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1937 Recording King M-4 1123 Gibson-Made Pre-War Carved Top Archtop, 100% Original w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1937 Recording King M-4 in exceptional, 100% original condition, complete with the original hardshell case. Crafted at Gibson's Kalamazoo, Michigan factory for Montgomery Ward, the Recording King brand (and a host of others) were utilized by Gibson to produce finely crafted instruments to keep the company solvent during the lean Pre-War years.

The M-4 was a premium Recording King offering, originally catalogued as the model 1123, with appointments including zipper binding, a bound tortoise pickguard, and pearl shell inlay on the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Tonewoods include a carved spruce top, figured maple back and rims, and a mahogany neck, with a 16" lower bout width and 24 3/4" scale length. Bright, crisp and incredibly detailed, this M-4 has ideal bloom and midrange chop with exquisite projection. Extremely responsive to picking dynamics, the trebles are both sparkling and the bass register offers a focused, present response. The guitar weighs 4lbs 15oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with bronze 12-54 strings and comfortable action.

The mahogany neck has a substantial V-shaped profile carve, measuring .985" deep at the 1st fret and 1.105" at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has rare zipper binding, and the original slender frets show wear most prominently beneath the B and High E strings on frets 1-6, with wear growing fainter until fret 8. The neck is straight, and the guitar plays cleanly in every register. The carved bone nut measures a full 1 3/4" in width, and the bound headstock has pearl inlay and open-gear Grover tuners which turn smoothly and hold pitch well.

The Brazilian rosewood bridge and original nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece are intact, and the Cremona Sunburst finish on top is framed by zipper binding. The original tortoise pickguard is also bound. The B-suffix Factory Order Number is visible through the F hole.

The maple rims have a unique lateral Sunburst finish, and the back and treble side rim have particularly dimensional flame figuring too. Extremely well-kept, this M-4 exhibits signs of light, careful use, with lacquer checking across the body, pick wear on the bass-side of the body, and some minor dings and scuffs. The neck profile retains its smooth nitro gloss finish, with some small dings central to the V behind frets 1-6 that have no impact on playability.

The original hardshell case with black pebble exterior and purple interior is included. The case retains its original leather handle and functional latches.