Shop Talk

1960 Gretsch 6119 Trifecta

April 12th, 2022

Q:  What do you get when you put three 6119s together? A:  18,357 #badjoke But, yeah, this is pretty cool.  The single pickup Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean was introduced in 1958 and existed for about a year before the model was revamped into the Tennessean we’re more familiar with (ie George Harrison’s guitar). The […]

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Mark’s 1933 Gibson L-00

March 16th, 2022

1962 Gibson EM-150

January 6th, 2022

Gibson’s EM-150 is an electric mandolin that was introduced at the outset of Gibson’s Electric instrument production, back in 1936. It was offered alongside the ES-150 guitar, EH-150 Steel, and ERB-150 banjos and was originally fitted with a “Charlie Christian” style pickup. The design of the EM-150 evolved similarly to the ES-150 guitar, and by the late 1940s was built with a P-90 pickup and plywood maple body.

This example is one of 51 built in 1962. The EM-150’s highest production years were 1953 and 1954, when 158 were built in each year. In total, about 1950 EM-150s were built during the model’s post-WWII production run.

Full body and close up of a vintage Gibson Electric Mandolin: 1962 Gibson EM-150 Bridge, pickup, f-holes and tailpiece of a vintage Gibson Electric Mandolin: 1962 Gibson EM-150

This particular instrument has sold.

Lefty Vintage Gibsons? They’re out there!

October 14th, 2021

Pre-WWII left-handed Gibsons are phenomenally rare, but they do exist! Here’s a look at a few that are currently at Folkway.

Anatomy of a Gibson Plastic Adjustable Bridge

October 14th, 2021

Ever wonder what those plastic bridges that Gibson used in the early 60s were all about? Most Gibson flat top acoustics built in 1962 and 1963 had this style of injection-moulded plastic bridge with adjustable ceramic insert, but perhaps you’ve not seen one of them up close and personal…

Prewar Gibson Lefty Matched Set

September 23rd, 2021

No, it’s not a reversed photo.  It’s a pair of Left-Handed Gibsons that were both built in 1935 and originally sold through Beare & Son in Toronto. Prewar Gibson lefties are exceptionally rare, as you might imagine.  This is the only lefty F-Style Mandolin we’ve ever seen, and the L-00 is one of two we’ve […]

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1958 Gibson ES-225TD

August 19th, 2021

 

1958 Gibson ES-225TD electric guitar full body and knobs

1958 Gibson ES-225TD electric guitar body and headstock

A spectacular instrument that was recently brought to us by the local widow of its original owner, this 225TD is completely original but for the first 5 frets and is in incredible condition. Great neck angle, perfect set up, almost no playwear and killer double P-90 tone.

The ES-225T was Gibson’s first thinline electric model upon its introduction in 1955. The double pickup version was released in 1956. Both models were discontinued at the end of 1959, which corresponded with the introduction of the ES-330 that same year.

SOLD

Comparing four early-1940’s Gibson J-35s

July 7th, 2021

Mark guides us on a casual and impromptu tour of four 1940’s Gibson J-35s that are all at the shop at the same time. The differences and the similarities between these four guitars are pointed out and discussed. The guitars were all built by Gibson in 1940, 1941, and 1942.

A Gibson-made 1930 Recording King Model 807 Nick Lucas Special

May 27th, 2021

Mark tours us through an incredibly rare Gibson-made Recording King 807 from 1930.

Built for Montgomery-Ward, the 807 is essentially a Gibson Nick Lucas Special with different appointments. This model wasn’t produced in significant numbers and very few remain in existence today.

Mark has just finished an interesting restoration to this guitar and describes the steps involved in detail.

An L-00 isn’t just an L-00…

March 8th, 2021

In this video Mark discusses some of the unique construction details of an early sunburst 14 fret L-00 from 1933.  An L-00 isn’t just an L-00… there’s always more than meets the eye!

Regluing Gibson Braces

February 18th, 2021

Vintage Gibson guitar brace reglue details

A clean brace reglue is all about taking the time to set things up precisely.  Gibson brace ends are notorious for popping loose, and getting them back down again can take some real coaxing.

In the case of this early ’50s J-45, the shrinking pickguard had cupped the top so badly that the upper soundhole brace, X brace, and a finger brace were all loose from the top and tightly sprung. The pickguard was removed, the top ‘ironed’ flat, and the braces are now getting reglued one-by-one.

It’s not uncommon to need to make custom brace-end gluing cauls that are specific to the guitar being worked on.  It’s a lot of extra work, but a well-fit caul is critical to a clean end-result and a repair that will hold in the long run.

Vintage Gibson guitar brace reglue details

Custom brace-end caul

Bridgeplate Positioning

February 1st, 2021

Photo of the inside of a vintage Gibson J-45 guitar, showing the misplacement of the bridgeplate.

This kind of bridgeplate positioning is a regular sight in a 50’s Gibson.

Someone didn’t like their job all too much, I figure.

A lifetime later, these sort of idiosyncrasies are partially responsible for the tonal variation between otherwise similar Gibson flat tops.

This is a 1951 J-45 that’s on the bench for a neck reset and some requisite brace regluing.

The road to the modern Gibson flat-top…

January 28th, 2021

1928 Gibson L-0 vintage acoustic guitar

The road to the modern Gibson flat-top acoustic began in 1926 when the L-1’s arched top was replaced with a flat, braced top. Those first flat-tops featured the familiar small and round L-body shape, a carved back, a long and narrow ebony pyramid bridge, and a unique early version of H-pattern top bracing. A year later the guitars had flat backs and the first sunbursts were being rubbed on flat tops.

By 1928, Gibson flat top designs had evolved into the L-0 shown here. The long and narrow ebony pyramid bridge was replaced with a stout, multi-layered rosewood one with interesting architecture and a 7th pin (more about these 7th pins to come). The H-bracing evolved as well, becoming slightly lighter and more flexible, with angles tweaked to improve mid-range presence, volume, and overall sweetness. The first adjustable truss-rods show up in flat tops in early 1928, and necks become a bit more comfortably rounded, narrower at the nut and more highly radiused at that same time.

It’s an interesting transition, and one that continued through 1933 when the first truly modern 14 fret steel string models are shipped from Kalamazoo.

13 fret Gibson L-00

January 15th, 2021

Mark discusses the unique 1932 Gibson L-00 with 13-fret neck joint, and the specific considerations that went into its repair.