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Thread: 1935 Gibson and Kalamazoo side rim depth

  1. #1
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default 1935 Gibson and Kalamazoo side rim depth

    Have been spending a lot of time playing the Kalamazoo KM-21 (FON 132A) these past two weeks, including jams and a duet practice. Noticed that it seems to project fairly well for an instrument that has mahogany b/s as well as pressed, not carved top and back. Because it was so different, but still good sounding, decided to compare it to my reference 1935 Gibson A-50. While switching back and forth, noticed that the sides were a bit deeper on the Kalamazoo.

    End to end
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    And the lower part of the sides
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    Then decided to compare the Kalamazoo to a couple of my other instruments -

    First the 1941 Strad-O-Lin
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    And a 1929 Gibson A Jr
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    It's not a lot, basically the depth of the binding. But I suspect that it changes the sound. So any idea why they would have done this? It's unusual they would have used more wood during a time they were trying to save money. Then again, this is the year they put front and back binding on the KM-21, so maybe money wasn't as much of an issue? Or is this something that only happened in 1935? Much like the elevated fingerboard on the A-50 (and A-75).

    It's nothing earth shaking, and surely other folks have posted about it here before. Just wanted to add this for posterity.
    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

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  3. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Sugar Grove,PA
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    Default Re: 1935 Gibson and Kalamazoo side rim depth

    I imagine experimentation of sorts to create a louder mandolin, affordable? Kind of like the Wide Body F5-M from circa 1940 that was used on the original Tone Poems, I have it on great authority there is another one just like the one Dawg borrowed for Tone Poems. It was the great depression so Gibson may have wanted to put out a quality affordable instrument that the masses could buy under the budget brand? All very interesting to me anyway!

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