1936 Gibson-made KG-14-style Carson Robison Flattop Guitar

This model was sold by Montgomery Ward as the "Recording King Carson Robison 1281," but in actuality it's a rebadged Kalamazoo KG-14. A Gibson factory order number stamped at the neck block pegs it at '36 and after work it's a loud, sweeter-than-average (for a KG-14), breathy sort-of guitar and absolutely ideal for fingerpicking.

This one came in with better-than-average health conditions and I didn't even need to do a neck reset as the angle was perfect and the original saddle (!) was as tall as the day it was built with action almost spot-on. My work was simple -- I reglued a couple of braces (one top brace had split, but glued-up fine), added a "popsicle" brace under the fretboard extension to shore-up hairline cracks right next to it, and cleated a couple of hairlines directly above the soundhole that terminate at the fretboard. After that I gave it a fret level/dress, cleaned it up, fit new ebony pins all-around, and reprofiled the saddle for better compensation and action height.

The neck has just a touch of backbow after the 10th fret and sloping down towards the body, so I have the action set a hair-above 3/32" on the E string, but normal 3/32" A and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, otherwise (ie, bang-on). It plays slick and easy and I have it strung with 52w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 strings but I think it might benefit from 54w-12 regular lights, even. The nut width is 1 3/4" and the board has a 12" radius with a medium, V-shaped neck below it. Aside from the hairline cracks mentioned near the fretboard extension, the only other crack I found on the guitar is a 1" one that's over kerfing directly to the right of the pickguard at its lowest point. It's good to go.

This one has the cool "roof" headstock and the rarer bone nut. I'm surprised that the original tuners are extant, too, and in good shape.

The frets didn't need much of a level/dress at all -- there was only minor wear.

It's great to see an original saddle almost full-height still from the factory.

The endpin, like the bridge pins, is new and ebony. I find that these are a closer approximation of the look of the old Gibson celluloid pins than any new repro-style plastic ones I've found.


phogue said...

That is a sweet-sounder. Hm.

Alex Robinson said...

That records so nicely Jake. Thanks as always