3/17/2018

1937 Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-14 Flattop Guitar




A potential customer asked me if I had any KG-14s for sale after my last spread of KG-11s. I said, "No, I don't think so, sorry." Ten minutes passed and then I dug-around in the repair racks. Indeed there was a KG-14 among all the Gibsons needing fuss and worry. I emailed him right back about this one.

This is a fairly-clean example of one of these, save a repaired hairline crack on the back and a shaved-down bridge. It also has a pretty, figured, mahogany neck that's astoundingly straight under tension for a KG -- enough-so that I OKed it for a set of 54w-12 strings. It's holding firm with them on. Usually I spec these at 52w-11 maximum because one doesn't want to bother the unreinforced necks too much, so it's nice to be able to drive this one a bit more.

Work included a neck reset, fret level/dress, new saddle, crack repair to the hairline on the back and a tiny puncture/dime-sized split in the top-lower-bout (hard to see), reprofiling and cleaning-up of the shaved-down bridge, bridge pin hole fill/redrill, and some reglue jobs to the ends of back braces. It plays perfectly with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret.

Specs are normal for a KG-14 with a 24 3/4" scale, 14 3/4" lower bout and 10 1/4" upper bout, and 4 3/8" depth. The nut is 1 3/4" and the string spacing at the nut is 1 1/2" and 2 7/16" at the bridge. The fretboard has a 12" radius to it and it has a medium, soft-V back profile to the neck. It's more along the lines of a standard Gibson neck from the time compared to the slightly-bulkier "normal" Kalamazoo shape.


Materials are normal, too, with a solid spruce (ladder-braced) top, solid mahogany back, sides, and neck, and rosewood fretboard and bridge. The nut is ebony and the saddle is bone. The bridge pins are original but the endpin is a newer replacement.

There's average use-wear throughout but it's fairly clean for an old KG-14. There's a little bit of a buffed-up area (sans-weather-checking) on the upper-bout-treble-side top, but it's not obvious.



The board has pearl dots and, as usual, I added side dots.



The simple rosette against the firestripe pickguard always looks good on these.


I'm pretty sure this is the wood of the original bridge. It's been reglued in the past and shaved-down. In addition someone converted the slot-through saddle slot into a drop-in one. I do that a lot, too, but this one came that way. I added string ramps and the new, compensated saddle.



In this detail shot of the top, you can see a dime-sized area where there was a tiny push-up/split-crack. It's been reglued and is a non-issue.





On the back of the neck you can see some nice figured mahogany. It's a lot easier to see in person.


Here's a detail shot of the center of the back, showing the 6" or so hairline (repaired) crack.






Here's one of the cleats/strips I added for reinforcement of that back crack.

1 comment:

Robert Gardner said...

Jake, you know I love these little guys because you sold me one. Light as a feather, they ring like silver and shine like gold... This is a very pretty one. A great fingerpicking guitar and way louder than they have any right to be, punching considerably above their weight IMHO. Tasty...