5/19/2012

c.1935 Gibson-made Cromwell KG-32 Archtop Guitar





This guitar is in incredible shape. Rather than 77 years old, this looks like it could be between 2 and 5 years old. It's been kept very well and the only non-original bit about it is a single replaced tuner button. The only sign of aging is slight finish crazing here and there -- but heck -- the finish is superb, glossy, and beautiful. No cracks!!

I never see the old Gibson-made off-brand guitars in this shape. They're always played-in like heck for the most part because they sound so good. This one not only sounds really, really good with nice chop, zing, and playability -- but it also looks great.

And did I mention the original brown-covered hard case? Whoosh.


My work included polishing up the frets, a quick wipe-down, and slight nut adjustment as well as a setup. The frets themselves didn't need any leveling or dressing simply because they looked untouched and were all set to go.


Ebony nut, cool "Cromwell" pointed headstock. Aside from the headstock alteration and stripe down the center of the fretboard, this could be a Kalamazoo-branded KG-32. This guitar has solid mahogany for its neck, back, and sides and a solid spruce top.


I love the inlaid cream stripe down the center of the radiused rosewood board. The oversize pearl dots look heck-a cool, too. New strings are "custom light" 52w-11, but 12s would be just about perfect on this. Action is spot-on -- 3/32" at the 12th on the bass side and 1/16" on the treble.



Good rosewood adjustable bridge.


Firestripe pickguard!


This is a 16" wide archtop with the same body shape as the L-48s and later L-30s and whatnot. It feels great in the lap with the narrow waist because it sits so well and the wide body gives tremendous punch and cut.



Dark-stained mahogany back, sides, and neck.




Excellent neck join.


Tuners work just fine.






Nice original heavy-duty tailpiece mount.


Batch number/FON places this at 1935.


Here's the retailer's label from the inside bass f-hole.


The case lining is actually a darker purple than what shows up in the photos. The case itself is in really good shape save that one of the hinges is a little loose.


Key, too!


I really can't say enough about this guitar. It's a winner all-around. Kick-butt tone, kick-butt looks, kick-butt condition, and a great player for anyone looking for a bigger round-shaped neck feel. These are rugged guitars and have an archtop sound that nothing else has -- a sort of sweet, punchy, creamy-bottomed thing that lots of higher-end archies don't even approach.

Just -- different! ...and very useful for hybrid styles between jazz, folk, blues, old-time, and what-have-you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also have a Cromwell archtop - not in such good condition. I think it sounds fantastic! I especially love the feeling of the rounded V profile neck for playing. It's not completely original - I changed the machine heads because the corroded originals were very stiff. I also removed the pick guard because I don't play with a pick. I always use a plain third on acoustic guitars and this makes the Cromwell very expressive.