Rare Guitars: Gary Gand’s c.1958 Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster

We check out Gary's go-to guitar for rockabilly gigs.

This is one of two ES-5 Switchmasters in Gary Gand’s collection, which we recently had the pleasure of perusing. Most notably played by Carl Perkins, this model is one of the few that Gibson offered with a 25.3-inch scale length – a marked departure from the company’s most common specs.

This gorgeous instrument features all of its original hardware, from its engraved trapeze tailpiece to its Grover Rotomatic tuners. As you’ll see in the gallery below, some of its binding has cracked and its finish shows signs of moisture damage along the body’s treble-side edge. Considering the affected area, Gary speculates the guitar could’ve been stored on its side when a basement flooded.

As for how this ES-5 ended up in Gary’s possession, he tells us he bought it off a man who’d received it from a roommate as collateral for a $4,000 tuition loan in 1962. As you’d have guessed, the loan was never repaid, but that’s not the end of that curious anecdote. Learn this guitar’s full origin story here.

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Here’s a closer look at this ES-5:

Check out more of Gary Gand’s collection here.

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