I'm a drummer and I know a minimal amount about guitars.
Well, I was at a garage sale ealier today and I seen a guitar for 6 dollars that looked quite old. It does need some repair such as screws, strings, things like that. But when I got home, I couldn't find any information on them.
It's a Kalamazoo USA.
Does anyone have any information on these? The only thing I figured out was that Gibson made them? The serial number is 514532, if that helps any.
Thanks in advance!
Kalamazoo was Gibsons budget line - also made at the Gibson Kalamazoo factory in the mid-late sixties. There were a few different models - just over 30000 instruments shippied - over half in 1966 - last ones shipped in '69
The Kalamazoo guitars and basses used a lot of standard Gibson hardware, though had bolt-on maple necks, and chipboard bodies.
Serial numbers are the same as Gibson serial numbers at the same time
I read that Gibson started the Kalamazoo line during the depression era to keep manufacturing but sell a model at a lower price.
Kalamazoos have been around for a longer time then the 60's.
I picked up a Kalamazoo at a yard sale...for 5 bucks!
It is a depression era (30's) 4 string tenor guitar.
I found an old Gibson ad depicting Kalamazoo from around that time.
L. Ron Hubbard (of Scientology fame) played one just like it (according to web info). It is awesome!
The only mod om mine was that someone cut out the pick guard to put on a pickup...which was not included.
Unfortunately, no dates or serial number are visible through the f holes?
This thing is definately a conversation piece.
Yes, they had used the name before... but just during the thirties. There were no electrics before '66....
Theres a Kalamazoo catalogue posted here
That Kalamazoo EBO with the "Fender" head stock is way too COOL!
I never saw one of those beauties before.
Are they worth anything on the vintage market?
Anybody here have one?
yeah, I have two Kalamazoo basses - one with the Fendery headstock, and one with the Thunderbirdy headstock.
Originally Posted by MaxDB
They are actually quite nice basses. The fact that they are made of compressed board of some type makes you think they will sound awful, but they used genuine Gibson parts. And the humbucker is so domineering that the actual wood used has little say in how it sounds.
In fact, when I first took mine to rehersal my band went mad for it... both looks and sound
The humbuckers are exactly the same as used on all EB basses - the bridges and handrests are what was on EB basses until the new intonatable bridge came out in '67. Machineheads are japanese, but did appear on some EB0s (plus Harmonys and other makes) - Consequently they tend to get parted out, as replacements for various EB0 and EB3 projects. I am trying to keep mine as is though. Both of mine are white, but I am looking for a new blue (or maybe red) body, for a little variation.
Now that has to be a rare find!
The body is made of some kind of composite wood? I can't imagine how much money they even saved on that vs real wood back then!
The fact that they are made of compressed board of some type makes you think they will sound awful, but they used genuine Gibson parts.
Maybe the compressed wood cut costs because it was easier to cut and shape?
The shaping and machining had to be the most expensive part of the process...everything else in the final construction would have been about the same cost if they used mostly Gibson parts.
Good ol' American ingenuity...gotta love it.
The Kalamazoo guitars don't sound bad at all, but yeah, most seem to get parted out for the Melody Maker pickups and other hardware. In 10 years time there will be very few left I bet.
Hey, I've just come across a very old-looking Kalamazoo guitar with the serial number EK-4367. It's an archtop acoustic and in pretty poor condition. Does anyone have information on guitars of this style and the time period it may be from?
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