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Author Archives: George Gruhn

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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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’53 Gibson Les Paul Junior

 

1953 Gibson Les Paul Junior photo courtesy George Gruhn. Gibson’s records tell us the Les Paul Junior was introduced in 1954. But here we have what appears to be a 1953 example. This instrument has no serial number on (more…)

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1985 Guild Nightbird Prototype

 

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 (more…)

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Gibson’s Mighty F-5 Mandolin

 

When Gibson’s F-5 was introduced in mid 1922, it was part of the series of Style 5 “Master Models” consisting of the F-5 mandolin, H-5 mandola, K-5 mandocello, and the L-5 guitar. These instruments all featured a special oval-shaped Master Model label visible through the bass-side (more…)

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Mastertone Guitar-Banjo

 

While five-string banjos are far more popular today than any other style, during the height of the Dixieland Era of the 1920s, when Gibson introduced its famous Mastertone banjos, four-string tenor and plectrum models were in far greater demand. Five-string banjos were popular (more…)

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Gibson Mastertone GB-3

 

While five-string banjos are far more popular today than any other style, during the height of the Dixieland Era of the 1920s, when Gibson introduced its famous Mastertone banjos, four-string tenor and plectrum models were in far greater demand. Five-string banjos were popular from the 1850s until shortly after the turn of the century, (more…)

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1939 Martin D-45

 

From 1933 to ’42, Martin produced a total of 91 D-45 guitars. At the time, the model was the most deluxe and highest-priced flat-top guitar in the Martin line. Today, these instruments are among the most sought after of all steel-string flat-tops, and without doubt bring (more…)

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Martin 5K

ukulele
 

The braguinha, forerunner of the ukulele, was a small four-string instrument tuned in fifths. Named after the town of Braga in Portugal, the instrument arrived in Hawaii with the first group of Portuguese immigrants in 1878. But its owner didn’t know how to play it. A second boat, which arrived in 1879, carried not only […]

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