Duane Allman’s Gibson Archtop Acoustic

access_time First seen circa 1970

According to Gregg Allman, Duane owned an old Gibson acoustic. Based on Gregg’s statement, this guitar had an oval hole and was an archtop. Unfortunately, beyond these two pieces of information, the guitar is a mystery.

Duane also had an old Gibson acoustic with an oval hole and an arch-top. I’ve got that one. Dickey has Duane’s National in his living room. [Guitar Player magazine, Jas Obrecht, Duane Allman Remembered, October 1981]

Interestingly, in a different interview, Gregg refers to what seems to be the same guitar but also mentions a Gibson J-200 – while not being perfectly clear whether he’s talking about one single, or two different guitars this time.

And my brother had an old Gibson, 1929 J-200, an oval hole and with an archtop – I’ve got that one. [Jas Obrecht: Gregg Allman: My Brother Duane]

This is confusing because Greg’s description seems to fit the Gibson L-4 or the L-3 model, both of which featured the oval-shape sound hole at some point – mainly on models made prior to 1928. In contrast, the Gibson J-200 does not have an oval hole, and it’s obviously a flat-top guitar. Also, the model came into production only in 1937, so this simply couldn’t be the case.

So there are two possibilities here – either Gregg is talking about two different guitars, one being a J-200 (which he had mistaken for a 1929 model) and other one being a Gibson oval hole archtop, or he is talking about one single guitar (which he had mistaken for a J-200). But, since Gregg actually owned and played a Gibson J-200 guitar himself, it is likely that he would know what that guitar looks like, so the first possibility seems more likely.

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access_time 1969

1930s Dobro Wood-body

Duane bought this guitar in 1969 from George Gruhn (GTR, Fourth Avenue, Nashville) for $350. The guitar was made by a Chicago-based company called Regal, that manufactured resonator guitars licensed by Dobro. I remember selling a Dobro to Duane Allman in 1969. At that time, a fancy Dobro was only $350. And Duane paid me at the rate of $50 every other week. Music was not a lucrative career for him at that time. […]

access_time 1969

1930s National Duolian

Duane was photographed playing this guitar in the late 60s/early 70s, but according to Gregg Allman, he owned another one – both of which ended up with Gregg after Duane’s death. He later gave one of them to Eric Clapton and the other one to Ronnie Wood. [Gregg Allman: Organic Acoustic, Guitar World Acoustic, p.84][Alan Paul, One Way Out, p. 78] Based on Chris Darrow’s recollection, it is possible to track down when exactly Duane purchased […]

access_time 1967

1960s Gibson J-45

This guitar didn’t actually belong to Duane but to his brother Gregg, but due to the historical importance, we decided to include it in the list nonetheless. Duane gave this Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar to Gregg after trading it for his Telecaster that he played at the time. To learn more about the Telecaster, please visit our article about Duane Allman’s 1950s Fender Telecaster. He [Duane] traded his main road-ax – […]

access_time 1970

1940s Kalamazoo KGN-12

Duane was photographed playing this guitar in his hotel room in Spartanburg, South Carolina on October 17, 1970. Unfortunately, aside from those photos, the guitar is practically a mystery. From the looks of it, it appears to be a vintage Kalamazoo, model KGN-12, but we haven’t been able to find any background story behind it. It could’ve been just something Duane picked up while on to the road. Embed from Getty Images

access_time 1969

1960s Gibson Dove

Duane was seen with this guitar on a photo of him sleeping right next to it, taken at a hotel room sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. That photo is the only instance where Duane was pictured with the guitar, so we can’t say for sure that it was he himself who owned it. This particular Gibson acoustic is easily identifiable by the white dove on the pickguard, which is of […]

access_time 1970

Martin D-18

According to Gregg Allman, Duane oned a Martin D-18 that looked “very dark – sort of dark mahogany color”. [Gregg Allman: Organic Acoustic, Guitar World Acoustic, p.84][Alan Paul, One Way Out, p. 79] Unfortunately, since that is the only time that this guitar has ever been mentioned by anyone, there’s really nothing else to be said about it. We don’t know whether Duane actually used it, how long he had […]

access_time 1969

1960s Gibson Heritage

According to Galadrielle Allman [Galadrielle Allman, Please Be With Me, p. 182] Duane bought this guitar together with his Les Paul Goldtop and a Marshall amp, probably sometime in early to mid-1969 (the exact date of purchase is unknown). He was seen with the guitar on two photos in total – although it is impossible to confirm whether this is actually one exact same J-45 or two of them. One of the photos was […]

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