1941 Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-21 Archtop Guitar




This is owned by the same fellow who owns the KM-21 mandolin in the last post. I've worked on a lot of KG-21s like this guy, but this one was the first one to arrive in "train-wreck" condition. I do like these guitars a lot, though -- they're L-00 in size and shape so they're extremely comfortable in the lap. Their tone is actually just as warm and chunky as their larger 16" Kalamazoo archtop brethren, too, thanks to a deeper side depth than the average Gibson-made archtop.

My favorite versions of these are the ones from about this date, too, because the late-'30s and early-'40s models sport the more "medium-round-C" neck profiles found on '40s and '50s Gibsons than the big, harder-V shapes found on most Kalamazoo products. Bracing on these pressed-top Kalamazoo models is interesting because they're heavily x-braced with a ladder brace through the middle of the main X. Despite looking like it would sound like garbage, this bracing pattern gives these guitars that reliable lower-mids-emphasis, choppy grunt that many carved-top archtops dream of.

Work included: a fret level/dress, sorting-out absurdly-split and shifted (we're talking more than 1" overlaps and out-of-position, worn-edges cracks) side and back cracks, bracing repairs (re-repairs considering the damage inside), one crack repair to the top, cleaning, and a good setup. Despite having to epoxy the lower arms of the main x-bracing in place (trust me, I avoided this like the plague), and allowing the major crack repairs to be "good enough," the guitar turned-out an awesome player, so I can't complain too much!

Setup: action is spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. The neck is straight and the frets still have decent height left to them, though they are the original, slim, low old Gibson frets.

Scale length: 24 13/16"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/16"
Body length: 19 1/4"
Lower bout width: 14 3/4"
Waist width: 8 1/4"
Upper bout width: 10 1/8"
Side depth at endpin: 4 3/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Bracing type: x-braced plus ladder-brace in middle ("star" braced?)
Fretboard: rosewood, pearl dots
Bridge: rosewood, adjustable, Gibson stairstep style
Neck feel: medium-bigger C-shape, ~10-12" board radius

Condition notes: lots of bad, ugly, not-quite-matched-up cracks on the sides (plus at the endblock) and on the back. From the front she looks good, though! Everything on the guitar is original save for a new endpin/strap button plus heel strap button. The tuner buttons and one tuner shaft are replacements, as well, and I added side dots. The finish shows plenty of wear and tear but still looks nice. There's a lot of pickwear near the fretboard extension on the top.

















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