Love them or hate them, Gibson has an amazing ability to make people pay more for their instruments, this includes parlor guitars. And you can’t really blame the people that buy from them because the value of many Gibson branded instruments grow with time, making them worthy investments for guitarists and collectors alike. And as expected, they have some drool worthy parlor guitars in their line up, one of which is the elegant looking Keb Mo Bluesmaster.
As I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of expensive parlor guitars because they defeat the purpose of having a worry-free couch guitar that can easily be replaced. Still I can’t help but waver when faced with really excellent examples of fine craftsmanship like this particular parlor guitar.
The Keb Mo Bluesmaster starts off with a parlor style body and design reminiscent of the small-bodied blues boxes from the time when blues music was still young. It is inspired by the Gibson L series, which is played by no less than Robert Johnson, who is considered by many as a great blues pioneer.
Being a premium model, this parlor guitar sports an all solid wood design that includes the body and the neck. The top is crafted from solid Adirondack red spruce and supported by scalloped X bracing, allowing for a clear and ringing sound. The back and sides are shaped from solid mahogany, completing a traditional combination that results in a organic and woody tone with emphasis on the mid frequencies because of the smaller body shape.
As mentioned, even the neck is crafted from solid quarter-sawn mahogany, and it is topped by east Indian rosewood fingerboard to complete the old school feel and appearance. As for the specs, this guitar sits somewhere in the middle with a scale length of 25″, nut width of 1.805″ and a 12″ fretboard radius. The neck meets the body at the 12th fret following traditional parlor guitar designs.
My only complaint is that the headstock is solid, following Gibson’s traditional style. It would’ve been nicer if they went for a slotted one, but that’s just me. Other features include east Indian rosewood bridge and vintage open back tuners. As expected a number of cosmetic appointments are added, including the nickel cream binding, herringbone trim, mother of pearl inlays and double-ring soundhole rosette.
Bringing this old school guitar to the modern age is the addition of a built-in L.R. Baggs Element pickup with soundhole-mounted volume control. The end result are acoustic and plugged-in tones that the three-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’ approves of.
The MSRP for the Gibson Keb’ Mo’ Bluesmaster is $2,499.