Gibson Prototypic E(H)-150 1935
Here is a little gem that was actually a Christmas gift from my girlfriend...a very rare find/gift. If one reviews the early model
Gibson 1936 E-150 Transitional E-150 you will note it is FON 433-2, one of a transitional batch from prototype to production model. This E-150 is even earlier. It is FON 432-2 and is most likely the second prototypic piece produced after the actual prototype. It is the earliest documented piece with many nuances that will be covered at a later time. According to Gibson pundits, 432-2 is 'unique' and only photos have been seen of this one and 432-18 and 19. 18 and 19 are still transitional and rare, but are more like 433-2 in that the laminated sides are mortised into the neck block. The screen-print logo, non-ornamented peghead, dimensions and metal gauge around the volume pot are clearly different than production models.
It is very rare to have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of most prewar pieces. Typically pieces are sold at auctions, or passed from owner to owner without much thought about who may actually purchased the piece.
I am lucky enough to have information from the original owner's daughter-in-law discussing this historic piece. Below is an excerpt from Mrs. Debra Tydd.
'My father-in-law was Glendon Tydd (1919-2007).
In WWII he worked repairing war planes; he could not be in active service because he was deaf in his left ear (from childhood measles).
He was a proud Scout and Scout Leader. He took on several challenging scout troops, including Inuit children who came to Hamilton in the 1950's for treatment of their TB an and troops with M.S. He was also a school crossing guard and volunteer reader at an elementary school. He worked as a mailman for many years.
Glendon played his lap steel on CHML radio in Hamilton, Ontario and taught students as well. He enjoyed singing in church choirs, and even won second place in an Ontario seniors' Country singing competition in the 1990's. He was a friend to Country singer Michelle Wright.'
The following photos capture changes in the very first ideas in the evolution of the maple e-150 body before becoming a somewhat streamline model by 1937. Note there are changes in volume/tone positions, magnets and headstock ornamentation very soonafter. However, these photos display the birth of this piece.
Tuners - early Kluson
Logo - painted "Gibson", not pearl inlay
Back panel - prototypic has two-piece horizontal flat maple panel
* pieces following immediately afterwards have two-piece vertical flat maple panels
Body - prototypic has solid body (non-laminated sides) from base through neck, as it was formed from a single piece of maple.
* 2nd style displays a highly unusual mortising of laminated sides joining the lower sides of the neck block. Hereafter, the sides will gently curve into the top of the neck as seen on typical Gibson EH's.
Screw count - Very early models will display 24 cobalt blue screws. Soonafter, the count will be 12 and then zero, with the back panel being glued to the body.