This very powerful sounding consignment Gibson-made Recording King Ray Whitley rosewood Model 1027 (EW-314) is one of only 171 guitars made in 1939, with the remaining production run of 9 shipped in early 1940. We can think of this guitar as a Montgomery Wards distributed rosewood version of the Gibson J-55 model, with the wide waisted Jumbo shape, 24 3/4″ string length, and batwing bridge shape. Unique to these guitars are the Recording King pointed headstock shape, Pearl block and crown Recording King inlay, Large embossed turtle-oid pickguard, Fancy pearl diamonds and squares inlay pattern, Cream bound soundhole with no surrounding top purfling, Nickel plated cord attachment brackets at rear of headstock and endpin areas, and the Indian rosewood back and sides. The tuners are single unit Waverly models with cream colored buttons. The original endpin is missing. This guitar was shipped on March 13, 1939 to the Montgomery Wards store in St. Paul, MN.
The fine grain Adirondack source top displays very bold hard grain lines, a good indicator of how stiff and strong this top is. The even grain Indian rosewood back and sides display a bright and complex tap tone, evidence of the generous thickness dimensions that help to give the voice a very solid presence in a group setting. The 5 pice Maple neck has a medium large profile (my hands love it) that give solid strength to the rosewood fingerboard that is unsupported by an adjustable truss rod used only on Gibson branded guitars. The top X braces and two tone bars are voiced in the unscalloped tapered method that many Gibson 14 fret Jumbo players prefer.
The list of repairs is short: There is a glued 9″ back crack extending from the neck block near the centerline, The top seam separation from soundhole to tail was glued, There are two glued top cracks at the lower bout treble edge, There is a glued crack on the bass side of the fingerboard extension, The bridge has been reglued and shows sign of finish cleanup at its edges, and the frets have been recently milled. Top top braces and bridgeplate are pristine and show no wear or modification. The entire finish except for the headstock face shows pretty aggressive buffing and there may have been some overspray associated with this work.
The voice of this guitar is quite bold and strong. Alan Perlman rarely remarks on the response or tone of instruments, but he is very enthusiastic about this one. I am too. It is a dandy. With contemporary hard-shell case.
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