9/14/2014

c.1940 Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-21 Archtop Guitar




Another lovely KG-21! These L-00-size instruments sure kick butt. This one came by way of a trade deal and after a bit of work (seam reglues, bridge fitting, fret level/dress, cleaning, and setup) it plays spot-on and has that classic creamy/crunchy sound I've come to associate with Kalamazoo-style archtops. There's a lot more bottom end on these guys than your average archtop but it's pushed forward so your audience hears it more than the player. It makes these a perfect choice for someone who needs cut/carrying power but also needs to clean up their tone.


This has a solid spruce press-arched top (not carved) with tonebar bracing that is terminated halfway up the body by a ladder brace. It's a design curious to Gibson's Kalamazoo-style builds and I think is partly responsible for their tone.

Back and sides are solid mahogany and the neck is maple. The bridge and board are both Brazilian rosewood.


The headstock's top surface is painted black. The nut is ebony.

Everything on this is original to the guitar save new white tuner buttons that were installed before my time.


Pearl dots in the radiused rosewood board... and clay or celluloid side dots. The nut is 1 11/16" and the neck feel is like a big 40s/50s Gibson C neck. It has just a hair of V in its shape. The guitar doesn't have a factory order number or serial on it but I came up with the c.1940 date because of this neck shape and also the later-style original tailpiece installed.

The neck had a tiny bit of relief in it that was dialed out in the fret level/dress, fortunately.


The pickguard looks great...


I set B string intonation at the bridge during setup.




The back looks great save an old (quite well done with cleats and everything) crack repair and a touch of overspray that was shot over it.


The tuners are slightly fussy but do hold pitch. Update: I just played this for a gig and I didn't have any tuning issues while pounding on it. Happy.


The neck set is spot on.







It even has its ratty old chip case!

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