Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

A Tribute to the Kalamazoo Gals

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

A Tribute to the Kalamazoo Gals

Article excerpt

In "Eugene," his 2007 ode to rambling along America's rural roads, singer-songwriter Greg Brown Invoked the mojo of the Kalamazoo gals with the lyric, "I think 111 drive back to Eugene ... Take along my Gibson M5, made by women during World War II* He Isn't the only one intrigued by the previously unsung women who took to the workbenches at Gibson's factory In Kalamazoo, Michigan, when the men went off to war-think of them as the Rosie the Riveters of the acoustic guitar-manufacturing world.

Law professor and guitar enthusiast John Thomas was so haunted by a 1944 photo he found of four rows of women lined up in front of the legendary Gibson Guitar Co. factory that he wrote this well-researched book about them. The result is Kalamazoo Gais: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson's "Banner" Guitars of WWW (American History Press). This all-female workforce was responsible for the estimated 9,000 so-called "Banner" guitars constructed between the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack and the end of the war in 1945 (the guitars took their name from the "Only a Gibson Is Good Enough" decal affixed to the headstock). …

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