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Image Credit -  Reverb - Chris Robinson's Gear Galore Info from the US Patent and Trademark Office Introduction Custom Kraf...

1930s Custom Kraft Numbered Guitar Models


Image Credit - Reverb - Chris Robinson's Gear Galore
Info from the US Patent and Trademark Office

Introduction

Custom Kraft instruments were produced by a variety of manufacturers such as Alamo, Harmony, Kay, Supro, and Rickenbacker and distributed through St Louis Music Supply Company [1]. The logo for the brand was a heraldic lion with two tails and wearing a crown. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Custom Kraft trademark was first used commercially on September 1st, 1938 [2].

Guitars during this era were built by the Harmony Company from Chicago. The guitars were differentiated by numbers which I have not yet found to have any meaning. I used my own Model 18 as an example.

Model 12

Image Credit - AcousticGuitarForum - Slyfox00
14 fret to the body archtop acoustic guitar. Stenciled fretboard markers using a common Harmony design. 3 on a plate tuners (very common for the era) with black knobs. Segmented F-holes. Stamped tailpiece.


Model 18


Image Credit - Mine
Likely a Harmony Marquise H1390 as seen on the DeMont Harmony Database

Completely unique headstock design but has a Harmony flair on the top portion. Has 3x3 single tuners. Steel frets on a Brazilian Rosewood fretboard with the alternating 1-2 fret dot pattern. This guitar has an intricate marquetry binding.

Model 23


Image Credit - Heritage Auctions
Like a Harmony Monterey H1327 as seen on the DeMont Harmony Database

Same headstock design as the Model 18 with tuners that have the same plate style. Herringbone style binding. Treble clef design inlaid into the pickguard. 

I did locate a Youtube video of someone playing a 1935 Custom Kraft Model 23

Model 3314


Image Credit - Ebay - Elrey James
14 frets to the body flat top acoustic guitar. The treble clef design returns again on the pickguard of this guitar. The movable bridge suggests that this was a cheaper model. 314 is also the area code for St Louis which may or may not be intentional. 

Seller claimed it was built in Kalamazoo by Gibson though there was no evidence to back up the claim.

Citations

[1] https://www.guitar-list.com/brands/custom-kraft
[2]https://trademark.trademarkia.com/custom-kraft-72165534.html

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