685

Author Archives: George Gruhn

National Bel-Air

 
National Bel-Air, Photo courtesy George Gruhn Big thmbnail

The idea of Gibson providing guitar parts to another prominent guitar maker is laughable today, but in the 1940s and ’50s, relationships were cozier between some of the major instrument companies. The evidence lies in this 1960 National Bel-Aire, one of several Nationals of the postwar era to feature a body made by Gibson. Outsourcing […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Three Larsons

 
LARSONS_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

At first glance, these three guitars appear to be a straightforward collection of different sizes of the same model. A comparable set of three Martins would be a 0-40, 00-40 and 000-40. However, these are Larson Brothers guitars, and when it comes to Larson models, nothing is that simple. Aesthetically, these guitars are identical (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

An Odd Gibson EH-150

10 Strings, Lap-Style
 
Gibson EH-150

Lap-steel guitars were the first commercially available electrics – ancestors of the guitars we plug in today, regardless of their shape. The popularity of Hawaiian music in the 1930s had a great deal to do with a surge in popularity of lap steels – and quickly after, the introduction of Spanish-style steel-string and electric guitars. […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

National N-275

 
N275_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

Gibson is widely known for its guitars, mandolins, and banjos, but many are unaware the company built instruments for nearly 30 brands for several distributors and music store chains, primarily from the 1920s through the early ’40s. Some of the best-known names include Kalamazoo, distributed by Gibson, and Recording King, which was distributed by Montgomery […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gibson Grenada Five-string

 
Gibson Grenada Five-string

The Gibson Granada five-string banjo is primarily known for being played by Earl Scruggs, who had an enormous impact on the sound and style of bluegrass music after joining Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in late 1945. The Granada was first issued in 1925 with a ball-bearing style tone ring and two-piece flange. Though it […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Coral Electric Sitar

 
Coral Electric Sitar

For centuries, Indian musicians have utilized the resonant sympathetic strings of the sitar to create the unique sounds of classical Indian music. Traditional sitar design combines a body fashioned from a large gourd with a long, hollow neck made of teak or tun wood and two bridges made of bone, horn, or ebony at the base of […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Epiphone Coronet

 
Epiphone Coronet

This Epiphone Coronet from 1959 was probably a shocking sight to a guitar buyer of the late ’50s. Not only was a solidbody guitar out of character for the company that had built its reputation in the ’30s on archtop acoustics and electrics, but most people thought the Epiphone company had gone out of business […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

1985 Guild Nightbird Prototype

 
1985 Guild Nightbird Prototype Home Main Big

In early 1984, Mark Dronge, son of the Guild founder Alfred Dronge, was president of Guild. That year, Mark and I struck a deal to design six acoustic Guild guitars in two different body sizes. These were introduced at the 1984 summer National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Chicago. Reaction to the acoustics […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Custom-Order Gibson B-45-12

 
GIBSONB45-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

The term “rare” is applied to guitars in far too many instances. Usually an appealing term, its overuse can be attributed in part to the fact it’s particularly catchy to the eye of anyone fond of a collectible vintage instrument. The subject here this month, however, is truly deserving of the label. A custom-order Gibson […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | 1 Response

1905 Gibson F-2

 
GIBSON-F2-2-HOME-MAIN-BIG

In the opinion of most American mandolinists, Gibson brought mandolin design to a level of perfection in 1922, with the introduction of the Master Model F-5. It wasn’t much earlier – 25 years or so – that Orville Gibson created the F model as one of two mandolin body styles (the other being the symmetrical […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment