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Jack M. Frost

Kalamazoo KG-11

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I have just acquired a ladder braced Kalamazoo acoustic which I believe dates back to the 1930's.I believe the shape indentifies it as a KG-11, as does the pick guard placement and shape.  But I'm wondering if it has been re-necked at some point, or if I'm missing something on the ID process.  It has 14 frets clear of the body and a "roof-top" peghead.  The literature I have seen says the following:

Regular acoustics from that period were indeed 14-fret guitars but had squared off peg heads

Guitars set up for Hawaiian had the rooftop shaped pegheads but were 12-fret guitars.

So what I have seems to be a hybrid unless I'm missing something.  Any advice?

I've attached a picture.. 

Thanks, 

Jack M. Frost

 

 

510214088_Kalamazooguitar.thumb.jpg.39adb9c797b7d4645ebf3956dcf8831a.jpg

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Where did you read  ". . . Regular acoustics from that period were indeed 14-fret guitars but had squared off peg heads. . ." ? The headstock of your KG-11 looks identical to that of the '36 KG-31 I had, and similar to other KG-11's from the period. Did you take a look for a letter stamped with the Factory Order Number stamped inside. 1935 would be an "A", a '36 would have a "B", etc, up to 1940. What are you going to do with the ladder braced guitar? 

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Congrats!  You are pretty safe in saying your guitar dates from the 1930s as  Kalamzoos were built from 1933 into the early 1940s. Structurally they are the identical to  Cromwells, Grinnells, Recording Kings, Capitals and others.     Three different headstocks were used on Kalamazoos.  The earliest guitars had a squared headstock    The very first ones built in 1933 are also identified by a rope binding around the soundhole.   My 1933 Recording King  has the squared headstock while my 1935 Capital has the peaked headstock so as 62burst  noted, the peaked headstock on your guitar is the second style  so would date the instrument from 1935 to maybe 1938.  Again, though everything is variable as Gibsons did not change specs at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the year.  You will always find some overlap.

Edited by zombywoof

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19 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

Congrats!  You are pretty safe in saying your guitar dates from the 1930s as  Kalamzoos were built from 1933 into the early 1940s. Structurally they are the identical to  Cromwells, Grinnells, Recording Kings, Capitals and others.     Three different headstocks were used on Kalamazoos.  The earliest guitars had a squared headstock    The very first ones built in 1933 are also identified by a rope binding around the soundhole.   My 1933 Recording King  has the squared headstock while my 1935 Capital has the peaked headstock so as 62burst  noted, the peaked headstock on your guitar is the second style  so would date the instrument from 1935 to maybe 1938.  Again, though everything is variable as Gibsons did not change specs at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the year.  You will always find some overlap.

What woof said.

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Congratulations on the new guitar!  The headstock looks the same as my KG-11.  It's a great little guitar and surprisingly loud and punchy for its small size.  I attend a bluegrass jam in Baltimore, and a guy there plays one - you can hear it better than some of the bigger acoustic dreads.  

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I have a question for the Gibson gurus out there.  I have never seen a Kalamazoo, et al that did not sport a spray burst finish.  In 1932, however, Gibson was still applying hand rubbed finishes.  Could the Kalamazoos have been the catalyst to go with the spray finishes which were less labor intensive and therefore involved less labor costs.   

Edited by zombywoof

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14 hours ago, vw1300 said:

Congratulations on the new guitar!  The headstock looks the same as my KG-11.  It's a great little guitar and surprisingly loud and punchy for its small size.  I attend a bluegrass jam in Baltimore, and a guy there plays one - you can hear it better than some of the bigger acoustic dreads.  

 

I do know one guy who plays in a bluegrass band in CA and he plays a Harmony Sovereign.   One of the things that is surprising about the Kalamazoos is the large neck blocks - heavier than any Martin dread.  I agree that they are punchy and responsive guitars but also lack  bottom and headroom which is pretty typical for the breed.

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4 hours ago, 62burst said:

 

Not sure what guitar you are referring to although based on what popped up I assume you mean a KG12 Oriole.  If so, I agree these are the best of the Kalamazoo flattops. 

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1 hour ago, zombywoof said:

 

Not sure what guitar you are referring to although based on what popped up I assume you mean a KG12 Oriole.  If so, I agree these are the best of the Kalamazoo flattops. 

Yes, 'was on the mobile at the time... but:

f4HhY6y.png?1

Figured maple back & sides, ladder. $15 when new.  Blasphemy, for sure, but one of these in cross-braced form would be very interesting, too.

And other Gibson bird lovers got shorted on some potentially cool headstock art:

9uc7Skz.png?1

Edited by 62burst
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