1935 Cromwell G-4 (Gibson Kalamazoo KG-32) Archtop Guitar

Two 1935 Cromwell G-4 models in two weeks? How about that?

Unlike the other, slightly-earlier one, this one has the classic "Cromwell stripe" down the center of the fretboard. It's a classy look, especially with the oversize pearl dots running down the center along with it. This one's also a fair-bit more beat-up in the finish and missing its pickguard, though it does still have the nice Gibson-style (higher spec than the normal Kalamazoo version) tailpiece.

Oh -- right -- what is this? It's a Gibson-made instrument and almost identical to a Kalamazoo KG-32 model archtop save minor trim changes. It's solid spruce over solid mahogany in the body and the top is quite thin and press-arched into shape rather than carved like an L-48 or L-50 from the same time (which it resembles). The bracing style is a hybrid of fan and tonebar styles. Despite that, these sound fantastic and are many-steps removed from other press-arched competition. They have a strong lows and lower-mids compared to something like a Regal, Harmony, or Kay interpretation and are more velvety and woody-sounding.

In many ways I prefer the sound of these Kalamazoo-style archtops for comp and chord-chopping to Gibson's carved-top guitars. The carved-tops edge them out for lead and melody work, though, as you can dig into them harder and get a saucier voice on the GB&E strings. When you dig-in on these the top gets a little more "gypsy jazz" in flavor.

This guy needed a neck reset, fret level/dress, and setup-side work to get it going and all that's been done and it plays spot-on and fast. It has a bigger neck, just like the other Kalamazoo-style guitars from the time, so that's something to think about. The frets are also narrow and low (that's old Gibson stock for you) so if you like bigger frets, consider getting a refret. The tuners are period but mismatched slightly and the bass-side ones actually turn in reverse to wrap the posts correctly. Oh well! Quirks. They do hold pitch just fine, though, but certainly StewMac repros would be a nice upgrade if you're planning to use this as a stage instrument.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, setup work.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: tonebar/fan hybrid

Bridge: rosewood adjustable

Fretboard: rosewood with stripe

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 54w-12 lights

Neck shape: medium-big C/soft V

Board radius: ~10"

Truss rod: n/a

Neck relief: essentially straight (only a teensy hair of relief)

Fret style: low/smaller

Scale length: 24 3/4"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 16 1/8"

Body depth: 3 1/4" + arching

Weight: 3 lbs 15 oz

Condition notes: the tuners are period but mismatched and the bass-side tuners turn backwards from normal. There's a ton of scratches, dings, weather-check, and wear and tear to the finish all over the guitar. The pickguard is missing, too, but all of the other original hardware (save tuners) is extant. While the top and sides are crack-free, the back has 3 very small and tight hairline cracks that have been sealed/filled in the past. They're no worry and are not easy to photograph at all.