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1938 Recording King M5 by Gibson


fromnabulax
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i just wanted share a few pics of one of my favorites. I've owned it for about 5 years now. The only problem I had was finding a good case. The case it was shipped in only worked with the bridge off the guitar.

 

Problem was that this one is not only anrchtop, it's an archback as well.

 

I was living in Los Angeles at the time which is the home of G and G Quality Case, which is the company Leo Fender hired to make Fender cases going way back to the early 50s, and in fact they still manufacture the vintage reissue cases today.

 

They custom built me a case from the ground up. The place was incredible. They had templates of every single guitar case, custom or otherwise, they had made since they started in business.

 

And oh man, that new case smell? This place was just loaded with it.

 

They made me a tweed case with a hot pink fur interior. It was costly but the case is built like a tank, and will be around long after I'm gone.

 

The complete description of the guitar as well as these photos are still online at the Archtop.com site, so you can read all about her there:

 

http://www.archtop.com/ac_38M5.html

 

And here are just the pics for the voyeurs amongst you (us)...

 

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jefPolb.jpg

 

I don't know if you can really tell just how incredibly lovely that checkerboard binding really is. It runs completely around the entire neck, as well as the entire front of the body. In spite of the sellers blurb it actually could use a good fret job, but I don't want to damage or lose the fabulous binding or patina.

 

I use this baby primarily for Jazz and Country. It's loud but not brash with lots of ringing mids. The action is a bit higher than I would use on a flat top.

 

Hope you all like the pics.

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I have played and owned Kay Kraft, Epiphone, and Regal-built Recording Kings (I still own a Regal RK flattop) but have not spent any time with Gibson-made versions.

 

I recall watching an RK M5 on eBay a few years back because I was flirting with the idea of getting an archtop at the time but did not want to pay what 1930s Gibsons were going for. So I was interested to see what it ended up bringing.

 

The case story is great. Was there a reason though you did not find the cases for arched top/back guitars made by TKL suitable.

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The case story is great. Was there a reason though you did not find the cases for arched top/back guitars made by TKL suitable.

 

All the different cases I tried were just barely to shallow. With no bridge they would close just fine, with the bridge in place there was perhaps a 16th if an inch to much height.

 

With a softshell case I could have possibly just latched the top, but of course I sure as heck didn't want to damage either the bridge or guitar.

 

I tried at least dozen cases, I even tried a few of those Eastman cello style cases. None would latch. Even G and G while using an existing template for shape had to custom cut me a case for height, and now my own guitar shape and dimensions are forever stored as a template in their factory.

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Thanks for story, love these old archtops, had a 46' ES150 for 35yrs.

 

I have kinda sorta given up on restoring my 1935 Tonk Bros Fascinator by Gibson, it has the same lovely binding of your guitar.... but in a world of bad shape. The Fascinator was a low end model and not sure it would ever be worth the trouble. I picked up a 2012 John Pisano by Eastman and well... the Tonk slumbers. regards

 

Fascinator%20frontback2_zpszp4na1qg.jpg

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Thanks for story, love these old archtops, had a 46' ES150 for 35yrs.

 

I have kinda sorta given up on restoring my 1935 Tonk Bros Fascinator by Gibson, it has the same lovely binding of your guitar.... but in a world of bad shape. The Fascinator was a low end model and not sure it would ever be worth the trouble. I picked up a 2012 John Pisano by Eastman and well... the Tonk slumbers. regards

 

Fascinator%20frontback2_zpszp4na1qg.jpg

 

Love the inlay on that neck!

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I was living in Los Angeles at the time which is the home of G and G Quality Case, which is the company Leo Fender hired to make Fender cases going way back to the early 50s, and in fact they still manufacture the vintage reissue cases today.

 

They custom built me a case from the ground up. The place was incredible. They had templates of every single guitar case, custom or otherwise, they had made since they started in business.

 

And oh man, that new case smell? This place was just loaded with it.

 

They made me a tweed case with a hot pink fur interior. It was costly but the case is built like a tank, and will be around long after I'm gone.

 

I can vouch for the fact that G and G builds a great case. The one below is part of a small run of repro Cali Girl J-45 cases they made for Norman's Rare Guitars a few years ago. Unlike the covering used on the TKL Cali Girl cases, this one is pretty much a dead ringer for the original material, inside and out.

 

The case is built like a tank, but weighs a ton. I really like it, even though it's a very tight fit for my slightly oversize (compared to a modern J-45) 1948-1950 J-45. My modern SJ slips right in, but this case is reserved for the old girl.

 

J-45inCaliGirl.jpg

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Thanks for story, love these old archtops, had a 46' ES150 for 35yrs.

 

I have kinda sorta given up on restoring my 1935 Tonk Bros Fascinator by Gibson, it has the same lovely binding of your guitar.... but in a world of bad shape. The Fascinator was a low end model and not sure it would ever be worth the trouble. I picked up a 2012 John Pisano by Eastman and well... the Tonk slumbers. regards

 

 

 

You really have to know your way around those Tonk Facinator archtops. I know a couple of guys who got burned on them. Bought what they were told were Gibson-made guitars and ended up with Regals.

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zw, no doubt about what you're saying. The guy I bought my 59' LG3 from ($500) threw in the Fascinator. The LG3 needed a good bit of reconditioning work but it turned into a prince. I started on the Fascinator, stopped and started again... then decided it was a frog and much more than a smooch was needed. The mahog and spruce (adi?) is very good wood, but the bracing inside is buggered to n'th. I quit drinking 20+ yrs ago, if I restart this project it might push me off the wagon. There's a little man inside my head who keeps telling me 'put it in a cave for the troglodytes when they return', dunno. best

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Just for curiousity sake, a little past 3/4 of the way down, just after the Washburn section is the Fascinator. They were overpriced, didn't sell, and were discontinued. The rectangular box w/Fascinator logo is the Gibson id (vs Regal) according to the various info I can find. fwiw

 

http://www.fox-guitars.com/Gibson-Made_Brands.html

 

Slightly worse for the wear:

 

SAM_0615a_zpsdsbhcydi.jpg

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