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Old 03-08-2018, 01:07 PM
waldrgd waldrgd is offline
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Default 30's Kalamazoo and Gibson Comparison

Compare the two for me if they were the same model. Did Gibson own Kalamazoo then? Were the woods the same? Construction the same? What was the nut width on these age guitars? Specifically looking at a HG-12 Kalamazoo but just trying to find out general info? What woods were the HG-12? Thanks
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:36 PM
downtime downtime is offline
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Not an expert but to my knowledge the Kalamazoo guitars were built by Gibson and were a less expensive option.
As a cost saving measure the Kalamazoo guitars were ladder braced while their Gibson counterparts were x-braced.
The Kalamazoo's also often did not have body binding or top only binding.
The Kalamazoo's I've played or owned all had 1 3/4" nut width with large v shape necks and no truss rod.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:50 PM
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Jim Owen Jim Owen is offline
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Hi Walddrgd,
Yes, Gibson made that guitar. The top is spruce, perhaps 4 pieces (that was a way to cut costs by using left overs). The back and sides were mahogany. Chances are, there’s no adjustable truss rod (though my old luthier reported finding a couple of Kalamazoos that had adjustable rods hidden beneath the headstock veneer.

These guitars were ladder braced—think Gibson’s LG1 for comparison. It won’t sound the same as its x braced cousins.

The 12s were oddly shaped. The 14 is much like an LG shape.

Here’s a funny omission—the 14 I played for a few years had no dots on the side of the fret board. I never noticed until my brother asked me how I kept track of where I was on the board.

Once he pointed that out, suddenly I’d get lost above the 7th fret. Liquid paper solved that for me.

The neck was thick. I reckon the nut was 1 3/4.

I have played a few Kalamazoos. None has been remarkable, but most have been good. I sold mine because somebody offered me twice what I’d paid for it, and I wasn’t playing it as much as my other guitars.
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:06 PM
waldrgd waldrgd is offline
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Default cost

What should one expect to pay for a KG-12 that had several cracks and needed a neck reset?
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:44 PM
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Hi Waldrgd,
I’m not sure I’d pay a lot. Check Reverb—I see some over 1500; I have to think some one’s dreaming. I saw a 14 at around 1200 a few years back, and it didn’t need a reset.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:57 AM
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Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
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Gibson made those Kalamazoo guitars as an inexpensive way to own a guitar. The ones that are worth a bit more were made during WWII, which have "Only A Gibson Is Good Enough" written across the headstock.

This is a very interesting read:

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Old 03-09-2018, 06:34 AM
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Waldrgd,
I’d look at a Waterloo or a Farida if I were trying to get that dry, 30s sound. If the KG you’re eying needs a neck reset, it could need a refret, too—and that could drive your sunk cost up above what a KG is worth.

There are modern, less spendy options.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:17 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is online now
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Gibson built out a bunch of Depression-era guitars that were identical to the Kalamazoos - Grinnels, Cromwells, Capitals and such. I own a 1935 Capital which was made exclusively for Jenkins Music. It is identical to a Kalamazoo other than the name on the headstock.

JTs books is a fantastic read. He comes at it as an historian and places the Kalamzoo Gals into a context which is something you seem to rarely get with books on guitars. But it only deals with the Banners so will not help you with the off brands. There is an interesting book by Paul Fox called "The Other Brands of Gibson" or something close to it. He also maintains a website, or at least used to, with a lot of information. Also Joe Spann's Guide to Gibsons is a great resource for any guitar Gibson built prior to WWII.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:54 AM
Nctom Nctom is offline
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I had a Kalamazoo a few years ago, sold it and have missed it ever since. It was tremendously light and played great. I have been looking for another for a long time, but the ones I've tried have had many problems and been too expensive.

I finally bought a Waterloo, sort of expensive but trouble free. It is wonderfully light, and plays and sounds fantastic. It is like having my vintage cake and eating it too.
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