Vintage Kalamazoo Guitars

Guitars, basses and amplifiers made by Gibson

Kalamazoo guitars

Kalamazoo is, of course, a city famous for it's guitars. It was the hometown of Gibson for most of the twentieth century, until 1984; many people would say the best Gibson guitars ever built were the Kalamazoo-built models. But Gibson also produced a US-built budget line in the 1930s, and again in the mid-late 1960s, and these guitars were branded Kalamazoo - in honour of the town in which they were produced. Most were good quality guitars, especially the higher end 1930s and 40s models, but even the 60s guitars were fitted with quality Gibson components. Kalamazoo guitars typically had a KG model prefix.

1930s-40s Kalamazoo

In the years before and during the second world war, the Kalamazoo line consisted of acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins; relatively well-built with quality woods, but definitely a cut below Gibsons of the same period, most obviously in having no adjustable truss rod, and little ornamentation, e.g. silk-screened rather than inlaid logo. The first run of Kalamazoo instruments was available between 1933 and 1942.

Models included:

Archtops

  • KG-32 available: 1939-1942. 16" wide f-hole archtop. Carved spruce top, with maple back and sides. Checkered binding on the top, plain white binding on the back. Unbound mahogany neck with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Effectively the same guitar as a Gibson L-50. Sunburst finish, natural (KGN-32) from 1940.
  • KG-22 available: 1939-1942. 16" wide f-hole archtop. Carved spruce top with maple back and sides. 25" scale maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays.
  • KG-31 available: 1935-1940. 16" pressed spruce top with mahogany back and sides. Unbound mahogany neck.
  • KG-21 available: 1935-1941. 14-3/4" wide body. Pressed spruce top with mahogany back and sides. Front binding only. Unbound rosewood fingerboard. Sunburst finish. Equivalent model to the Gibson L-30.
  • KG-16 available: 1939-1941. Bound spruce top, mahogany sides, back and neck. Brazilian rosewood fretboard, 24-3/4" scale. Equivalent model to the Gibson L-30.

Flat-tops

  • KG-14 available: 1936-1940. KGN-14 available: 1940-41. This is the famous Robert Johnson model. 14 3/4" wide body flat top acoustic. Spruce top with mahogany back and sides in sunburst (KG) or natural (KGN) finish. Bound top. Unbound mahogany neck with Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood bridge and a tiger stripe pickguard. 25” scale length.
  • KGN-12 available: 1940-1941.
  • KG-11 available: 1933-1941. Spruce top, mahogany back and sides. Smaller 14 3/4" wide body with square shoulders. Square headstock profile. 24 3/4" scale length.

1940s Kalamazoo KG-32 archtop Image Heritage auctions

1960s Kalamazoo guitars

1960s Kalamazoo KB basses

The 1960s solid body Kalamazoo KG guitars and Kalamazoo KB basses came in two body body styles; Fender Mustang-style, then later SG-style; from top to bottom 1966 Kalamazoo KG2a, 1966 KB bass, 1967 KB bass (SG style).

1966 Kalamazoo catalog

In the mid-1960s, guitar sales increased dramatically; though many of these sales were to new players, inspired by the rock and roll and beat booms of the previous years. A high-end Gibson was out of the question to these players, so Gibson re-introduced the Kalamazoo line, with great sucess.

There was one acoustic guitar, the KG10, four versions of a solid body electric the KG1/KG1A/KG2/KG2A, and the KB bass. Features of the guitar models are summarised below.

KG1 / KG2 Kalamazoo guitar specifications

  Pickups Tailpiece
Kalamazoo KG1 1 stop
Kalamazoo KG1a 1 Maestro vibrola
Kalamazoo KG2 2 stop
Kalamazoo KG2a 2 Maestro vibrola

To keep the solid bodies cheap, Gibson used inexpensive, easy to work with woods and easy non-skilled construction. The bodies were actually some sort of compressed chipboard/fibreboard, outsourced to a 'toilet seat' manufacturer in Wisconsin. Necks were bolt-on and actually quite nice maple/rosewood, whilst the electronics were assembled on the pickguard, remote from the guitar and simply screwed into place. They did have the foresight to use all Gibson hardware - admittedly some of it was obsolete, having been replaced on Gibson models, but it was still quality hardware none the less. Another nod to Fender came in the Fender Mustang style body of the early KG guitar and KB bass. This was fairly quickly updated to a more appropriate SG style. Kalamazoo KG guitar shipping figures do not show body styles, but the Mustang body shape seems to be more abundant.


