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Author Archives: George Gruhn

Gretsch 6134 White Penguin

 
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1958 Gretsch 6134 White Penguin, serial number 26389. Photo courtesy Gruhn Guitars. There’s no doubt the White Penguin is one of the rarest Gretsch instruments. It is estimated that no more than a few dozen were made from the introduction of the model in 1955 through 1964, when it was discontinued, though exact production totals […]

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Gibson Super 400 PN

 
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The Gibson Super 400 Premiere cutaway acoustic first appeared in Gibson literature in the 1940 catalog, on a page showing it and the L-5 Premiere in clear “natural” finish. The photo shows the Super 400 PN held by George Smith (described as “Paramount staff guitarist”) and the L-5PN held by Eddie Skrivanek (“radio and studio […]

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Martin’s “12-Fret” 000-42

 
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Martin has never been a stranger to producing certain guitars in very limited quantities. But just how rare is the 12-frets-to-the-body 000-42? It has long been held that Martin has done a yeoman’s job of tracking its production through the years (few manufacturers have been so meticulous, especially going back so far), but it has […]

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1942 Martin D-45

 
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The Martin D-45, offered by the company from 1933 through 1942, is well-known as the Holy Grail of acoustic guitars. While players and collectors may argue whether it is the absolute best guitar ever made, in terms of value, it easily outdistances any other acoustic model in the vintage market. Ironically, the D-45 was not […]

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Fender’s “First-Gen” Strat

 
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The Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most popular electric guitar model in the world. From the time of its introduction in 1954, no other electric has outsold its archetypical design. And unlike its fellow archetype, the Gibson Les Paul and its numerous variants including the Junior, Special, Standard, and Custom, the Stratocaster was always been […]

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1965 Epiphone Emperor

 

1965 Epiphone Emperor, serial number 347083. Photo courtesy of George Gruhn. The Epiphone Emperor has a long, convoluted history. It first appeared in Epiphone’s catalog in late 1935 as a response to Gibson’s Super 400, which was introduced in late 1934. Epiphone went one better on Gibson’s 18″-wide Super 400 by making the Emperor 181?2″ […]

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Martin Style 000-28K

 

Martin Style OOO-28K. Photo: Kelsey Vaughn, courtesy of Gruhn Guitars. During the 1920s and ’30s, Martin made a considerable number of guitars with bodies constructed of Hawaiian Koa wood. The Hawaiian music craze was in full swing and the demand was strong for ukuleles and Hawaiian-style guitars played with a steel bar, as well as […]

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National Style O

 

Photo courtesy George Gruhn. Although it has never been the favorite guitar of Hawaiian players, National’s Style O, with its shining metal body and tropical imagery, stands today as one of the strongest icons for the Hawaiian music that was the foundation of the resonator guitar’s popularity in the early 1930s. Introduced in 1930, the […]

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1965 Epiphone Emperor

 

1965 Epiphone Emperor, serial number 347083. Photo courtesy of George Gruhn. The Epiphone Emperor has a long, convoluted history. It first appeared in Epiphone’s catalog in late 1935 as a response to Gibson’s Super 400, which was introduced in late 1934. Epiphone went one better on Gibson’s 18″-wide Super 400 by making the Emperor 181?2″ […]

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1934 Martin 12-fret D-28

 

1934 Martin 12-Fret D-28. Photo courtesy Daniel Salvo. The Martin D-28 was first issued in 1931. And all dreadnought Martins made from 1931 through ’33 featured a 12-fret (a reference to the point at which the neck meets the body) slotted-head neck and extended-length body, rather than the more familiar squared upper bout and shorter […]

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