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Vintage Kalamazoo

Guitars, basses and amplifiers

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.

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.

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).

1960s Kalamazoo

1966 Kalamazoo catalogue

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.

To keep the solid bodies cheap, Gibson used cheap wood and easy non-skilled construction. The bodies were actually some sort of chipboard/fibreboard, outsourced to a toilet seat manufacturer in Wisconsin. Necks were bolt-on, electronics were assembled on the pickguard, remote from the guitar and simply screwed on. 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 later updated to an SG style. Kalamazoo KG guitar shipping figures do not show body styles, but the Mustang body shape seems to be more abundant.

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Latest posts on Kalamazoo basses at the VintageGuitar forum
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Kalamazoo KB bass
2 replies
last message by fuzzbass
03/06/2013 06:39

Kalamazoo Restoration KB bass
8 replies
last message by jules
26/12/2012 19:53



Latest posts on Kalamazoo guitars at the VintageGuitar forum
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Kalamazoo one off? Prototype? very early model?
9 replies
last message by tatsuo
01/11/2014 11:39

Kalamazoo KG1 and KG2 guitars
0 replies
last message by jules
16/03/2012 06:46



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Kalamazoo guitars for sale


US ebay listings

1966 Red Kalamazoo KG-2A electric solid 6-string guitar, made by Gibson

Current price: $450.00
buy it now
Time left: 29d 17h 8m
Gibson Kalamazoo KG11 Acoustic Guitar

Current price: $306.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 13h 5m
Vintage Flame Red Kalamazoo KG1 w/ Original Case *REDUCED*

Current price: $380.00
buy it now
Time left: 19d 19h 37m
LATE 1930s GIBSON KALAMAZOO MASTERTONE SPECIAL KG-11 ACOUSTIC - RARE & VINTAGE!!

Current price: $1599.99
buy it now
Time left: 8d 18h 41m
Vintage 1966 Kalamazoo KG 1 Cardinal Red USA by Gibson W/ case 66 60s KG 1A EXC

Current price: $525.00
buy it now
Time left: 18d 20h 35m
Vintage 1965 Kalamazoo KG-2 KG2 Electric Guitar White Finish

Current price: $699.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 14h 57m
1960'S GIBSON KALAMAZOO KB-1 BASS MADE IN USA

Current price: $66.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 18h 20m
Vintage 1930's KG-11 Kalamazoo By Gibson Sunburst Acoustic Guitar w/ case

Current price: $1095.00
buy it now
Time left: 18d 3h 40m
Gibson Kalamazoo KG-21 KG-16 archtop guitar pickguard tortoise shell

Current price: $29.95
buy it now
Time left: 3d 8h 29m
GIBSON MELODY MAKER PICKUP 1966 SG MELODY MAKER 1967 KALAMAZOO KG-2A

Current price: $59.95
buy it now
Time left: 1d 19h 41m
1930s Kalamazoo KG 31 Acoustic Archtop Guitar w/ Repro. Pickguard + Ping Tuners

Current price: $779.00
buy it now
Time left: 19d 12h 25m
Vintage 1966 Gibson Kalamazoo KG-2A Body Project Original Glacier White Finish

Current price: $147.00
buy it now
Time left: 8d 10h 50m
Vintage 1960s Gibson-Made Kalamazoo KG-2A Electric Guitar Project / Parts

Current price: $167.50
buy it now
Time left: 2d 19h 44m
1940 Gibson Kalamazoo KG 12 Vintage Acoustic Sunburst w/case USA

Current price: $1745.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 18h 10m
1930s Kalamazoo KG-11 Guitar. Nice

Current price: $1500.00
buy it now
Time left: 11d 16h 38m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

Vintage 1940's Gibson Kalamazoo KG-21 archtop guitar

Current price: £131.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 16h 34m
1937 Kalamazoo KG14 Acoustic Guitar - the Robert Johnson model - Gibson L00

Current price: £1599.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 7h 19m
See more results on eBay here

There are 1 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
virgil stice Comment left 19th May 2014 18:06:58
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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