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1950 Gibson Archtop Vintage 16” Carved Top Blonde w/ Zipper Binding & Case, Kalamazoo KG-32


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Up for sale, a circa 1950 Gibson archtop in excellent condition, finished in Blonde gloss nitro lacquer and complete with a vintage Gibson hardshell case. An unusual Gibson model, this archtop can trace its lineage to Gibson's 1930s Depression Era archtops produced under the Kalamazoo brand, among others. Most closely aligning with the top-tier KG-32 model (and also Gibson's "Francis, Day & Hunter" model made for British export), this archtop features premium appointments including zipper binding, a bound firestripe tortoise pickguard, and a heavily figured birdseye and curly maple back.

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, clear and detailed, this Gibson has a lively, bouncy quality with plenty of midrange chop. The trebles are punchy and sparkling, and the bass register has excellent definition and headroom. The guitar weighs 4lbs 6oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with bronze 12-54 strings and easy-playing action.

The mahogany neck has a substantial C-shaped profile carve almost verging on a very soft boat neck V, with ample shoulder and heft in every register, measuring .915" deep at the 1st fret and 1.020" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard retains the original slender “banjo” frets which still have a surprising amount of meat, showing only faint wear on the crowns beneath the plain strings on frets 1-3. The neck is straight, and the guitar plays cleanly in every register up the 24 3/4" scale. The nut measures 1 11/16" in width, and the headstock features the original Gibson logo of a style first used in 1947. Matching the Kalamazoo KG-32, the neck has a non-adjustable rod, and a couple screws for a truss rod cover have ostensibly been added to the headstock face. The set of Kluson Deluxe "no line" tuning machines are the early variety without the inside tuner post hole, and these tuners function as intended with modern white buttons. There is some modest finish chipping and cloudiness in the lacquer on the headstock edges.

The vintage, presumably original Brazilian rosewood bridge has a small amount of room for adjustment at the thumbwheels, and the neck has been reset in the guitar's lifetime, with action that is notably low and easy-playing in every register. The nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece and bound firestripe tortoise pickguard round out the appointments. There is no Factory Order Number visible inside the body.

The original Blonde gloss nitro lacquer finish highlights a deeply figured arched maple back, featuring both birdseye and curly flame figuring. The maple rims are more subtly figured. There is one unsightly scratch on the upper bout on the back, and one very slight, repaired split on the bass-side rim adjacent to the neck heel. Cosmetic wear otherwise includes strum wear across the pick path, light lacquer checking on the body as a whole, and some various small nicks and scuffs consistent with careful use. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss with just a few minor marks.

A vintage Gibson hardshell case from the 1970s is included, slightly oversized for the instrument, yet providing a handy tote with functional latches and a replacement leather handle.