Author Topic: pre Gibson G101 organ, first called Kalamazoo K101. For sale.  (Read 76 times)

Offline MGrady

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pre Gibson G101 organ, first called Kalamazoo K101. For sale.
« on: February 03, 2018, 11:40:35 AM »
I am trying to sell (and assess the value of) my Kalamazoo K101  from the late 1960's. This rare vintage model was re-named shortly after as the Gibson G101, a model used by Ray Manzarek from the DOORS in "Back Door Man" and others.  It has some cosmetic scuffing but still plays fine. Comes with volume pedal and foot keys. Photos available. I'm trying to figure out uploads here. 

Offline alenhoff

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Re: pre Gibson G101 organ, first called Kalamazoo K101. For sale.
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 02:21:08 PM »
Some thoughts about value in case they are helpful:

The Kalamazoo models are definitely worth more than the Gibson-branded ones because of the Ray connection and the fact that they are not often seen. But because so few Kalamazoos are sold, it's really hard to say how much the Kalamazoo nameplate adds to the value.

The Gibsons used to reliably sell for upwards of $2,000, and occasionally more. But maybe five years ago, the prices started dropping. Today, $1,000 to $1,500 seems to be more typical on eBay, depending on condition. But not many of these get sold either, so there is no reliable, established market price.

Yours has the volume pedal, music stand and optional bass pedals. These are often missing and add to the value. You don't say whether you have the lid. On the negative side, yours has been painted (and it's unclear from the photo whether some of the paint is covering areas where the Tolex may be completely stripped off).  So, maybe the paint can be removed and the organ can look original -- or maybe it can't be. (There is no Tolex available on the market today to recover either the unique green/blue or linen-colored vinyl with something that looks original.) It seems to me that this would be a major negative for the kind of buyer/collector who would be willing to pay a premium for one of these with a Kalamazoo logo.

Just my guess:  I think that if the organ's vinyl was in decent original shape (can you strip the paint before you sell it?), you could get $2,000-$2,500 for it. As it is, maybe $1,000 less?  The market for these is relatively small. So you may have to be patient to find a buyer, and it will be more difficult to sell if you are not willing to ship it.

(For what it's worth, a Kalamazoo sold last week on eBay for about $2,700, but it appeared to be in exceptional shape. I cannot remember seeing another on eBay in several years.)

Good luck!

« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 03:49:56 PM by alenhoff »
1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73
1972 Rhodes Silver Sparkletop Piano Bass
1978 Hohner Clavinet D6
1968 Hohner Pianet N II
1966 Wurlitzer 140B
1967 Gibson G101 combo organ
1965 UK Vox Continental
1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H
1977 Fender Twin Reverb
Vox AD100VT Valvetronix modeling amp

Offline 58Mike

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Re: pre Gibson G101 organ, first called Kalamazoo K101. For sale.
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 11:35:25 AM »
If extra data helps, I bought my Gibson G101 on Craigslist in Los Angeles in July of 2016 for $1,800.  I could probably have gotten it from him cheaper, since I think he was asking $2,300 and when I offered $1,800, he didn't counter-offer with $2,000.  I think he was having a hard time finding interested parties, even in Los Angeles, so he jumped when a live buyer appeared and didn't want to risk me leaving.  I suspect Alen is right that the market for these isn't what it used to be.

It's in very good shape, has the volume pedal, but not the bass pedals.  It sounded good, but I did have someone go through the electronics (replace some capacitors and stuff) and replace the bulb, which wasn't working.  (I can't remember what that total bill was.)

In your Kalamazoo picture, you can see the green tolex showing in some areas, so the blue might be removable.  That'll be a job, though, because the tolex on these babies is extra heavy on the nooks and crannies.  I'm not sure if paint remover would work without damaging the tolex.  It's nasty stuff.  You'll definitely need to disassemble, because if it were me, I'd hose/brush it off when you're done. You don't want any traces of paint remover remaining.  (I've amateur-painted a few cars.)

Regular paint thinner is less destructive, but I don't know if it would work.

I probably shouldn't mention this next thing, because I don't think I would recommend it here, but ... years ago, I bought an old Vox AC-30 amp head that the guy had painted blue.  It looked horrible.  I was some limited experience with vinyl spray paint (for car interiors), so I bought a can of black and painted the head.  I disassembled everything and did a very careful job.  It looked really good and completely "believable."  In fact, I went back to look at it just now and if I didn't know what I had done, I would never guess it wasn't original.

Of course, the G101 isn't black, though.  The green and tan of G101s are both really weird shades that would be hard to match, plus there's a whole lot more surface area than on an amp head, so I think you'd have a much tougher time looking authentic.  Plus, unless your tolex has no rips or wear, then  "perfect" color, top to bottom, will raise an eyebrow.  If I were going to keep the organ (like with the AC-30 head), I might give it a try, but not if I were going to sell it.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 11:42:10 AM by 58Mike »

Offline MGrady

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Re: pre Gibson G101 organ, first called Kalamazoo K101. For sale.
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2018, 03:03:19 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful replies from both Mike58 and Alenhoff. You are both very knowledgeable and gave me an good overview and options to consider. Trying to remove 50-year old paint sounds like more of a challenge than I want to take on, though it is tempting to try Motsenbocker's Liftoff Spray Paint Graffiti Remover available from HomeDepot or even GoJo orange hand cleaner that someone else reported to be effective just to see it works. Still it's no small task.  ....I can imagine my aunt who played it baulking at the original green color when she and my father bought it in 1966 from an organ dealer in Duluth, Mn.. It was probably painted that color before they brought it home because that's the only color I ever remembered.  Many thanks again.