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1930’s Kalamazoo Mandolin & 1904 Gibson A Mandolin

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The Kalamazoo mandolin was a wedding present from the bass player of a band I was in at the time.  Best thing I got!  Mahogany back and sides, spruce top, it’s a very light clear sounding instrument that records extremely well.

The Gibson came from my friend Ken Carlysle who had left it sitting by the woodstove through a winter. Needless to say, it was worth every penny of the $35.00 he charged me when I first got it.

I had it put back into playing condition and it played and sounded great.  I even got Deanie Richardson to play it on the Best of All Possible Worlds sessions but time eventually took it’s toll and the entire top collapsed in.  Like many early Gibson A’s, this one had a very thin top which gave it a glorious sound, but made it weak. After the repairmen at Mass Street music refused to work on it (“it would cost more than it’s worth”) I spent the better part of 2011 dismantling and rebuilding the instrument. To my surprise, it all came back together better than expected and plays and sounds great again.

Used on: Lettie’s Song (Kalamazoo), Softly and Tenderly (Gibson A, not included on CD)