Gibson Electric Steel Guitars

   Century v.1   


Royaltone v.2

April showers bring May flowers, right? It also brings the lastest work by noted author, Andre Duchossoir, Gibson Electric Steel Guitars (GESG). I thought it only appropriate to use the Monthly G.A.S. Attack for April to highlight the book that will become the benchmark for the genre. As a resource for these vintage treasures manufactured for all of 32 years it has no equal. Truly a labor of love, Andre's passion for the instrument is the cornerstone on which he built both a photographic and literary masterpiece.


As a collector, I was humbled by Andre's request for photographs of specific pieces in my collection to be used for GESG. Certainly a highlight in the 10 years that I've been affected by vintage G.A.S. as well as sweet justification for my obsessive collecting of GESG. Of course the majority have moved on to new homes but at one point my GESG collection could have literally filled Andre's book on its own with the exception of some variants (versions) within each model. One look at the
Post G.A.S. Gallery tells the story as every pre and post war model had representation. Of course there were also the non-GESG labeled examples including their in house budget line, Kalamazoo, and of course Recording King, Mastertone, Capital, etc. The total number escapes me, but back in the day my overall collection was well north of 100 pieces so 50 would have been a reasonable number.

Fast forward to today and my GESG collection consists of just a handful of instruments all of which are either "rare birds" or maintained as part of the Gibson Family. Found in The G.A.S. Gallery, the Gibson Family features prewar examples including the metal bodied E-150, EH-150, EH-150D, EH-185 and Grande Console all of which sport the blade or "Charlie Christian" pickup. Outside of the family is the prewar top dawg 1940 EH-275 with its oblong adjustable pole piece pickup, a very rare 1938 Capital labeled beauty and a non-labeled 1936 Recording King 1271 both of which have blade pickups. Only three (3) post war models have been retained, each with production of less than 100 - Century v.1 (est. 35), Royaltone v.2 (67) and Century v.4 (60).

Andre had specific instruments in mind and also asked for my help locating several others. His book leaves no stone unturned as variants (versions) of every model and even one offs are all well documented and supported by detailed research. Ultimately I was asked to provide the Century v.1, Century 10 (headstock), Royaltone v.2 and EH-275 (back) from my collection. Andre also chose to use my E-150 from the Gibson Family for his example of Gibson's original amplifier released in 1935.

The Royaltone v.2 received the "royal treatment" by its image gracing two pages as the background as well as the model's example! I must say that finish wise it has always been the least favorite of my "rare birds" but admit she photographs very well. I've owned 3 and considering only 67 were shipped, pretty amazing but not even close to owning 3 of the 25 EH-275s that were shipped. The 3 included two which were consecutive serial numbers. Now what are the chances in less than 10 years of collecting? Andre now owns one of them and my original EH-275, which was part of Japanese collector Akiro Tsumura's collection, will be sold shortly. That leaves me with the one pictured which is a fine example. BTW Andre's EM-150 (mandolin) resides in the Gibson Family which is where I first met him several years ago.

If you follow the Monthly G.A.S. Attack you know that I tend to use the outdoors for my photos and try to capture the season. With the tulips and jonquils up but a sudden heatwave threating to terminate their already short lives, I took the opportunity to add a burst of floral color this month.


Although not new to the collection, this month's G.A.S. Attack(s) represent the culmination of my vintage and specifically electric steel guitar collecting to date. Little did I know when I started this journey that I would be tapped to contribute to such an amazing literary work. With the new year and a steady purge of instruments, my long term collection has become focused on early Gibson electric instruments which has always been the core anyway. Although many instruments of far greater value have passed through my collection the historical significance of The Gibson Family reins supreme!

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