Gibson leather/suede strap

Gibson leather/suede strap

The perfect strap for your vintage Gibson guitar. 2019 Gibson quality


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Kalamazoo guitars for sale

Kalamazoo KG-2A -Red- 1967with Short VibrolaVintage #3920-7796-7983

JAPAN

$1398

Description For items listed to go on sale in the shop, it may have already been sold. Before you buy the item, Please contact us! Thank you for your support Payment We accept PayPal only Shipping About shipping We will ship by EMS or Fedex. (with tracking number, perfect insurance) Shipping Duration 3 ~ 14 daysTerms of Sale If you have unpaid items reported, we would not be able to accept your bid International Buyers - Please Note: Import duties, taxes and charges are not included in the... more

1965 Kalamazoo KG2 *Solid Mahogany Body a few were made, Original Chipboard Case

POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA, 33073, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1280

HERE IS A VERY RARE SOLID MAHOGANY BODY 1965 KALAMAZOO BY GIBSON KG2 GUITAR IN GLACIER WHITE FINISH LESS THAN 300 WERE MADE WITH SOLID MAHOGANY BODY, IN EARLY 1965, SINCE THEN THEY MANUFACTURED THEM WITH A SORT OF COMPRESSED CHIPBOARD / FIBREBOARD THIS IS A SHORT SCALE GUITAR MADE BY GIBSON THEY WERE AVAILABLE IN THREE COLOURS: FLAME RED, GLACIER WHITE AND LAS VEGAS BLUE VERY GOOD QUALITY MAPLE NECK AND ROSEWOOD FRETBOARD, AND ALL GIBSON HIGH QUALITY HARDWARE AND ELECTRONICS SAME AS MELODY ... more

1960's Vintage Kalamazoo KG-2 made by Gibson

HONG KONG

$850

1960's Vintage Kalamazoo KG-2 made by Gibson Named after Gibson's hometown of Kalamazoo Michigan, Kalamazoo guitars were produced from 1933 to 1942 and then again from 1965 to 1970 as Gibson's in-house budget brand. The solid bodies made under the Kalamazoo name in the late '60s originally used a very Fender-like body with uneven horns, but this was switched to a more SG-style body in 1968. The KG-2 specifically sported one pickup and a non-tremolo tailpiece Years of Production: ca. 1965 - 1969 ... more

VINTAGE 1965 USA KALAMAZOO KG2 GUITAR PARTS LOADED PICKGUARD PICKUPS POTS 1966

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $521

VINTAGE 1965 USA KALAMAZOO KG2 GUITAR LOADED PICKGUARD .ALL WORKS, ONE WIRE REPLACED, SWITCH LOOKS TO HAVE BEEN REPLACED AT ONE TIME(CORRECT SWITCH), GUARD HAS PLAY WEAR AND SCRATCHES, NO TIP CHIPS, NICE ORIGINAL PARTS READY TO DROP IN THANKS FOR LOOKING!... more

VINTAGE 1965 USA KALAMAZOO GIBSON KG-1 KG 2 GUITAR NECK MAPLE ROSEWOOD 1966

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$449

ORIGINAL MID 1960'S USA GIBSON KALAMAZOO KG GUITAR NECK . MAPLE CONSTRUCTION, ROSEWOOD FINGERBOARD, NECK IS STRAIGHT, FRETS ARE GOOD ,NORMAL LIGHT WEAR, HEEL HAS EXTRA SET OF MOUNTING SCREW HOLES, TUNER MOUNT HAS EXTRA SCREW HOLES, NUT WIDTH MEASURES 1 5 / 8" WIDTH. SCALE LENGTH IS 24 750 " . NECK HAS NORMAL LIGHT DINGS & SCRATCHES, NO CRACKS, TRUSS WORKS FINE, OVERALL CLEAN NECK, WILL MAKE A GOOD KG RESTORATION . THANKS FOR LOOKING!... more

