9/13/2012

c.1940 Kalamazoo Lap Steel Guitar




This cool, maroon and gold, Kalamazoo lap steel was made by Gibson probably around 1940. It's all-original with the exception of the tuners, which are just slightly later (maybe late 1940s, early 1950s) but are exactly the same type of Kluson Deluxe tuners that were on this when I got it.

My work included cleaning, light setup, hardware tightening and cleaning, the replacement tuners, and a new set of strings. The tone and feel of this instrument gives my Gibson EH-125 a run for the money and it seems like though the pickup housings are different, this Kalamazoo is sporting a similar model pickup. It has a delightful, chimey, but sweet tone to it.


I love the color choice -- which Gibson used on various lap steels through the 1950s.


Gold-plated steel nut. I like the distressed gold-painted Kalamazoo logo.



The housing is reverse-painted clear plastic of some sort and the pickup is adjustable up or down, so you can scoop your tone a bit to favor bass or treble. The controls are very simple -- one volume control -- but isn't that bakelite radio knob just awesome?





The tuners are slightly later Klusons that I had in my parts bin. They're otherwise identical to the Kluson Deluxe tuners that were on this (but were damaged).


The wrist-rest is plastic, which is unfortunate, since if it were metal it could have been a nice grounding position. It removes with two screws so if you're a palm-muter at the saddle, you could easily pop it off with no trouble.


The original chip case is in great shape and ready to go anywhere.

Note that the instrument cable is hard-wired into the body.


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