1936 Kalamazoo KG14 – £1749
ON HOLD There are few acoustic guitars more wrapped up in music history than the Kalamazoo KG14. It’s the model that Robert Johnson played in his first studio session in November 1936 before getting arrested for a bar room brawl and losing his guitar. When he returned to the studio without a guitar he was given the studio’s Gibson L1, a guitar Johnson could never have afforded. There is a quality to the Kalamazoo that equivalent Gibsons don’t have – a rawness which produces a real bark, like a honky tonk tone – and it makes them a real playing experience. This example has all the hallmark sounds that hark back to those history making 30’s recordings, and it feels like you’re stepping back in time – a real treat for any blues player. This guitar is a 12 fret version, converted from Hawaiian, which improves string tension and so adds clarity and sustain to the tone. It’s in very good condition, with the kind of wear and tear, and lacquer checking you’d expect from an 84 year old guitar, but no cracks or repairs, just a plugged side hole where a jack socket was once fitted. The chunky neck feels quite substantial in the left hand, allowing the tone to really resonate, and single notes to ring beautifully. This is a seriously cool guitar, and far more affordable than an equivalent Gibson L1. It comes in a non original hard case.