Ultra rare 1931 Gibson HG-20 with double sides. Gibson’s first short-lived attempt at a Hawaiian style guitar is a fascinating piece of engineering. Behind the strange looking set of f-holes is an inner wall, connected to the top and terminating an inch above the back, intended to boost bass response and projection. The tone is unusual as you might expect, with some of the bark and snappy attack of a wood bodied resonator but softer and sweeter overall than a resonator. Although not the most versatile of guitars, it excels at blues and ragtime, and of course as a slide guitar it is fantastic.
Although marketed as a Hawaiian, it has the practical features of a standard Spanish guitar, with a comfortable C shaped neck, 44mm nut width and angled saddle slot for accurate intonation when fretting – no Roy Smeck monster neck profiles here.
Our example entered the UK with a terrible home done refinish, and was adopted by one of our staff, who arranged for the finish to be redone, matching the colour to other HG-20s. A neck reset was performed at the same time, along with re-gluing a couple of loose braces and patching the bridge plate.