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Author Archives: George Gruhn

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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The Gibson J-185

 
Gibson J-185

The J-185 is regarded by many players and collectors as the finest-sounding Gibson flat-top made after World War II. The only flat-top of its size and shape made by Gibson in the 1950s, the company offered nothing comparable even in its pre-war catalogs, and though it is in many ways similar to the J-200, it’s […]

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1905 Gibson F-2

 
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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 […]

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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…)

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Gibson’s Earliest Dreadnought?

 
Gibson’s Earliest Dreadnought

Gibson was a late entry into the flat-top guitar market, offering its first model in 1926, but Gibson was a pioneer in developing a dreadnought-sized flat-top, as illustrated by this unusual round-shouldered guitar with a 1929 serial number. It was made during a period when Gibson’s flat-tops were evolving at a frantic pace as Gibson […]

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Martin OM-18P Plectrum Guitar

 
Martin OM-18P Plectrum Guitar

While the most commonly played and collected Martin guitars have a six-string neck, the company has also made a number of historically noteworthy four-strings. Beginning in the 1920s and carrying into the ’60s, it produced several tenor guitars. In the ’30s, it offered plectrum guitars in an era when tenor banjos and guitars were far […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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1924 Martin 00-45

 
1924 Martin 00-45

When trying to determine originality, guitar dealers and collectors have a tendency to study instruments with the care of a forensic pathologist. Still, modifications can be difficult to detect, and manufacturers’ records are often the only way to map an instrument’s history and determine whether it has been repaired or modified. No matter how skilled […]

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