10/26/2012

c.1936 Kalamazoo KG-11 Guitar




This nice KG-11 was supplied in trade from this good fella in France. When it got to me, it had action that was a bit high (1/4"), but after I worked it over per the usual -- fret level/dress, action adjustment at the bridge saddle, bridge pin-holes, and nut -- it plays perfect (3/32" bass, 1/16" treble at the 12th fret) and sounds wonderful.

It's no secret that these shortened 00-size body guitars are favorites of old-time and blues players (as well as songwriters) because they really dish out for their size and have a wonderful look and vibe as well as a very useful tonality: open and creamy but with a good tight bass that doesn't get spongy. This specimen also has amazing, rich sustain as well. A very nice box!


This guitar is in particularly good shape being all-original (save bone saddle, bone nut, and new ebony pins) and free of cracks. The finish is also pretty darn clean as well.

As an aside -- don't you love the look of this sunburst and pickguard?

Woods: solid spruce top with ladder bracing, solid mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck. The bridge and fretboard are nice old rosewood.


I added small string ramps and new ebony pins when I worked over the bridge area. This guitar, like most flattops from this time, has a minor amount of belly, but it's perfectly stable (especially with the 50w-11 slightly lighter strings on it right now) and had no deflection after tuning it up. Gibson beefed up the ladder bracing on these guys as opposed to what Harmony was doing at the time and as a result the tops sound better and are more stable.


Nice multi-ply binding around the soundhole. The top is also bound in white celluloid.


Lovely Kalamazoo stenciled logo.


Radiused rosewood board, pearl dots, original smallish Gibson frets (these feel GREAT) and no side dots.


The pumkin-orange to black sunburst is so cool.







Here you can see that nice, one-piece mahogany back a little better.


Original tuners are lubed and work great. The neck shape on this is that typical medium-to-larger Gibson v-shape from the 30s. It's not as big as the 1920s ones and in comparison to other brands of the time, it feels nice and comfortable. I think, especially on these Kalamazoos, some good thought was put into what makes a good strong neck plus a very playable one.

The cozy radius to the board definitely helps, for sure.


The mahogany in the sides is nice, too.



Original end-pin.


The serial -- 902B -- dates this to 1936.


...and it has a plain-Jane, no-frills modern gigbag that works just fine with it!

No comments: