You may have heard of Epiphone as Gibson’s budget brand of guitars, but before Gibson bought out this competitor, the brand produced budget brand guitars under the moniker of “Kalamazoo.” From 1933 to 1942, Gibson produced archtop and flattop acoustic guitars, lap steels, banjos, and mandolins under the Kalamazoo name.
During the guitar boom of the late 60’s when rock & roll was king and everybody wanted to get their hands on an electric guitar, Gibson produced electric solid body guitars and basses under the Kalamazoo brand.
After Gibson’s buyout of Epiphone, Epi’s were promoted as a middle-tier electric guitar, whereas Kalamazoo was strictly marketed as a low-cost, beginner guitar. “U.S.A.” was added to the headstock of these guitars to differentiate them from the cheap import guitars that served as competition at the time.
Kalamazoo guitars in the 60’s featured bolt-on necks, single sheet plastic pick guards, open-back tuners and Masonite bodies in order to keep the cost down.
The use of Masonite for the body was an innovative and forward-thinking design decision, and while it is by no means a “tonewood” these guitars are still very lightweight, and have a unique tone and resonance to them.
There were two main body styles of Kalamazoo guitars in the 60’s. From 1965 to 1966, the guitars closely resembled the styling of the popular Fender Mustang.
From 1967 to 1969, the bodies of the KG-1 and KG-2 closely resembled the body style of the popular Gibson SG with its double cutaway horns, but removed the contours from the cutaways. The KG-1 featured one single-coil pickup, a volume knob and a tone knob. The KG-2 doubled the tonal options offered by the KG-1 by offering two single-coil pickups, with two volume and two tone knobs. The KG-2A followed the vein of its predecessor by offering a Maestro vibrola as well.
So this guitar is a Kalamazoo KG-2A built in the Gibson factory in Michigan in 1968 finished in Flame Red.
Offset double cutaway Masonite body
Bolt-on maple neck
22-fret Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with dot inlay
Maple headstock overlay
1 9/16" nut
24 3/4" scale
Single-ply white pickguard
Two Melody Maker pickups with white covers
Our knobs (two vol two tone)
Three-way slider pickup switch
Socket on face of guitar
Spring Vibrato tailpiece
Weight 7.2 lbs
Despite the fact that these guitars were made and marketed to be low-cost, beginner guitars, they are actually very well made, with enduring appeal for collectors and fans today.
The neck is relatively slim but very easy to play, and even though it was a budget model, the fingerboard is specified by Gibson as Brazilian ! Truss rod works fine and frets show only minor wear.
This KG-2A is in fine shape. The finish is bright and unfaded. Overall it is in super clean condition with very few marks or blemishes. Nothing appears to have been changed or modified. It plays well with a medium low action and the pickups are bright and punchy.
We have sold a couple of earlier Kalamazoos, and the overall build quality of these instruments is very much up to Gibson quality standards. This is a good opportunity to own a good USA made instrument from the 60s at a most affordable price.
Comes in its original cardboard case.