plugged in.

What Jack said...

Plus I'll also add - I've got to "almost 335's" here, since they're ES-333 (half El Diablos!).  The 333 is basically a dull finish 335 that came with no pickup covers, no pickguard, and silkscreen vs inlaid logo.  Still has the binding.  Also has... the backdoor like the Lucille, which makes electronics changes and fixes a snap.  But I digress....

I'd personally go for the Tele Thinline.  Reason being you can get a case for that, no issues at all.  But whatever you choose... here's some issues.

The 335 is a laminated maple body with mahogany center block (formerly maple, formerly chromite aka balsa).  The neck, pickups, bridge and tailpiece attach to this center block core, which is fitted rather well the top, and less well to the back.  The maple top, back and sides are rather rigid, but do resonate quite a bit.

The defacto modern (currently made) pickup for the ES-335 is the 57Classic Gibson pickup, which is a rather smooth pickup, medium bright in that guitar, and has as a pronounced midrange scoop (less mids).  You can use the hotter "plus" version in the bridge but the factory 335's don't do this.

Ok having said that.  If you really really want to nail the 335 tone out of Warmoth parts... I'd try to duplicate the materials.  That is, maple body, mahogany neck.  TOM and stopbar.  And Gibson 57 Classic pickups.  Lordy I'm gettin gas just thinking of this...  You might want to get thinline-no-F-hole as an option.  But with the F/hole is good too, whatever floats ya boat.

The ES-335 is a fairly aggressive guitar.  Not nearly as heavy mid warm as the ES-135/ES-137 (which have 3pc maple necks btw).

I can tell you that I built an all maple Tele once with Gibson 57's in it.  It got "stolen" by a customer of mine, who refused to give it back when I let him try it.  We settled for an ok price.  That guitar NAILED the classic LP tone.  I mean it just NAILED it (by accident not design).  I've thought about making another, but...haven't (yet).  The 57's are really great pickups, and would do well in a hollow maple guitar with mahogany neck (hint hint).

Well, I just went to Musician's Friend outlet here in KC (during a home Chiefs game - the place was dead!) and played over 20 Gibsons and US Fenders.  The only one that could even compare in playability to my Warmoth Strat style guitars in playability and "feel" was a $1600 Mustang which I really liked - I may have to build one of those! (but I digress,,,)

Anyway, I have a Mahogany strat with a maple neck.  If I put two Duncan 59s or similar, how Les Paulish would this get?  Any experience out there? 

I also played a bunch of US Teles and NONE compare to my 1996 MIM tele.  That was a once in a lifetime guitar find - I looked for a tele for over a year and that one is IT (got it in 1996 before I knew about or could afford Warmoth)!  The only downside - it's "Midnight Blue" (basically purple).  I did replace the pickups and it is super sweet.

Oh, and Gibson produces the crappiest guitar for the money I have ever played.  I'm sure there are some good ones out there, but I am always disappointed by them (had two LPs in my life and sold them both), although the crap did increase in value so I didn't lose any money.  I can't imagine ever spending $ on a Gibson ever again.

Anyway, thoughts on the Mahog strat with 59s?
"I also played a bunch of US Teles and NONE compare to my 1996 MIM tele."

You can go to Guitar Center and play every Strat or Tele there, and maybe a couple will stand out, and they won't necessarily be the more expensive models. I think one if the reasons they moved the upper end Squier production to China was that some of the models made in Indonesia in the late 90s through 2001 were better quality than the MIM or American Strats. They buy so much wood they can't help but get a couple of GOOD pieces here and there.

If you want a more "Gibsony" sound, you have to go with a mahogany neck. Maple necks are always going to sound brighter, more "Fenderish".
The original L5S is one of my impossible lust object guitars, they're absolutely gorgeous. I don't like the tone of fat, "real" hollow body jazz guitars, but the L5S nails the creamy part with better treble & sustain (thanks to Bill Lawrence's genius). It really doesn't suit anything I play, but it sure would improve the decor around here.... hmmm, $4000 for a L5S or $8.99 for a poster from art.com.... :icon_scratch:

Lawrence also designed the L6S while he was working with Gibson, which is a real sleeper pawnshop find - at least until the internet ruined everything.... :sad1: Paul Reed Smith adopted the switching from the L6S for his own guitars, as did Ibanez for some RG's - that whole bit about using coils from different pickups in series & parallel, to exploit the combinations (it's basically a four-pickup guitar, all five positions some kind of humbucking though).
I have a hollow L5S body on order at the moment. It's korina with a koa top. I'm planning on a SD jazz in the neck and a JB in the bridge (both with push/pull coil splits) it's having a TOM/STOP setup on it and I have no idea what it's going to sound like. I've already got the neck (bubinga/bubinga-boat) so I'm sure it's gonna sound good but 335? :dontknow: