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ThatLandaleBoy

Branded late 39's Gibson. Aftermarket pick guard?

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476361860_2019-05-2410_53_30.thumb.jpg.07387be451c7dc421eb0db3051bd6ded.jpgWell, I have very nearly, but with reservations established this as a branded Gibson Henry L. Mason,  late 30s ladder braced L00 model made for Coastal Music of California,  a huge retailer on the west coast. Had my good friends at McCabe's music in Santa Monica  bring it back to life for me ! However,  I have never seen this style of pickguard on any of the other branded Gibson models like the Kalamazoo or the Stewart.  It is screwed on, not glued. what do you think guys?  did the previous owner add this after the fact let me know what you think. It's been on there for quite a while.  but I am thinking of having a custom-made firestripe style as a replacement with the same hole configuration. Maybe it was made by another manufacturer...give me your welcome input245666903_2019-05-2409_57_03.thumb.jpg.eed7f4738f9127472ea6ce0cd8aac19d.jpg

Edited by ThatLandaleBoy
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Is there any type of books that refer this as being a Gibson product ? Also. Those style of screw on guards were used by Harmony and Stella.  I have a Stella with the same guard. 

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As far as its maker, the number inside fell within the manufacturer orders listed in the gibson production book for Coastal Music years 1939 to 1940.  (Branded as Henry L. Mason, sold to CMC and built by Gibson from '37 to 1940. )  I have not found a Mason brand instrument outside of those years.  Also,  from what I have researched, most of these came without a pickguard.  Has a pretty comfortable baseball bat neck!

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That looks a lot like the guitars made by United Guitar Company from Jersey City NJ.  They never used their own name, but built guitars for catalog sales for lots of catalog companies in the heyday of catalog sales under many names.

It also looks a lot like a Harmony H-162 -- made from the early 40s to the early 70s.  Those too were rebranded a lot.

Best,

-Tom

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Thanks Tom...could be made by another company. Will look that brand  up.  Found this guitar in Los Angeles, hence the CMC connection.  Here are specs:  ladder-braced solid Spruce top, slab mahogany back and mahogany sides. Large V baseball bat neck with 4 MOP dots. Top edge binding only. 4-ply (vinyl?)rimming soundhole.  25" scale, 14 frets to body. (Also 14 3/4 lower bout). Ramped and slotted bridge with very tiny unslotted ebony bridge pins.  Slotted headstock with black tuners.  The maker mystery continues...I guess!

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Gibson did indeed make some guitars under the Henry L. Mason moniker, but according to Gruhn's guitar guide, there was only one flat-top built, and it resembled a Kalamazoo KG-14 and/or Cromwell G-2.

Using those models as a reference point, you will see a clear difference in comparison to your instrument.

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Yep...doesn't look like those.  Probably not a gibson then...might be Regal.  But no record of any other Henry L Masons being built after 1940 that I can find. FYI: HL Mason of Mason and Hamlin fame was revered by church folks he started with organs.  Big pentecostal revivals in LA in the late '30's...all about marketing!

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My first thought was that the guitar was a Harmony H162 with an older slotted headstock neck grafted on.  Harmony did make guitars for Henry L. Mason between 1936 and 1939.  But the  squared off Grand Concert shape body did not replace the figure 8 body until the mid-1950s.  Gibson, of course, supplied a number of large chains with guitars.  I own a 1935 Capital which was the house brand of Jenkins Music Stores.  The off-brands of Gibson tended to be the same exact guitar differing only in headstock shape and bling.  When I looked up my Capital in Spann's Guide there was a Kalamazoo and a Cromwell listed with the same FON.   As already noted, the only Gibson-made  Mason flattop I have ever even heard of is the CW-2 which Gibson produced in both  six string and tenor versions.  The six string version was a re-labeled Cromwell G-2 right down to the skunk stripe running down the board (which my Capital also has).  The slotted headstock though just does not make sense for any steel string instrument built by Gibson.  Nor do the position markers on the board.  You might dig up a copy of the book Paul Fox produced on the off-brands of Gibson.  That and Spann's Guide (which granted does have holes in it) could help shed some light on the mystery.   

Here is a photo I dug up of an H.L.  Mason CW-2.  

Mason-CW-2.jpg

Edited by zombywoof

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 I see similarities... here is a full shot of my guitar.  similar dots on the first three as is the badge on the headstock. darn good question. my next post, I will flip the guitar over and shoot the back side.  Here is an interesting clue:  the sound hole is quite small on my guitar, 3 3/4.  Dimensions: Total length 39 1/2, scale 25", upper bout 10 1/2, lower bout 14 3/4. 14 fret clear of body.

2019-06-21 11.02.18.jpg

Edited by ThatLandaleBoy
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As I said earlier slab mahogany back. this guitar has alot of strumming on it!  I do not know its history.  But look at the wear on the neck under the first few frets also where the previous owner set it on their thigh. whoever made it it's still plays amazingly well.

2019-06-21 11.10.29.jpg

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The wear on the neck near the nut indicates a whole lot of cowboy chords being played.   I keep going back to my first impression that the guitar looks like a 1960s harmony H162 with a much older slothead neck slapped on.  The H162 and other Harmony Grand Concerts though had  a wider lower bout than your guitar.  The one piece back, top binding and specs do line up with a Kalamazoo KG-14 (which did differ slightly from an L-00). But the only slothead steel string Gibson I can think of would be an early 1900s L-1.  14 fret slothead necks though were not all that common.  Oscar Schmidt and the Larson Bros. (who did build guitars for the Southern CA Music Co) as example built Grand Concerts with them.  So that might be a good direction to go in.   Problem is it was not uncommon for any number of  builders to supply any number of retailers with instruments which they slapped their own logo on.   So it does not narrow it down all that much.   Unfortunately, I doubt it is a plain jane Larson Bros. (most were fairly elaborate).   As far as I know they never veered from placing the position marker on the 10th instead of the 9th fret.  Schmidt, however, placed position markers on either.  If it is say a Schmidt-made instrument the neck heel will likely be slanted while there will be only three top braces plus the bridge plate which will stretch 2/3 to the full length of the body.    Another possibility is that when Harmony acquired the Schmidt Co. in the late 1930s' they started using leftover parts. I own a Harmony-badged leftover Schmidt "Westbrook" Stella,   So the guitar could be something like a Harmony Vogue B  with a leftover Schmidt neck attached.   The mind wobbles at the possibilities. 

Edited by zombywoof

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Zombywoof...that is great information!  Yep, thousands of hours cowboy chords for sure.  I'll try and post some clearer pictures.  I guess I need to post pic on some other site and share URL  for larger file sizes. I might have to get a small mirror inside and see what the ladder bracing looks like too. It is surprisingly an easy guitar to play.  

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Zombywoof.   I think you are correct about the Schmidt connection here's a picture of the neck heel, slanted.  Most definitely a 1930s neck and the paint job and wear patterns would indicate that the guitar was made this way, as pictured not pieced together in the 60s. Just read a Blog on Jake Wildwood's website on the harmony Vogue b, 1935 that he had for sale.  which could very well be the basis of this guitar with a slotted neck. basically he said the slotted the Vogue B was a direct copy of the Martin oo. And I know Martin made a slotted neck 14 maybe that's what they were going after. it all lines up what do you think here's a pic of the angled neck at the heel

2019-06-27 17.45.45-1.jpg

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