1935 Kalamazoo KM-11 (Gibson-made) Flatback Mandolin

This lovable old rogue of a KM-11 was a trade-in. It's got a ton of character in part due to the two holes in the top on the "lower bout" but also just because it's so scratched-up and played-in. Someone had electrified it at one point, too, screwing a pickup into the soundhole. The now-worn-in holes in the top are, presumably, from a failed attempt to add tone and volume controls to it (from one of those old DeArmond pickup "pods" or the like).

Post-repairs, though, this thing dishes it out in volume and playability and is ready for its next job.

Its factory order number is not obvious for a date pin-down, but judging by the small sunburst on the top and the general features, my best guess is 1935 rather than the '34 it could also be.

These KM-11s are like a "better" version of the old Gibson Alrite and Army-Navy mandolins, being a flat "pancake"-style body shape but with more depth, a more intricate ladder-ish bracing scheme, and more volume overall. They hold-up better over time, too, and share the A-style Gibson "pear" body shape as well. It's hard not to like that!

I think that, tonally, they make a great old-time, Celtic, or rootsy "Americana" instrument. They're not as punchy in the mids as a comparable carved-top or archtop instrument but they make up for it in more sweetness and roundness.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, replacement rosewood compensated bridge, hairline crack repairs to the back, minor drilling hole patches top/back, general cleaning, and setup.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: ladder (modified)

Bridge: rosewood (new, compensated)

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 32w-9 currently, would be happy with 10s (lights) as well

Neck shape: medium V

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small

Scale length: 13 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/8"

Body width: 10 1/8"

Body depth: 2 1/8"

Weight: 1 lb 10 oz

Condition notes: as noted, it's a bit beat-up. There's a repaired hairline crack on the back. There are also several small patched holes (top and back near soundhole, one on the side near the tailpiece). There are two open holes on the top and a short hairline crack extending from one, but this is all shored-up and will pose no problem. I left them because they're kind-of cute. The original tailpiece cover is missing. I replaced the missing original bridge with a new, rosewood, compensated one I made for it. There are cleats inside for the crack repairs. There are tons of scratches and pickwear all over the body. There's a triangular section of blemmed finish on the headstock -- presumably from the fact that there's a triangular reinforcement wedge of maple in that area from the original factory build. The finish must've gotten funky on that one area due to the different wood choice. I see it from time to time. The tuners are not the best but they work just fine. The fretboard extension also dips down slightly from the rest of the board, so playing beyond the 14th fret starts to feel a hair more tense than in the positions up to that point.

It comes with: sorry, no case.