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Well, I done it--NGD


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Yep, so I snagged a 1936-37 Kalamazoo at the Bee3 this afternoon. And, it's been converted to X-bracing by D. Sheppard, who I understand has some reputation for this work. Regardless of who did it, there's surely an x there now!


It's a "Senior" (which is just funny), which the dealer thinks is a KG-14 body. But...my cursory searches so far are suggesting this model is a slightly hepped-up KG-11 (check out that burst, guard, and checkerboard sound hole!). I understand the bridge and board are Brazilian, so there goes my international tour!


And, like you'd expect of pre-war, low-budget guitars, these Kalamazoos have no truss rod. That's hard to care too much about, given that the 80+ year old instrument is still with us. I think the tuners are original, as are several of the buttons. Black nut, bone saddle. The neck is a V, but not the most pronounced V of the many vintage (and re-issue) L00s I've tried over time. It's definitely a beefier neck than I'm used to, but it's not too foreign-feeling and it's definitely quite comfortable. Oh, and it's straight-good intonation all the way up.




It really hits the spot for me--I've long had a hankering for another small-bodied Gibson (have a 64 LG1--definitely a ladder) but wasn't too keen on spending the big vintage bucks. At 1K, I don't think I've gone wrong; it feels great, sounds great--and looks really cool, to boot. It weighs less than 3 pounds, which is incredible. Gonna make my modern, electronics-laden gits feel like tanks by comparison.


I like it. Me happy. When we're fully bonded, I'll make some clips, but for now--a coupla pictures. [biggrin]












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Beauty- definitely the pronounced lower bout of the KG-11; I'd always wondered if a cross brace conversion on one of those would bring a good deal more low-mid tone than most any L-00 could muster. Love the Braz bridge, "cured" finish, fire stripe 'guard, and checker-bound soundhole. Did you get to compare it to some L-00's? 1000?. . . a great price, too.


Congrats- have fun tonight!

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I don't know the guitar because I use Martins.


But I do know B3. I'ma long time veteran of Philly Fall, one of B3's best shows back then. Had some really memorable weeks out in KoP with a couple dozen other drunken bums guitar players***.


Whatever you got at one of those shows, it's a winner. Enjoy it, good luck with it, play it long time in good health.




*I once was dragged to a booth that held a dozen or so early-mid 50's Teles, all definitely guaranteed CLF on the heel guitars. I had a 54 in my hands for half an hour and it was just dreamy. Looked at the tag, 10,500 American. I politely asked if he would take 9950. Suffice it to say it didn't go over well. Many many good times at that guitar show, and I know you did too.


**A guy hangs around here from BossTown Mass Leh Minstah area that uses at least one big body Gibson acoustic, he knows a guy that used to come down for that show. Good muthafukkin times indeed.

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Congrats Anne. Based on the rope binding around the soundhole though I would say that guitar was built in 1935. As far as I know that is the only year Gibson used that particular decorative touch on Kalmazoos and Recording Kings. And I agree it is a KG-11 body shape (the KG-14 is believed to be the guitar Robert Johnson is holding in the "photo booth" picture which is why they are so sought after today). Ironically, Gibson's off-brand 1930s archtops were X braced with the two-hump tops. By the way, I own a 1935 Gibson-Capital without a truss rod and it has never had nor needs a neck set.

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Thanks for jumping in, all!


So today I went back to the show for grins and played a few other 30's era L-00s and some LG-2s, ranging from 1942-57. Two L-00s were pretty outstanding, and not terribly priced--but still beyond where I could have pulled the trigger. One had a reset, the other would have needed one fairly soon. I played a handful of L-00s that didn't do it for me, underscoring what we all know:" old" doesn't automatically equal "awesome."


I will take this to the local Gibson-whisperer luthier to go over the tuners for me; two are so stiff I can barely turn them, even a little. But otherwise, I'm just bonding away, getting more used to the neck and fret board. I am a generally light touch, but this one wants me to dig in, so my left hand needs to step it up a little. It's comfortable enough, but not too forgiving of my sloppy-ish fingering habits.


But yes--we are both "home" now. I'm loving the sound, the mojo, and the tactile experience--and I will post some clips in the coming days.


More pics!! (Note the old telephone table--of approximately the same age.)





























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I can't imagine an old L00 that's a dud, but there you were playing one. Bad strings, tired sound board, who knows.


Is the neck angle good and action comfortably low on your new guitar? Your luthier will surely set it up, but I'm thinking this guitar would like a heavier gauge (13's) string tuned a step down from standard pitch to make that top come to life.


Just a stray hunch.

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