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coolkayaker1
12-23-2014, 06:34 AM
These are some quick (sorry, sort of dark; the height of the ukes looks different in the photos but they are the same--one is just slanted a bit) snapshots of two "The Gibson" Style 2 instruments from the 1920s. The one on the left, shorter fretboard, is in the process of being cleaned, so it is string-less and dirtier at the moment.

Question, for those who know Gibsons, please.

While these two ukuleles seem very similar, there are some differences that I cannot explain. For instance, the headstock (above the tuners) is larger/longer on one than the other. The headstock logos are similar, but when looked at here (not seen well in the photos), one is silver, and one is white. The most glaring difference is the fretboards, with one extended, and the other not (The Gibson 3s are extended; The Gibson 1s are not).

Were these different build years within the 20s? Were all Gibsons of this era made in Kalamazoo, MI? Is one of these counterfeit? LOL BTW, did Gibson make any Koa models?

Any thoughts appreciated.
https://sites.google.com/site/ukulelemakers/ghij/gibson

Finally, Lardy's lovely database mentions "GIBSON’S BABIES. UKULELES FROM KALAMAZOO" By Karl Catteeuw and Rufus Yells, does anyone know where to buy this book, please?

Fun video about Rufus Yells showing great instruments; thanks Bosko & Honey!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQRz4M0E-gY

coolkayaker1
12-23-2014, 06:35 AM
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Any input on the differences are welcome. Thank you.

WhenDogsSing
12-23-2014, 07:39 AM
According to George Gruhn's "Guide To Vintage Guitars", the fingerboard was extended to 17 frets in 1928. Style 2s were introduced in 1927 and discontinued in 1937. His description of the Style 2 is:

6" wide, mahogany body, rope-pattern soundhole ring, triple-bound top, single-bound back, 12-fret rosewood fingerboard with pointed end, all frets clear of body, bone nut and saddle, small dot inlay, peghead tapers to point at top, "The Gibson" silkscreened logo, white tuner buttons, light amber finish.

Hope that helps...!!!

coolkayaker1
12-23-2014, 08:02 AM
That is very helpful, WhenDogsSing. Thank you very much. That makes my shorter fretboard Gibson Style 2 the more precisely dated (and perhaps the more uncommon); it must be 1927.

Question: does your reference say when "The Gibson" logos were used? Lardy's database (link in my original post) mentions that "The Gibson" headstock logo stopped in 1929, but that might be incorrect. What do you think? Thanks.

coolkayaker1
12-23-2014, 08:18 AM
I may have found the answer, WDS. Looks like The Gibson headstock was into the 1930s, as here is a Gibson catalog PDF from 1931-32, and it's still The Gibson (pdf page 27). Fun reading! And I see from this catalog that even Style 1 had an extended fretboard. My style 1 does not have an extended fretboard, so must, again, be approx 1927(?). What do you think?
http://www.acousticmusic.org/userfiles/file/pdfs/historical-data/Gibson/Gibson%201930-31%20Catalog.pdf

WhenDogsSing
12-23-2014, 08:35 AM
George says this about logos:

"The Gibson" slanted c.1908-late20s
"The Gibson" straight across peghead, all models, by c.1933
Transition to "Gibson" logo (Varies by model) 1928-1934

Your 12-fret is most likely a 1927 model. Style 1 fretboards were also extended to 17 frets in 1928, as with the Style 2.

I love Gibson ukuleles but I don't have one at the present. I would love to find a nice tenor.

coolkayaker1
12-23-2014, 01:21 PM
Super interesting, WDS. Thank you!

SailingUke
12-24-2014, 04:42 AM
Wow, great catalogue. Notice the TU model is described as a concert size.
Also says tuned an octave lower. I have a tenor that is either a 1926 or 1927. No serial numbers in those years.
My UB2 is from the same era and my style1. All say "The Gibson".

coolkayaker1
12-24-2014, 04:49 AM
Wow, great catalogue. Notice the TU model is described as a concert size.
Also says tuned an octave lower. I have a tenor that is either a 1926 or 1927. No serial numbers in those years.
My UB2 is from the same era and my style1. All say "The Gibson".

Wow, those are nice ukes (and I never noticed that about the octave lower, whatever that means; good pickup, S). You must have some photos of you ukes? I have never set eyes on a The Gibson tenor. And UB2 and Sop Style 1, Sailing.

Pukulele Pete
12-24-2014, 05:23 AM
Holy Mackeral Coolkayaker , You are amassing quite a collection . I'm jealous.

coolkayaker1
04-20-2016, 08:35 PM
Holy Mackeral Coolkayaker , You are amassing quite a collection . I'm jealous.

Thanks, Pete. No need to be jealous; just orbit in from Planet X and play them with me, friend.

I've got a particular penchant for Gibsons. Can anyone tell me where I could find a copy of the book Gibson's Babies: Ukuleles from Kalamazoo by Rufus Yells & Karl Catteeuw? I'd be forever indebted.

mm stan
04-21-2016, 02:25 AM
90427 this is an tenor i got from someone :) tee hee hee, you might know him :)
90428

Wow, those are nice ukes (and I never noticed that about the octave lower, whatever that means; good pickup, S). You must have some photos of you ukes? I have never set eyes on a The Gibson tenor. And UB2 and Sop Style 1, Sailing.

coolkayaker1
04-21-2016, 06:21 PM
That's a sweet tenor, indeed, my friend. It looks better on your bedspread than it did where it once lived. . ;)

You are, as always, the man.

Postscript: the superbly kind author of Gibson Babies, Karl from Belgium, contacted me with generous and great information. So, my search for the book, which is actually an article, is concluded. Thank you, Karl.

gustophersmob
07-19-2016, 04:16 AM
Howdy! I'm a big Gibson fan, and have been for years. I've been playing ukulele for the last year and am now on the hunt for a baby Gibson to go with my other Gibson family members. Can you share the article that you found? I'd be immensely grateful for any information!

92677

mvinsel
07-20-2016, 10:48 AM
I had a very nice experience finding out about a model 1 soprano, by calling the Gibson company at 1-800-4GIBSON and asking for their historical department.
They noted that especially in the early years, there were variations.

I was going to replace the one piece bridge/saddle until i learned that it was only used briefly in their first year of ukes, 1925, which made it rare enough in my mind to not alter. In other sources I'd read differing dates as to when they first started making ukes, so it was nice to get it from the horse's mouth.

I really like that uke, and it sounds great after the bridge was removed & reset in the right place, to correct whatever someone did decades ago that rendered it just a wall hanger.

-Vinnie in Juneau

Stevelele
07-21-2016, 07:13 AM
i've always wanted a nice playing Gibson tenor, since I'm originally from Kalamazoo. But it's eluded me thus far

Ukulele Eddie
07-21-2016, 08:03 AM
i've always wanted a nice playing Gibson tenor, since I'm originally from Kalamazoo. But it's eluded me thus far

Here is a pic of one for sale. It belonged to Ian Whitcomb (and there is a picture of him with it). It appears to be a 1926-1929 given the logo says, "The Gibson." It has two small cracks. I've been thinking about getting it but don't think I can with several new ukes arriving. PM me if you're interested and I'll connect you with seller. Asking price is $1K.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8736/27839979153_83306a355b_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Jq8aSz)