Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1930 Kel Kroydon KK2 Birds of Paradise

FON 9644. We have long sourced the finest sounding vintage Gibson flat tops for this website. We've played, restored, measured, and studied more early 1930's flat-tops than we can remember, and we've always had a thing for those very special Gibsons branded Kel Kroydon -- guitars built only from very late 1929 into 1932.

The Kel Kroydons are among the most lightly built Gibsons ever made, but they are not all the same. Much like how Martin's OMs evolved in the same period, the Kel Kroydons (and the similar L1 and L2 models) became more robustly constructed over those three years of production. Braces became heavier, bridgeplates doubled in thickness, and fingerboards varied by as much as 50% of their thickness. And because the Kel Kroydons were built without neck support, those with thin fingerboards can develop excessive neck relief and suffer from poor playability and tone.

Enter this KK2, built early in 1930. Beyond the super-rare factory 'birds of paradise' paint, this example features the super-thin bridgeplate (measuring just about .040" -- or about 40% as thick as a mid 1930's plate), as well as a full-thickness fingerboard. The guitar has held together gloriously, with an excellent neck angle, perfect neck relief and original fretwork, full height original bridge, and no cracks. The top has avoided the collapse we often see around the soundhole in Gibson 12 fretters built the early 1930's, and the instrument is structurally in top shape. Apart from a few cleanly repaired back braces the guitar is without issues of any kind.

And, thanks to all of that, it's an exceptional sounding guitar -- really one of the best we've ever played. The guitar has focus, clarity, warmth, overtones, and resonance. It's woody and cavernous without being too woody or cavernous; and it has more headroom than most superlight guitars have to offer. We have it strung with 11-50's which pull all the tone out of the guitar without over-torqueing the top.

Its neck is rounded and immensely comfortable, features a full depth, 1-3/4" nut width and a beautifully worn finish. The guitar's bridge is full height, the saddle nearly so, and the action set at 5-6 64ths.

Original throughout, including finish, neck set, tuners, nut and saddle, this instrument is not wanting for anything. We're very pleased to offer it here.

With hardshell case

Shipping into the USA?

Sending this guitar to a US address is easy to do, and there are no import fees, taxes, or duties to pay when it arrives. We take care of everything involved in shipping -- all you have to do unpackage the instrument when it arrives and play!

Questions? Email us anytime, or call us toll-free at 1-855-772-0424.


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