kel kroydon

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Shppping this week at the fantastic Folkway Music in Waterloo, Canada, near Toronto.

  1. Stunningly beautiful (looking and sounding!) Taylor Fall Limited 712CE.  Note the oddly angled new bracing…
  2. National Resonator.  This one looked old, but it may just be an illusion…
  3. Another pretty new Taylor 816 - t’s a 14 fret model this time.
  4. Vintage Recording King
  5. Beautiful 1964 Gibson J-200.
  6. Beautiful 1966 Gibson J-200N (for “Natural”!)
  7. beautiful and frighteningly expensive 1930s Kel Kroyden (made by Gibson)
  8. Beautiful and somewhat less frighteningly expensive 1929 Gibson Nick Lucas Special.
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At Folkway Music, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  Waterloo is roughly 1 hour west of Toronto (by car, driving at speeds somewhat over the posted speed limit that is.  NOT that I do that of course..I’m just saying is all!)

There’s always exciting stuff to see at this shop - they specialize in VERY old vintage acoustic guitars.  For example, the first photo shows a 1930s “Kel Kroyden”.  This was a brand made by Gibson, and it’s highly collectible.  This specific guitar is selling for roughly $8,000.

The resonator in photo #4 is a 1930s DoBro, and that’s a bizarre but fun Framus 12 string in photo #5.  The Gibson in photo 6 is a 1954 SJ (which I think means “Southern Jumbo”, but I may be wrong…),  1 of only 14 made that year in “natural”.  Price tag was ~$7,000

The last guitar is a 1946 Gibson L-50 acoustic archtop.  If you want to get a vintage Gibson acoustic…archtops are incredibly affordable relative to a flattop f the same era.  This L-50 can be had for only $1,700!

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99% of my time guitar shopping is spent looking at a constant stream of generic Stratocasters, Les Pauls, SGs and Teles.  Don’t get me wrong…I LIKE those guitars, it’s just that they make up 90% of the stock in any guitar store I visit.  And just how many of the same-old same-old can a guy obsessed with guitar shopping look at before it pushes him past the boundaries of sanity, and someone gets hurt???  ;)

This (above) is one of those rare cases where there are 1) guitars other than Strats/Teles/LPs/SG to look at, and 2) two guitars that are so rare that I have never seen either of them before ever in my whole life.

  • Amazing guitar #1:  A Gibson-built Kel Kroydon from the early 1930s.  Last week I bought a book about Gibson’s other brands - their own lower-priced lines (kind of like the purpose Epiphone serves today - budget versions of Gibson models), or guitars they made for other companies.  Kel Kroydon is one of the earliest, best quality, and rarest (and therefore most collectible!).  This guitar is so rare and collectible in fact, that the price on it is EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS!  
  • Amazing guitar #2: this is my dream Martin - a 1932 0-18K.  I lust after small-bodied guitars, and this one was probably the only “0” sized Martin I have ever seen in person!  Most parlour-sized guitars I have heard sound boxy and small…with very little in the low end.  But this one sounded fantastic regardless of its small body!  The ONLY tiny complaint I have is that it’s a 12th fret neck join, which, I know, is very traditional and “classic”, but restricts access to frets above the 12th.  I would not let that stop me from buying this guitar though.  And the price was pretty reasonable at $3600.  Dear Martin: Howz about making a 14 fret “0”?  It doesn't have to be fancy…I’d be happy with a style “18” (although a style “42” would be better!  ;)

PS: slotted headstocks on Martin guitars are the best!