2/10/2013

c.1935 Gibson-made Cromwell G-4 Archtop Guitar


This is a very stylishly-simple 16"-wide x-braced archtop. According to the very useful Gibson-made brands page this is a G-4 model (though it could be a G-6 minus the binding on the pickguard, I suppose). That means solid mahogany back, sides, and neck, spruce top, and a rosewood fretboard and adjustable bridge. The appointments and wood choices are roughly similar to a Kalamazoo KG-31 model.

As a fan of the Gibson "off brand" guitars of the 30s, this one hits a sweet spot. It has a bit more mwah to the low notes than I'm used to from a Cromwell which is a nice thing to have when it comes to chunky chop chording. The tone is very balanced throughout its range and it doesn't have a lot of distracting harmonics which means this would make a great recording instrument.

My work included backfilling/gluing up the center seam just below the fretboard extension, a fret level and dress, cleaning (there was a lot of spray paint spotting here and there on the body), and of course a full setup.

It plays beautifully and quick with a medium-big round neck shape with a 1 3/4" nut, lightly radiused board, and a width that runs to 2 1/4" at the neck join. It's also got the usual Gibson 24 3/4" scale. This means you have plenty of room to play on if you're a fingerpicker or single-note lead player but you have a bit faster play vs. a more-typical (for the period) hard-v neck.


The finish shows typical use-wear and handling but it's in quite good shape. The guitar is free of cracks but as noted, I did a tiny gluing of the center seam below the fretboard.


Simple "roof" Cromwell headstock shape with black-painted face and stenciled logo. Ebony nut.


There are no side dots but the rosewood board has that lovely celluloid stripe down the center of the neck with oversized pearl dots gleaming out from it. I've always loved the look of the Cromwell single-stripe necks.


Original adjustable rosewood bridge. Like the Kalamazoo and Oriole models, it's a bit bigger and more angular when compared to a higher-end Gibson-brand bridge.


This guitar has the nice Gibson-patent tailpiece, though, with integral hole for the endpin.



The guitar is 100% original except for a replacement (parts-bin) endpin. The firestripe pickguard is so cool.


Here you can see some of that lovely dark-stained mahogany used for the back, sides, and neck.


Bound top and back edges. The back is press-arched and braced. One of the back braces has been reglued with some excess glue staining around its edges.


The original tuners are lubed and all ready t ogo.


Good, tight, heel. The sides of this guitar are 3 1/4" depth just like the Gibson models that are sort of comparable in look -- L-48s, L-50s.




These Gibson-patent tailpieces are so classy but simple.

1 comment:

Joseph Speel said...

Very nice , I just picked up a Capitol , I think it is a G-4 , same as the Cromwell G6 , checkerboard binding and opposite checkerboard on pickguard , inlaid "Capital" slant roof headstock , glued a loose fingerboard binding tonite , these are nice playing instrements , enjoying your posts , Jojo