1934 Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-11 Flattop Guitar (Lefty-ized)

At first glance, this guitar appears to be pretty special -- an early, "small sunburst" KG-11 with no cracks. Then you notice that it's a lefty! That last bit was my doing (per the customer's request), but that has to make this one of a very small pool of lefty Kalamazoo guitars.

I think I've stated my own preference for KG-11s (vs. KG-14s which are suited to a T for hard-playing, metal-fingerpicks fingerpickers), as they're a sweeter, warmer-sounding version of the Kalamazoo ladder-braced sound. You lose a little volume and punch compared to a KG-14, but they are better-suited to bare fingers or thinner flatpicks. It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges, though.

Despite the clean looks of this guitar, it required a lot of work. It got a neck reset, a bridge reglue and modification to lefty stringing, a board plane and refret (with standard "medium" modern wire), a couple brace reglues, and finally a good setup. It's all-original, too, save a replacement endpin and the new frets. I re-used the original bone saddle despite its new "drop-in" format. Action is spot-on at 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble and it's strung with 50w-11 strings. The fretboard has a tight, 10" radius and the neck's soft-V profile tapers from mild-medium to a definite medium thickness around the 9th fret.

It's a handsome guitar, isn't it? The lower bout is 14 3/4" and it has a 4" depth.

The original ebony nut is going strong. Note how the headstock face has a very, very light "sunburst" effect to the finish.

The Brazilian rosewood fretboard is even more stunning after a plane-and-buff job before the refret. This guitar had some pretty hefty warp to it, so it was not going to be a healthy player until said job was done. The new medium frets are about as wide as the old ones, but a fair bit taller.

The "checker" rosette looks great. There are four tiny filled holes on the "righty pickguard" side of the soundhole, as there was a screwed-on pickguard (retrofit, I'm assuming) on it when it came in.

I wanted to save the original, flaking, black-painted finish on this bridge, but I needed to recut the top of it to better-suit the lefty configuration. Most Kalamazoo bridges were wedged pretty steep on the bass (now treble) side, so shim-up/down height adjustments for the saddle would have been minimal if I'd left it alone.

The pinholes got a fill/redrill and I also added string ramps for better back-angle on the saddle. The saddle is the original but recut for the new, drop-in saddle slot and also compensated.

While the top is solid spruce, the back, sides, and neck are gorgeous solid mahogany.

An original case came with it.


Nick R said…
In its striking simplicity this guitar is a truly handsome instrument- a genuine natural beauty.