John Mayer’s 1970 Gibson L-5
This guitar was most famously used on Where The Light Is DVD, mostly just on the footage recorded of John playing outside on Mulholland Drive.
From then on, the L-5 was seen occasionally on John’s social media profiles but was rarely used during concerts. One instance where the guitar was seen live was at the David Letterman show in 2008, where John played a cover of Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours, and more recently, in 2019 at the MSG in New York, when John used it for Moving On and Getting Over.
John’s L-5 is a 1970 model (see comments for source, thanks Jordan), and it features a rounded cutaway – a design change from the pointed cutaway that was introduced in the late 60s. It is a hollow body guitar with a solid spruce top with maple back and sides, a five-piece maple neck, and two humbucking pickups.
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He currently uses this on his 2019 world tour, for Moving On and Getting Over
Updated the info, thanks!
He also used it in his Where the Light is concert, for I’m gonna find another you.
In this video interview John says it’s from “1970” at the 4:01 mark. https://youtu.be/Rp8NEX_8KnA
Where are you getting the info that it’s from 1977
Check the link right next to where it is stated that it’s a 1977 model, in the last paragraph. Mayer says it’s a 1977 model there. But you’re right, he says it’s from 1970 in the video that you posted – so which one is true? I’ve no idea.
I know, I found the backstage at jones beach video where he says 77′ but he clearly says 70′ in the WTLI bonus footage. I wonder if there’s any physical differences between 70/77 on the guitar itself we could use to differentiate. Perhaps headstock stamp or something, I’ll keep digging.
Ok I found a way to know definitively. After some research on L5’s I found that 1977 was the first year Gibson started putting a volute on the back of the neck near the headstock. So if we can get a good image of a side profile of the guitar or the back we should know definitively. If there’s no volute. It’s a 1970 for sure. If there is one, 77 is correct. I’ll try and find a good image but it’s a hard angle to capture. Might be able to see it in the jones beach video but it’s pretty grainy. Here is a link to a 77 L5 that has a clear side image of the neck where you can see it clear as day
Ok I DID IT. Cracked the case. The guitar is indeed for sure, a 1970 L5. Like I said before, 1977 was the first year of the volute, but there’s an easier to spot difference.. with the introduction of the volute in 77 Gibson also changed the black paint on the back of the headstock to be a straight line squared off. On the L5’s that are pre 1977 the black headstock paint is in a triangle shape that goes past the base of the headstock and onto the neck. Johns L5 clearly has the triangle black paint and not the straight line as can be seen in the Jones Beach Video. That coupled with the fact that he had bought the guitar just recently in the WTLI era (so had a fresher memory) leads me to conclude the Jones Beach video was just him mis remembering. Case is closed. Change the info in the article so people aren’t mislead. I’ll attach the photo evidence as well, feel free to use it on the page. Cheers.
Nicee find Jordan. I was sipping my coffee, reading your previous comment, and going through the Beach Back video frame by frame, looking for that pointy end on the black paint – but you already found it! I’ll update the info, thanks – cheers!
Thanks. I also consulted with some experts on guitar forums I’m friends with and they pointed out a few more ways to tell. On the headstock his has the “old style” flower pot inlay, also indicating it’s a 70, and the final way you can tell is that his tailpiece has the “vestigial access hole” near the bottom, which a 77 would not have. So there’s absolutely no doubt 3 points of contact all confirm 1970.
I’ve had a lot of fun playing detective. Thanks for responding, have a good one!
Thanks for sharing your discoveries Jordan, I learned something new today. I appreciate it, cheers!