2/11/2012

c.1938 Gibson-made Cromwell G-4 Archtop Guitar





Update Nov 2014: I've updated the photos on this guitar.

Essentially identical to a late-1930s Kalamazoo KG-31, this Cromwell-branded guitar was made by Gibson. If you've read my other Kalamazoo and related posts, you know I absolutely love these guitars. For what it's worth, I think these are some of the best "budget" archtops one can buy. They have a punchy, creamy, warm sort of tone that many archtops just don't get until they've been worked in a lot. In addition, after repairwork, they all come out great players.

If you're playing old-timey music these work great backing fiddlers or mandolin players, cut some nice leads if need be, and are perfect for blues or folk-jazz players. I'm seriously thinking about holding onto this one since I've let so many others get away (and my lonely KG-21 might need a friend, no?)... but who knows!



At any rate -- solid press-arched spruce top in a peculiar almost fan-style bracing pattern (typical to Kalamazoos), solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, and rosewood fretboard and bridge with an ebony nut. This one's bound on the top and back edges as well.



Simple headstock shape is fun and folky.



This has a tiny bit of relief in the first three frets (someone must've been slinging mediums a lot) and I've leveled the frets to remove almost all of it, so this plays just great with 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret.



The "big foot" Kalamazoo-style rosewood adjustable bridges are a great design -- they're very stable and provide great transfer of energy to the top. I've intonated the B string slot to keep this in tune up the neck.



I've repaired a number of hairline cracks on the top and back, the center-line seam repair here being the longest. They're all good to go, now.



Check out the glorious firestripe pickguard!







The finish has lovingly crackled and weather-checked and been worn-in all over.









Good neck join. Note small screw-hole from removed strap button.



These tuners aren't fancy but they sure work just fine.



When I got this the remains of the original end pin were still in the hole, so I drilled it out and installed this replacement ebony one.



Here's the worst eyesore -- fortunately not in a very visible place. This is an old puncture wound that had been repaired rather sloppily. There's also a sloppy brace reglue on the lower bout back brace as well.



And the retailer label... bought in NY City!


This comes with a decent Washburn-brand hard case.

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