Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

  1. #1
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Just picked up one as a beater. While looking around inside, discovered fabric reinforcing around the f holes.

    Someplace on this site is a photo of the inside of a KM-21. Can someone please post the link or copy the image? Can't find it and am wondering if this was original?

    Also, has anyone explained why Gibson went for big F holes and x bracing on these? Seems like more work than necessary. Maybe the bracing was necessary to hold the arch? Considering the number that are sinking (mine included) doesn't seem to have worked.

    Thanks for the help.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,670
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Hey Eric, Great score buddy! Even old F-5's, 7's and such have the reinforcing fabric/gauze on the underside around the F-holes, Well those models are braced like that because instead of carved top and back plates they are heat pressed/formed into shape. Most of those also have a back brace. As far as the sinkage, even some F-5's have that issue from more than likely being strung up to full or extra tension over 70-100 years. The big F-holes I think were just part of the differences in Gibson's and their budget brands, even on the Gibson wide body A's they had larger F-holes, the budget brands all have the similar "is it Amati style?"
    Enjoy and lets see some pix, I don't know about the inside photo thread on these but sure would like to see it myself?

  3. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  4. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,941

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Just picked up one as a beater. While looking around inside, discovered fabric reinforcing around the f holes.

    Someplace on this site is a photo of the inside of a KM-21. Can someone please post the link or copy the image? Can't find it and am wondering if this was original?

    Also, has anyone explained why Gibson went for big F holes and x bracing on these? Seems like more work than necessary. Maybe the bracing was necessary to hold the arch? Considering the number that are sinking (mine included) doesn't seem to have worked.

    Thanks for the help.
    As Billy mentioned the gauze is original as is the brace and for the reason he stated. As to why Gibson went to big F holes in the 30's I have no idea but it's one way that we have identified unknown Gibson second line instruments in the past. Post some pictures!

    If there is a picture of a KM-21 with the back off I can't find it. Maybe someone else can.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  6. #4
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Okay,

    Here are a couple of pics. Not the greatest as it's indoors at night. Never have figured out how to get the color to compensate on my camera

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kalamazoo front.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	266.6 KB 
ID:	180842

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kalamazoo back.jpg 
Views:	22 
Size:	265.6 KB 
ID:	180843

    FON is 132A which puts it as a 1935 build. The case, if not original to the instrument, is a period correct Challenge. The pocket had some spare strings (vintage Gibson) and picks (curved celluloid with cork).

    Sound is very in your face. Not subtle and not complex. Very different than my 1935 A-50. Perfect for sitting at home on the couch and playing. Or taking on a vacation. And the neck is one of the better Gibson necks I've played. Very comfortable. That's why this was purchased. My other couch mandolin has a round neck and it's tougher to get around on when working new tunes. And lately there have been a lot of new tunes. This had been owned by a friend of mine. He moved it on to grab an A-3 at a price he couldn't pass up.

    Currently strung up with Curt Mangan monel lights. Won't try heavier because of the top. Still haven't decided on a pick. It sounds almost the same with either a heavy celluloid or Blue Chip 35. Both in 351 shape.

    Just did some other checking, and even the KG-21 archtop guitars often had x bracing. So it must have been something Gibson felt was necessary.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  7. #5
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,187

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    ..... And the neck is one of the better Gibson necks I've played. Very comfortable. That's why this was purchased. .....
    Very interesting comment, Eric. I've never played a KM21 but have owned numerous KM11s and would agree that these were the most comfortable mandolin necks I have played. Nicely proportioned, good profile. Very comfortable to play.

    And I've also bought one or two of them just for the neck.....

    I've got some Calace Dolce strings on my current KM11. They sound very good. Might be worth a try down the line on the KM21.

    Enjoy it!

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  8. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  9. #6
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Gibson was also X-bracing at least some of their standard and upper line archtop guitars during that same period. I had an X-braced L-7 on the bench last year.

  10. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:


  11. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,941

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Very interesting comment, Eric. I've never played a KM21 but have owned numerous KM11s and would agree that these were the most comfortable mandolin necks I have played. Nicely proportioned, good profile. Very comfortable to play.

