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Author Archives: George Gruhn

Vintage Instruments and the Ban on Ivory Trade

 
Vintage Instruments and the Ban on Ivory Trade

A presidential executive order issued February 11 proposes a wide ban on trade in ivory has widespread implications for trade in vintage musical instruments as well as antique art, furniture, firearms, swords, knives, and jewelry. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been tasked with writing and enforcing new regulations for import, export, and domestic trade […]

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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. […]

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Rosewood Dobro

 
Rosewood Dobro

In the 1930s, the original Dobro company went through a series of ownership changes and licensing agreements. It did not regularly publish catalogs, and its model numbers were typically also the price of a model, which may have varied from one distributor to the next. Specifications (more…)

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Gibson Super Jumbo 100

 
GIBSON-SJ-100-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

The Super Jumbo 200 is Gibson’s most celebrated flat-top model, and deservedly so, thanks to its use by cowboy movie stars in the pre-World War II years and by country music stars in the post-war years. The Super Jumbo 100, on the other hand, is one of Gibson’s more obscure models – a status it […]

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’62 Les Paul Rarity

 
'62 Les Paul Rarity

In its early years, the Gibson Les Paul Custom evolved through several body-style and spec changes and was the earliest Gibson solidbody to have a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece; the Les Paul model (a.k.a. “goldtop”) did not have them until late ’55. First appearing in Gibson catalogs in 1954, the company actually made a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Martin 0-42

 
Martin 0-42

Through the years, Martin’s dreadnought, OM, and 000 guitars may have gained the most notoriety. But for the sweetest and best-quality sound, Martin itself recommends the size 0, exemplified by this 0-42. There’s obviously a catch to that statement, since only two of Martin’s current offering of over 200 models are size-0 guitars. The recommendation […]

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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. […]

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