5/01/2013

c.1935 Gibson-made Cromwell Flattop Tenor Guitar



Update: I recently installed $95 Waverly 4:1 banjo pegs to replace the original friction pegs (these are so, so, so nice to have) and scrounged up a fun old faux-alligator hard case that fits, so here are some photos of those additions...



Back to the original post: Here we have one of those peculiar Gibson "second line" instruments. It's essentially the same idea as a late-30s Gibson TG-0 but has no truss rod and ladder bracing instead of x-bracing. This gives it that breathy, punchy "Kalamazoo" flattop guitar tone that old-time musicians seem to favor. In addition, this sports the "Cromwell" branding which means it has that super-duper cool inlaid stripe down the center of the fretboard. The only ink stamp inside is an "82" on the neck block which doesn't provide much dating advice, though Cromwells like this seem to have generally been made 1935-39 or so.

Work included gluing up a couple of splits on the back and addressing a small open seam section. I also leveled and dressed the frets, cleaned it all up, set it up, and added new ebony bridge pins and a new ebony endpin. Otherwise, this guit was in really good (surprisingly good) shape, though of course it shows plenty of finish and use-wear throughout.


The two-color 30s sunburst is very bluesy and cool, especially combined with that original firestripe pickguard.

The top is solid spruce and mahogany is used as a secondary wood throughout. The board and bridge are both Brazilian rosewood and show nice grain patterns. What's cool about the top is that it's a two-piece top but the seam is actually to the bass side of the bridge which gives it an interesting (almost Eastern European luthier-style) look to my eyes.


Original ebony nut and friction pegs.


I added the pearl side-dots. Check out the extra-big center pearl dots. I love that about the Cromwell-branded Gibsons. Very deco-cool.



The bone saddle looks like it had been touched-up before for action adjustment but it still has good height. I actually didn't have to do anything to it as far as setup goes except compensate the 3rd string slot to suit the unwound A string I like for stringing up tenor guitars to "octave mandolin" GDAE tuning.


Yessir, a handsome guit!



The top, back, and soundhole are bound in cream celluloid. The sides had a few tiny hairline cracks that I glued up here and there.




The sunlight brings out some of that mahogany on the back, but it's pretty dark in person. Note the evidence of many years of good use! Small scratches all over...



The heel is set perfectly.


New ebony endpin...

4 comments:

Taylor said...

Is it for sale??

Antebellum Instruments said...

It may be in the future but I'm going to enjoy this for at least a little bit right now. :)

Taylor said...

I can understand that! I'll definitely keep looking back for if/when it does go on sale! Btw I'm the guy who bought the long scale Silvertone K-22 from you and love it!

Taylor W said...

the tone of this thing is driving me crazy! truly a wonderful instrument! I'd trade you the Regal custom tenor I bought from you for this ;)