    And I've also bought one or two of them just for the neck.....

    I've got some Calace Dolce strings on my current KM11. They sound very good. Might be worth a try down the line on the KM21.

    Enjoy it!

    Mick
    The best feeling/playing neck I ever had on any mandolin was on a KM-11. I think on most of the Gibson second lines they swept the factory floor for the components. Keep in mind that these couldn't be as good as the first line instruments but they were probably better than 99% of what else was available in the market.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,670
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    The necks on those wide bodied late 30's Gibson A-1's and A-50's are petty sweet also! That's a nice mandolin Eric, I'd get rid of that 2 pound bridge-LoL, they had them on all the budget brands, I don't know why, but I'd put a different one on, a lighter one piece like on your 35 A-50 or an adjustable and it would sound even better, I need to do that to my Cromwell Gumby as that still has the original 2 pound bridge. Ok maybe not that heavy but still huge!

  14. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    The necks on those wide bodied late 30's Gibson A-1's and A-50's are petty sweet also! That's a nice mandolin Eric, I'd get rid of that 2 pound bridge-LoL, they had them on all the budget brands, I don't know why, but I'd put a different one on, a lighter one piece like on your 35 A-50 or an adjustable and it would sound even better, I need to do that to my Cromwell Gumby as that still has the original 2 pound bridge. Ok maybe not that heavy but still huge!
    Been thinking about it. Have a spare that would work. Maybe look a little less silly too. Only worry is that a smaller footprint might cause more caving. The advantage of the stock one is it spreads out the pressure.

    It's strange, 10 years ago, didn't like this style neck. Even posted about it on here. Now, they're my favorite. Go figure.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  15. #10
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,670
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Hey Eric I think a normal bridge would be more beneficial to the top sink-age meaning less down pressure on the top? Can you post a few side shots like I did of the A-50 for you to show you the angle of that neck, I'd like to see the flatting out? Is there a loose brace or anything, if not it more than likely was strung up too long with out play and possibly heavy gauge strings? I know a way to fix that but its difficult and one has to remove the back, use a form with steam! Also is it sunk in at just the feet? If so a full contact base will help and somewhat fix the top? I had a Gilchrist F-5 that the both sides of the bridge feet caused dips in the top-I fit a full contact bridge and after a bit the sink-age was corrected!

  16. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  17. #11
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Will - fitted (well, rough fitted) a normal bridge on last night. If nothing else, it plays in tune better. And it doesn't look as bad as the stock one. Didn't notice a sound difference and it's held up overnight. So it should be good for ow.

    The braces were reglued recently. It probably was a loose brace with heavy strings. The original bridge was full contact, but it still sagged at the inside of the F holes. Have read about the repairs available, and just decided it's worth living with it like this. Sound is good enough, and it doesn't look bad with a regular bridge on it. Plus, one of the things that bugged me is the stock bridge on this one (and others I've seen) were not symmetrical. The bass side of the bridge was always right snug up to the F hole. With a new bridge everything looks normal.

    Might try to get some photos tomorrow night. Just too busy these days with family and music.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  18. #12
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    Just a little follow up - after using a different bridge for a few days, put the stock one back on. But did move the threaded posts up a bit in the base. It looks a bit funny, but the Brazilian rosewood just rings better. Helps the tone, IMO.

    Am going to again try to get photos later. And maybe start a different thread for the case. It's got a different pattern than standard, and the clasps aren't stamped, but it a Geib/Challenge.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  19. #13
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Help needed - Kalamazoo KM-21

    For anyone keeping track, here are a few more photos. First is the sagging top. It's been stabilized, but it's pretty bad. As mentioned earlier, the studs were raised on the bridge so there is an adequate amount inside the saddle. A regular bridge would look better, and it might eventually get an ebony replacement. The other photos are just ones with better lighting.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kalamazoo sinkage resized.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	93.5 KB 
ID:	180988
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kalamazoo front cropped.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	137.1 KB 
ID:	180987
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kalamazoo tuners resized.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	106.0 KB 
ID:	180989
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •