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Author Archives: George Gruhn

Orville Gibson A model

 
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All carved-top guitars and mandolins trace their ancestry back to Orville Gibson of Kalamazoo, Michigan. However, as this A model mandolin illustrates, Orville’s designs went through considerable refinement through the early years of the Gibson company’s existence to reach the standard of design that we know today. The highlights of Orville’s life are well-known: Born […]

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Collection of Jonathan Kellerman

 
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Talent for mysteries, passion for guitars, best-selling Novelist Jonathan Kellerman is a lifelong lover of the guitar. A player for 46 years, to him, the guitar is not only a device for release and inspiration, but a true passion. • “After I finish writing, the first place (more…)

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1949 Bigsby Tenor

 
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1949 Bigsby Tenor. Photo: Kelsey Vaughn, courtesy George Gruhn. By the advent of the solidbody electric guitar in the 1950s, tenor guitarists were a dying breed. Consequently, electric tenors are relatively rare, and a tenor guitar made by solidbody pioneer Paul Bigsby is (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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