VINTAGE 1960's USA KALAMAZOO GIBSON KG-1 KG 2 GUITAR NECK MAPLE ROSEWOOD

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$389

VINTAGE 1960'S USA GIBSON KALAMAZOO KG-1, 2 GUITAR NECK . MAPLE CONSTRUCTION, ROSEWOOD FINGERBOARD, NECK IS STRAIGHT, LIGHT GROOVING FRETS 1-3, ONE DOT MARKER MISSING, ONE MOUNTING HOLE HAS A DRILLED COUNTER SUNK HOLE WITH METAL HELI- COIL INSERT? OR FOIL?. NUT SHELF MEASURES 1 5 / 8" WIDTH. SCALE LENGTH IS 24 750 " . NECK HAS NORMAL LIGHT DINGS & SCRATCHES, NO CRACKS, TRUSS WORKS FINE, CAME OFF A PLAYING KG-2, WILL MAKE A GOOD KG PROJECT .MAKE ME AN OFFER .THANKS FOR LOOKING!... more

Gibson Single Coil Pickups Melody Maker, Kalamazoo KG ES-120T, W Origin Harness

POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA, 33073, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$250

Up for sale is a Pair of Fantastic 1965 Gibson Single Coil Pickups Wired W Original Gibson Harness Included, Ready To Install Pickups read 7 18 & 7 29 in my meter Pulled from a 1965 Kalamazoo KG2, They Sound Astoining, and They Are in Very Good Shape Same pickups used in Gibson Melody Makers, ES-120T, Epiphone Olympic, Epiphone Granada and Kalamazoo KG Guitars... more

VINTAGE 1966 USA Kalamazoo Guitar Knob 1967 KG KB

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$39

VINTAGE 1966 USA Kalamazoo Guitar Knob 1967. NORMAL VINTAGE WEAR AS SHOWN, SPLINES ARE GOOD. ALMOND COLOR FROM AGE. Original Gibson part.... more
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George Jennings Comment left 20th November 2017 09:09:01 reply
I have a Kalamazoo acoustic flat top with EK 2030 stamped on the back of the peg head. I have not found any reference to that ID. I would appreciate any informaaion.
Annabelle Crow Comment left 6th September 2016 15:03:42 reply
Hal, your Kalamazoo sounds like mine- stamp saying made in USA on back of head, label inside,firestripe pick guard. Only difference is that the neck of mine joins the body at the 14th fret. Mine belonged to my father and I believe it dates from 1935, give or take a few years. I think you can be certain that yours is authentic.
SIMON Comment left 12th May 2016 05:05:12 reply
Thinking of selling a pre war Kalamazoo acoustic - serial number DK 3862. It's in very good condition with original case - I'd love to know an estimated value so I'm not ripped off. Can anyone help?
Herman Comment left 26th March 2017 11:11:52 reply
I have a Kalamazoo archtop serial DK-3345 but i want to know wich model nummer this is.
Jim Comment left 10th April 2016 20:08:15 reply
Hi, I have a Kalamazoo 1930's mandolin and recently went to the luthier for a couple of cracks that has to be repair. Now the instrument is in good condition and playable as well. If possible i want to have some informations on that vintage instrument and the value of it on the actaul market. Regards, Jim
Hal Comment left 1st April 2016 22:10:35 reply
I have a flat top Gibson Kalamazoo. No numbers, but the label inside says Made in U.S.A. by Gibson Inc. Kalamazoo Mich. Stamped into the rear of the head is what looks like Made in USA. The fingerboard is short, and joins the body at the 12th fret. Sunburst finish with fake tortoise shell pick guard.Plain white purfling and edge to sound hole. The bridge is white a NOT angled. Can anyone give me some indication as to authenticity (guide only ) and possible year of manufacture. Cheers.
Jacqueline Wyman Comment left 7th January 2016 08:08:27 reply
I had a v body style Kalamazoo electric guitar in the late 70s and have not seen any anywhere.. Not sure of the year.. :/ Mine was red.. Could you let me know if you know where I can find information on this guitar please ? Thank you... JAX
virgil stice Comment left 19th May 2014 19:07:58 reply
My mom has a kalamazo guitar,with the numbers 3803G-16.Need info if gibson made it or martin made it??????

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The perfect strap for your vintage Gibson guitar. 2019 Gibson quality

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