Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1949 Kalamazoo KG1

An incredibly rare guitar, the KG1 saw a production total of only two batches in the spring of 1949. Gibson built Kalamazoo-branded instruments in large numbers from the mid 1930’s until the start of WWII, but the line was by and large discontinued by 1942. With the exception of a handful of KG1s built in ’49, Kalamazoo flat tops don’t exist from the post war period.

Needless to say, as Gibson historians we were really excited to find this guitar. It’s built much like a Banner LG1 with its mahogany top, but has a lacquered mahogany bridge, and late 40’s neck carve with 1-11/16” nut width. The headstock features rounded sides, like all of Gibson’s post 1942 production, but with the familiar rooftop Kalamazoo look and silkscreened logo.

The guitar is in great shape and plays very easily, with set-up done here at Folkway. There are a few very tight hairline cracks on the back that have been glued, but no top cracks. The guitar’s finish is completely original and unaltered and shows the dings and dents of some 70 years of life. Frets are worn but play surprisingly clean in all neck positions, and the original nut has never been off the guitar. Original saddle is low, but the guitar’s action is also quite low (4-5 64ths); some players will opt for us to make a taller saddle for action to accommodate a heavy right hand attack. The tuners are 1930’s Waverlys and not original to the guitar.

A real fun guitar to play, the KG1 has all the mid-range presence you’d expect from a ladder-braced guitar, and lots of vintage openness. It’s all about single-note playing rather than strumming, and it does lead guitar, fingerstyle ragtime, and vintage blues really well.

With hardshell case

Shipping into the USA?

Sending this guitar to a US address is easy to do, and there are no 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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