5/17/2018

1935 Gibson-made Cromwell G-6+ Carved-Top Archtop Guitar




While this specs-out like a Gibson-made Cromwell G-6 (which is usually a G-4 with a bound pickguard and perhaps a binding upgrade), this guitar has a carved solid top with two-tonebar bracing like the "real" Gibson archtops (L-48s and L-50s) rather than an "Arco-arched" (pressed-in-a-mold with a strange tonebar/half-fan-braced) top which most Kalamazoo-style (Cromwells included) archtops have. That's why I've listed it as a "G-6+" rather than a straight G-6.

In short: that carved top makes this thing a lot punchier and with a more articulate/balanced and gutsier tone overall. It sounds (and is built) just as good as any period 16" Gibson carved-top that I've played -- with the warm lower-mids and velvety chordal vibe you'd expect but also with some nice bite and clarity in the upper-mids and treble that is often lacking on the pressed-top Gibsons. It's just dang loud, too.

Work included a fret level/dress, much cleaning, compensation for the B/E strings at the saddle, replacement (period) tuners install, and a good setup. It's wearing 54w-12 strings, the neck is straight, and it plays effortlessly. The factory order number is very faint but seems to be 54A-10 which means 1935 dating which is early for a Cromwell. That would make sense as this lacks the Cromwell-style stripe down the center of the fretboard -- though it does gain the Cromwell logo in inlaid pearl in the headstock. That beats a stencil!

Specs are: 24 7/8" scale length, 1 3/4" nut width, 1 9/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/8" spacing at the bridge, 16" lower bout width, 11 3/8" upper bout, and 3 1/4" side depth. The neck has a medium, soft-V shape and the board has a ~12" radius and its original, smallish Gibson frets. Action is spot-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret with room for adjustment up/down at the saddle. The top is solid, carved spruce while the back is press-arched solid mahogany and the sides and neck are solid mahogany as well. The fretboard and bridge are rosewood and the nut is bone. The guitar is 100% original except for the period, replacement tuners from my parts-bins.

Condition issues include: weather-check to the finish, some light scuffs and scratches throughout, and what look like hairline cracks on the center-seam area both on the back right near the endblock and on the top under the tailpiece. Neither show-up inside the body and both were filled/sealed before I got my hands on it. There's also one tiny hairline at the bass-waist-top but it's entirely over kerfing and so cleated-up de-facto, anyhow. The fretboard extension also slopes just a tiny hair down over the body from the rest of the board -- which is par for the course when it comes to Gibson archtops. They mostly seem to have been built that way.




The board has pearl dot inlay and there are original side dots.


The bound tortoise pickguard looks awesome and the multi-ply binding on the top/back is a nice touch, too.










That strap button at the heel isn't original -- though it is very practical.






3 comments:

C Martin said...

Always love to Google Street addresses like this. It's a boarded up Army Surplus Store now but in it's day I imagine you could see Cromwell and Kalamazoo archies hanging on the wall inside....

Nicholas Ratnieks said...

I have seen 1930s Grossman ads and bits of catalogs on the web. However, here's a film of the 1968 issue- 25 minutes of it! Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KtEHJVx5fQ

Alexander Robinson said...

Very similar to my Recording King M 5 that you worked on Jake. A Lovely Guitar with a bit more Bling, but I think a very similar sound. Quite a Good Thing at that Price Point, I reckon.