Kalamazoo KG-14 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1937

Kalamazoo  KG-14 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1937

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Item # 7814
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Kalamazoo KG-14 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1937, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black chipboard case.

The Kalamazoo KG-14 flat-top was Gibson's highest grade "budget" flat-top guitar for the Depression era; a good-sounding and playing solid wood flat-top at an affordable price. They tend to have a fairly bright but well-balanced sound with a slightly bluesy edge, and have long been particularly popular with fingerstyle players. The KG-14 was the larger of the Kalamazoo flat-tops; the 14 3/4" wide body is the same pattern as used Gibson's L-00, but the spruce top is ladder-braced and the mahogany neck has no adjustable truss rod.

The one-piece mahogany neck on this example has a fairly sharp "V" style, typical of the mid-1930s. The spruce top is finished in a dark sunburst with white celluloid binding and a small "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard, while the back is unbound. The Factory Order Number on the neck block has faded to illegibility, but the features suggest a build date of 1937, give or take a bit.

These less expensive Kalamazoo guitars were good sellers when new and a major factor in Gibson's survival during the worst years of the great Depression. They were phased out shortly after the US entered WWII and the company turned primarily to war work. In the decades since, these Kalamazoos have become prized as a great no-nonsense guitar, still offering considerable value for the price.
 
Overall length is 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm.), 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar has a lot of superficial cosmetic wear -- checking, small dings, dents, and scratches mostly -- but is an excellent playing and sounding example. It has had the neck reset, a lovely refret with period correct wire and new bone saddle, but is otherwise all original. The back of the "V" profile neck has some fairly deep capo gouges along the spine, but otherwise feels nicely worn-in. There are a couple of sealed grain cracks to the back, but otherwise it is crack-free. There is a decent amount of wear to the unbound back edge.

This well-played guitar feels like an unusually lightly built example and has a big powerful sound, with a more open ring than many KGs. The original tuners are still intact and working, and the finish is all original with no overspray or touch-up. While not the cleanest, this one rates as one of the best-sounding and playing KGs we have had; fun to play with a great Depression-era vibe. Very Good + Condition.