1966 Kalamazoo KG1

Solid-body one pickup electric guitar

1966 Kalamazoo KG2A

1966 Kalamazoo KG1 (1 pickup) in Flame red finish

Model: 1966 Kalamazoo KG1
Pickups: One single-coil Gibson Melody Maker pickup
Scale: 24 3/4"
Body: Pressed board body. 16 1/2" long, 11 3/4" wide, 1 5/16" thick.
Neck: Maple bolt-on neck, rosewood fingerboard. Adjustable truss rod. 22 frets.
Hardware: 1 volume and 1 tone control. Gibson TPBR bridge. Open gear strip tuning keys.

The Kalamazoo KG1 was Gibson's attempt to compete with the likes of Fender for the mid 1960s student guitar market. Previously Gibson had only offered students 3/4 size versions of relatively expensive hollow bodies, under the Gibson brand. But now, under the name Kalamazoo it was producing very simple guitars, but well-made, and with above average components.

There were no labour intensive nitrocellulose finishes, no expensive hardwood bodies, no glued-in neck joints requiring skilled woodworkers, and easily assembled electronics pre-wired on a scratchplate. Assembly was just a matter of screwing it all together; but the result was a cheap, popular and highly playable guitar.

The KG-1 had a December 1966 list price of $89.50 - compared to $149.50 for a single pickup Gibson Melody Maker, or $126 for a single pickup Fender Musicmaster.

The solid body Kalamazoo KG guitar range consisted of four models: the KG1 and KG2; equipped respectively with one or two pickups, and the KG1a / KG2a which had an added Maestro vibrola. This guitar, with one pickup and no vibrola is the KG1.

1966 Kalamazoo catalogue

From the 1966 Kalamazoo catalogue

Distinctively styled, superb quality solid-body guitars of rugged, lightweight design. Available in brilliant Flame Red, Glacier White or Las Vegas Blue, one or two pickups, with or without Vibrola. Slim neck, streamline styling in an economically priced guitar for years of rugged use

This guitar is one of 1020 Kalamazoo KG1 guitars in Flame Red produced in 1966, and one of just 1908 KG1s produced in total - see the Kalamazoo KG shipping figures for more details.

Kalamazoo KG1 body detail
The Kalamazoo KG1 came in three finishes; the guitar pictured here is in Flame Red. (See also a Las Vegas blue KG2a and a Glacier White KB1)
Kalamazoo KG1 reverse body detail showing neck plate
Unpainted maple necks were bolted onto pressed board bodies
Kalamazoo KG1 body with no components assembled
In order to reduce production costs, the unassembled guitar bodies were identical, irrespective of pickup configuration and tailpiece
Kalamazoo KG1 control knob detail
White plastic control knobs were fitted to all Kalamazoo electrics. The KG1 has just one volume and one tone control
Kalamazoo KG1 pickup (single coil PU380) and TPBR 8513 combined bridge/tailpiece
Hardware included two very widely used Gibson parts; the single-coil Gibson PU380 Melody Maker pickup and Gibson TPBR 8513 combined bridge/wraparound tailpiece, both of which appeared on many lower end Gibson instruments throughout the 1960s
Kalamazoo KG1 strap button
This guitar comes with simple cream plastic strap buttons
Kalamazoo KG1 reverse headstock detail, showing open gear tuners
Firebird-style headstock and open gear strip tuning keys
Kalamazoo logo detail
The scripted Kalamazoo logo is engraved into the wood of the headstock
Kalamazoo serial numbers were stamped into the back of the guitars headstock
Six digit serial numbers are impressed into the back of the headstock in typical Gibson style
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