Inside the latest VG
Published monthly since 1986
166

Author Archives: George Gruhn

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 (NAMM) show in Chicago. Reaction to the acoustics […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

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 f hole, and a matching-shape signature label signed and […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

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, when […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

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 from the 1850s until shortly after the turn of the century, when […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

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 the highest prices of any vintage American-made acoustic guitars. […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

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 […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

1965 Epiphone Emperor

 

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″ wide. This was the top model in the Epiphone line. By […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

Stromberg Master 400

Power Projector
 

The Stromberg Master 400, measuring a gigantic 19″, is considered by many to be the ultimate orchestral rhythm guitar. The instrument of choice for Freddy Green with the Count Basie Orchestra and other players who needed the ultimate in power and projection to cut through a brass band or full orchestra without the benefit of […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

Stromberg Master 400

 

The Stromberg Master 400, measuring a gigantic 19″, is considered by many to be the ultimate orchestral rhythm guitar. The instrument of choice for Freddy Green with the Count Basie Orchestra and other players who needed the ultimate in power and projection to cut through a brass band or full orchestra without the benefit of […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed

1952 Bigsby Doubleneck

 

Few instruments combine excellent craftsmanship, historical significance in the development and evolution of the guitar, and memorabilia appeal as much as this Bigsby guitar, custom made in 1952 for the late, great Nashville session player Grady Martin. Paul Bigsby was not the first man to make a solidbody guitar. Rickenbacker introduced a Spanish-neck version of […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Comments closed