Gibson guitars are from Kalamazoo, and up until their relocation in the late ’70s to Tennessee, they were very proud of that heritage. So proud, in fact, that they had a guitar and amplifier line named such in the ’60s! These instruments were intended to be student or entry-level guitars, but as we have seen time and time again throughout history, ‘student models’, particularly, older vintages, are often excellent instruments in their own right. This Mahogany KG-1 exemplifies that.
The majority of Kalamazoos were made with maple bolt-on necks, rosewood fingerboards, and MDF bodies. The earliest examples, however, actually utilized mahogany for the body, and this is one of those. This difference in body material makes for a vastly superior tone and sustain compared to the later models. In addition, the paintjob on this KG-1 is a darker burgundy compared to the brighter red most often used.
Equipment-wise, the original tuners have been replaced by gold ‘Gibson Deluxe’ in-line machines – a huge step up! The pickup is the original Melody Maker affair attached to the original pickguard. The bridge is a Maestro Vibrola, and it is absolutely awesome for subtle bends and surf-whammies alike. The paint has standard checking seen on instruments from this age, but otherwise there is no serious damage to the instrument. Also, it plays like absolute butter.