1941 Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-32 Archtop Guitar

Despite being built just before World War II, this KG-32 looks like it's been through it. Its factory order number suggests it was built in 1941 and in that year it meant the build features a solid spruce top, solid flamed maple sides, and a ply-flamed-maple back. It has the curious "boxed-x-bracing" that most of the pressed-top Kalamazoo archtops have, too.

This one's in for consignment and it was a tragic basket-case when it arrived -- big open cracks on the top, much loose bracing, a back that'd been reglued helter-skelter with epoxy and spray-foam and was missing almost all its binding, frets worn down right to the tang from playwear (note the heavy pickwear on the upper bout), and missing bridge, tailpiece, tuners, and nut. Oh, and the pickguard had/has patches of celluloid rot, too.

Work was pretty intense but on the other side of it, this box is now magic and plays beautifully. While I had the back off to address all the interior problems, I shaved the braces a bit and as a result this is one of the louder Gibson-made archtops I've had the pleasure of playing. It's snappy, up-front, bitey, and fuller-sounding on the low-end than normal. The top-end sounds a bit more like an Epiphone carved-top, now, too -- much more aggressive and punchy.

Repairs included: reglue of most top bracing, light brace shaving, tons of hairline repair cracks to a bunch of top cracks (all cleated their entire lengths), kerfing replacement on the back edge, back reglue, replacement binding (cream) for the back, hairline crack repair to the sides at the waist, a refret with wide/pyramid-shaped wire, new rosewood adjustable bridge, replacement '60s-era tailpiece, replacement tuners (StewMac relic'd repro tuners), a new bone nut, reinforcement/repair of the celluloid-rotted pickguard (it's now backed with fresh pickguard material and the small patches of rot are stabilized), general cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, the frets are fresh and boutique-feeling, and action is bang-on fast at 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble, with adjustment room up/down to taste. Strings are 54w-12 gauge lights. I wouldn't go heavier on it, mind you. These have fairly thin tops and now the bracing's a little lighter than it was.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 16"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 11 3/8"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back wood: ply flamed maple
Sides wood: solid flamed maple
Bracing type: boxed "x" pattern
Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, bone nut
Bridge: rosewood, adjustable
Neck feel: big V-shape, ~10-12 compound" radius board

Condition notes: hah, it's totally beat. Fortunately, all the finish is original despite that. There's a ton of pickwear and usewear everywhere with scratches and little nicks and dings all over as well. Old repairs left some wear along the back edges, too, and there's minor amounts of fill that was necessary to stabilize old, dried-up repairs or mismatched seams from prior work. It all blends, though. The back binding is new and the frets, bridge, tailpiece, tuners, and nut are all replacements. I've fit a strap button in lieu of an endpin and added one at the heel, too. It's ready to roll.