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Old 10-14-2020, 08:16 AM
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Location: Blanchardville, Wisconsin
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Default Very Likely a Recording King M-3

Originally Posted by Aidanunited View Post
HI all,
I have recently bought my first Archtop and love it but even after loads of research cannot nail the exact model.
I am hoping with the vast knowledge on here if you have time some might be able to help?
I believe (Maybe wrongly ) that its one of the Gibson 1930s budget range , the stripe up the fret board makes me think its a Cromwell but the head stock has no name engraved just tortoiseshell patterns. It also looks a lot like the Recorder king bar the neck.

I believe what you have is, indeed, a 1930's era, Gibson made, Montgomery Wards marketed, British imported, Recording King model M-3. The shape of the headstock, the tailpiece, the beautiful bound pickguard, the pattern of the "F" holes, the maple neck and the sunburst finish all indicate that this is indeed a pre-war Gibson made, Recording king.

I have attached a photo of a similar, 1930's pre-war era, Recording King model M-3 I purchased about six Months ago, that is in exceptionally good to excellent condition, with a classic, clear archtop tone and lots of sustain.

I do love that Cromwell fretboard though. As I understand the history, these fancy "Cromwell" fret boards, with the over-sized dot inlays and the center skunk stripe, were only made for the British import market. I found a Kalamazoo KG-31 with a fretboard that has the large dot inlays but no skunk stripe, so I guess Gibson was just using up old parts on this one.

Nevertheless, I would only disagree on one thing, the Recording King instruments were not "budget" models. The quality of construction and the quality of the tone woods used were all "Top Notch" for this model and series. All solid woods were used, including carved spruce tops, carved solid maple backs and sides, with soft V profiled maple necks and no truss rod. My understanding of this market is that it was the "Cromwell" (KG-31/32 Gibson) that was the more budget minded model, and used mostly pressed spruce tops and pressed mahogany backs and necks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1930s Recording King M-3.jpg (28.1 KB, 92 views)

Last edited by Kerbie; 10-14-2020 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Fixed quote
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