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NMM 14385. Violoncello by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 1942.
Model G 110. Batch 342. André P. and Kay Marcum Larson Fund, 2009.

NMM 14385.  Violoncello by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 1942

Gibson ventured into the manufacture of violin-family instruments for a short period in the second half of the 1930s, ending in the early 1940s. Since supplies of commercial violins from Germany and Japan were unavailable due to the war, American manufacturers were protected for a time from this previously well-established overseas competition. Gibson-made cellos are rare and this example has some unusual features of construction borrowed from the company’s guitar-making heritage. The neck is made from three separate pieces of maple, with a dyed strip at the center. This lamination technique was used by Gibson, starting around 1905, to strengthen the necks of its mandolins prior to the introduction of the metal truss rod. It is unclear why Gibson chose to laminate the necks of the cellos, which normally require no reinforcement for stability. The Gibson cello is also lined with kerfed, or notched, wood strips, like a guitar, rather than employing the thin strips of spruce or willow standard in instruments of the violin family. The top and bottom blocks are rather massive and shaped much like those of a guitar. The back of the cello is made from pressed plywood, a technique that was still new to violin-family instruments, but one that would become common for twentieth-century student-line instruments.

Front, Back, and Side Views

NMM 14385.  Violoncello by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 1942 Bass side of instrument Treble side of instrument Back of instrument

Click on any structural feature above to see an enlargement of that feature



Printed on paper label with quadruple-line border and cut corners, the model and batch number written in black ink: Gibson 'CELLO / Genuine Gibson Made / Model G-110-342 / Kalamazoo, Mich., U.S.A.
Written in pencil on inside of center bass rib: 72- / 146 / 5 / 725

Front, Back, and Bass Side of Body

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Front of body Bass side of body Treble side of body Back of body



Top:  two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: fine grain.
Back:  two-piece, maple, three-ply plywood: faint, narrow curl.
Ribs:  slab-cut maple: faint, narrow curl; chamfered corners.
Head and neck:  maple: plain; two-piece with dark-brown-dyed maple lamination down center; pegbox with shoulders; tall neck heel.
Arching:  recurve close to edge on top; low, pressed on back.
Edging:  minimally curved.
Purfling:  wide center strip.
Lacquer:  medium orange-brown with craquelure.
Fingerboard:  black-stained rosewood with bevel at C-string position.
Nut:  ebony.
Pegs:  four rosewood; thick heads.
Saddle:  rosewood; finished with same lacquer as body.
Endpin:  rosewood with brass screw and ferrule, and steel spike.
F-holes:  slightly undercut; inside edges stained black.
Linings:  kerfed basswood or maple.
Corner blocks:  spruce.
Top block:  basswood or maple, beveled corners with convex curve.
Bottom block:  basswood or maple, beveled corners with convex curve.
Bassbar:  spruce


Click on image below to see an enlargement


Pegbox and Scroll Views

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Front of pegbox Bass side of pegbox Treble side of pegbox Back of pegbox

Neck Heel

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Back of neck heel


Total violoncello length:  1210 mm
Body length:  744 mm
Width, upper bouts:  353 mm
Width, center bouts:  237 mm
Width, lower bouts:  439 mm
Rib width, upper bouts:  113-114 mm
Rib width, center bouts:  112-113 mm
Rib width, lower bouts:  113-115 mm
Stop length:  381 mm
Neck length (bottom fo nut to ribs):  290 mm
Vibrating string length:  695 mm

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Front of pegbox Front of neck Front, upper bouts Front, upper bass corner Front, upper bouts Soundholes Lower bass right, front Lower treble rib, front Soundholes Front, lower bouts Tailpiece Lower end of cello Front, lower bouts Bass side of pegbox Bass side of body Treble side of scroll Treble side of body Lower end of cello Back of pegbox Back of neck Neck heel Upper bouts, back Upper treble corner, back Upper bass corner, back Center bout, back Lower treble corner, back Lower bass corner, back Center bouts, back Center bouts, back Lower bouts, back Lower end of cello