GIBSON  CROMWELL 1939.

During the 1930's Gibson took to producing many guitars in their factory without their own brand name . The American economy was in a slump and in an effort to make their instruments more they affordable Gibson introduced 'budget lines'.

To protect the brand name of Gibson and their flagship models they promoted these budget line guitars under many different sub-brands such as......Mastertone, Bellson , Recording King, Kalamazoo. and Cromwell.

This Cromwell was built in 1939.

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The Cromwell was built on the same workbenches, by the same guitar builders as the L5 presented by Duke Ellington to Django Reinhardt . However the building process was different. Where the top of the range Gibson models would have a top carved from selected wood ,to increase resonance ,with similar consideration given to the back ,for the budget line models a process of pressing the wood into shape using heat and steam was adopted.This proved very effective being both durable and strong.

The f-holes of the time were not made to have a heavy bass end sound,they were not expected to produce the 'boom' commonly associated with jumbo body guitars such as the J200 ( first produced in 1938). The intention of the 'f' shape sound holes was to enable the guitar to be heard cutting through the brass instruments of the jazz bands. A role that previously had been filled by the banjo.

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The guitars were stained, coloured with the finish that has become a by-word in the guitar world..Sunburst. Quite interesting that many years later it was still used on Fender Stratocasters.  

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This particular guitar has had the staining removed, back to the natural wood. Surprisingly has revealed a nice piece of timber . It looks great. I bought the guitar with this finish in 1969, In fact when I first saw the guitar not knowing any better. I thought this was the original finish. It looked that good  .

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The guitar is basically the L5 shape, Grover machines, original bridge, can't remember whether I ever had the pickguard.

Tailpiece..has been upgraded,but before my time with the guitar. The case is an old hard case, the same one that the fellow who had the guitar before me, used in his dance band days . I am sure that these guitars were not sold with hard cases in the 1930's.The label inside the guitar is original. Did that person who stuck it on by hand in 1939 imagine that we would be looking at their handiwork in 2017 !!

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                  What a tale this guitar could tell. 

It is for sale for £850. If you have an interest in this guitar please email me through this web site - on the contact page- and we will take from there.

Thanks. John.

Pleases click on this link to see & hear the guitar being played!