1990 Samick HJRG-302 L-5 Copycat Hollowbody Electric Guitar

How about them big apples? This same basic L-5 copy guitar can be found on various brands in the '80s and early '90s -- Hondo, Vantage, and Washburn are some -- and this one bears the name of the actual factory that built it in Korea. When comparing the serial number to others glimpsed online, it seems to suggest a 1990 date.

It's all-ply in the body, fully-hollow, equipped with two retro-but-mellow humbuckers, has a long 25 1/2" scale length, and a slim, quick neck that's very late-'60s Gibson but without the super-narrow nut. It sounds like it ought to and even through my very tweed-y-sounding amp, you can hear a bit of the jazzy tones it's able to dish out.

This one's been played a bunch and isn't squeaky-clean, but it does feel loved. Its original pickguard is stashed in its hard case (because it's a cheap printed-tortoise material and was distracting) and a few parts are swapped-out, but it's survived essentially intact and it's in good shape and durable. I would not fear dragging this to gigs anywhere and everywhere.

Repairs included: fret level/dress, new output jack, cleaning, bridge compensation (3-plain, 3-wound) adjustments, and setup.

Body wood: ply maple throughout

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: maple

Pickups: 2x warm-sounding, mid-output humbuckers

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast, quick)
String gauges: 46w-10

Neck shape: slim C

Board radius: ~12"

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium

Scale length: 25 1/2"

Nut width: 1 5/8"

Body width: 16 7/8"

Body depth: 3 7/8" +arching

Condition notes: there are minor dings in the binding on the back edge and light scuffing/scratching here and there throughout. The black finish on the metal pickup surrounds has started to age and crackle. I have the pickguard removed but it and its hardware are in the case. I had to replace the bad original output jack with a new Switchcraft one. Two of the knobs are older replacements but it's not obvious at a glance. One tuner at the headstock is swapped but it's not a bad match. The gold plating on much of the hardware is worn where you'd expect it -- tuner buttons and pickup covers.

It comes with: a decent, presumably-original, hard case.


McComber said…
Lovely. I have the same model, serial # 9010289, made in China, that I picked up about 10 years ago at Retro Music in Keene, NH. It was as close to an L5 as I could get and you're right, it's a workhorse that sounds pretty good. You've actually made mine sound better recently. I used to know what year it was made but I've forgotten. It's done well on rock stages and in Jazz situations. Most recently it was put to use playing old Broadway standards at a retirement community where it did just fine. It's funny, it's one of those affordable guitars with no real glamour, but one can't imagine ever letting it go.. Thanks for posting. Nice to see one on THE blog.