NGD 1935 Gibsoid Kalamazoo KG-11

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by Sam Sherry, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]

    Gibson's late-30s Kalamazoo line offered budget versions of its entry-level guitars. The sole exception -- the one "Kalamazoo Exclusive" -- was the KG-11. It's a mini-dreadnaught, 14 3/4" at the bottom bout which means it's about the same total size as a Martin 00. As with all 'zoos there is no truss rod in the neck. Unlike Gibson (and Martin) flat-tops the Kalamazoos are ladder-braced. What's that mean?

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    It means they look great. 'fess up, don't you like that look?

    It means they're about as light as guitars get. This guy was 3.4 pounds on the bathroom scale. And it means it's easy to handle -- I'm just not built for regular dreadnaughts.

    It means the necks go past "chunky" to "really big." Close to one full inch deep at the nut with a vintage V (of course).

    It means they deliver the sound. A/Bed against a modern solid wood dreadnaught, the KZoo stays in the same ballpark volume-wise until you get down to the low E string. In short, some of the boom but ALL of the chang!

    It's a bold sound, too: Full and balanced (except the lowest notes) with a speedy voice. It's good for plenty more than 'just blues.' Jobim comes right out the soundhole if you operate it that way.

    This particular guitar bears the stenciled autograph of Carson J. Robison, old-time Western balladeer. Gibson built these for sale by Montgomery Ward. It originally cost about eight bucks out the door.

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    It is a joy to have a guitar that's as old as my dad again. It's been a long time. Back to it!
     
  2. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    Not technically a Kalamazoo, but practically the same guitar regardless of the name on the headstock. This one was Ward's model 926, catalogued 1934-5:

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  3. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    I love these - I think they look great and when they're in good condition they sound fantastic. I sold one for a customer last year, fantastic sounding thing.

    Gibson actually designed the body for a budget model archtop that featured the KG11 body with a carved top - the model was not a success and was quickly upgraded initially to the L00 style, then to the more common 16" body, whilst the stumpy little original was recycled info the KG11. One of the coolest Gibsons of that era is the L-75 Century, which combined the KG11 body with a carved top and the Century pearloid cosmetics.
     
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  4. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Yup, these are great. Played a nice one the other day.
     
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  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Supporting Member

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    Only on TGP can we find definitive proof that the Ward models sold with white pegs and end-pin. Thank you very much maestro!
     
  6. Timmo

    Timmo Member

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    When done right....rebraced,reset neck etc. these are wonderful guitars.
    We call them "Waterloo killers" for less money even....;)
     
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  7. jwguitar

    jwguitar Member

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    That is a beautiful looking guitar. Everything about it in my mind is right.
     
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  8. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Supporting Member

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    That's very gracious of you to say. It's a tremendous feeling when the gear works out!

    The string height is tall but the sound is worth the effort. And I'm the kind of wonk who just digs looking at guitars, too. What a tale . . . 83 years of music!
     
  9. jwguitar

    jwguitar Member

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    83 years is a long time for a guitar to be in active use! Im sure it sounds fabulous.
     
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  10. telelion

    telelion Member

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    I find it amazing that the promotion for a 1936 Montgomery Wards guitar is touting Honduras mahogany, selected spruce top, Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, etc. Years ago, perhaps late 70's, I had a large hard cover book on Guitars, I think by Gruhn(though very possibly wrong author) and they listed in their descriptions of Strats and Teles that they were made from solid wood. That was it. This is a very informative advertisement which was not all that common in the history of guitars not to mention a very cool guitar. Nice find Noah. And of course Sam.
     
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  11. datguytim

    datguytim Supporting Member

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    LOVE those old '30s & '40s Kalamazoo Acoustics!!!!!!!! I've played a few & they definitely have the vibe, feel, and sound that is timeless. Cool score, OP!
     
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  12. morgan918

    morgan918 Member

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    That's really beautiful, congrats.
     
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  13. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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    I dig it. That looks like a guitar Marc Ribot would also like.
     
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  14. ballynally

    ballynally Member

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    I have a k14.its great for solos and it kills in a session.lofi but cuts through.after years of experimenting with strings, setup i now use it as a slide guitar in open tuning.for that it's ideal.the v shape doesnt bother me. Higher action, monel strings and it zooms forever.
     
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