Duane Allman’s Gibson Archtop Acoustic

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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