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1934 Gibson Recording King Model 681 Flat Top

Gibson started building guitars for Montgomery Ward in 1929 under the Recording King brand. The Model 681 flat top appeared just once in the 1934 catalog and was quickly discontinued. Spann’s Guide to Gibson lists this guitar’s factory order number as a “1934 L-00 and Recording King” batch. Paul Fox’s book on Gibson’s other brands states this model was made only during 1934-35.

The rarity of this guitar is only exceeded by the condition and though others may exist, at the time of publishing this listing, we are aware of no other documented examples of this extraordinarily rare Gibson. Search the web and the only image you’ll find is the catalog – no pictures of actual guitars. We are excited to show that one of these Model 681 guitars has survived and in such stunning original condition and finally share real pictures and videos of this special depression era flat top guitar.

The 681 is unlike any other Gibson model. The body features maple back and sides with a ladder braced Adirondack spruce top. And although this is a flat top guitar, it uses a floating ebony bridge and tailpiece. All hardware is original and matches the catalog image including the original celluloid pick guard. The top is finished in the classic 1934 small sunburst pattern. The neck is mahogany with a comfortable slim V carve.

Marketed as “budget” guitars… most Recording Kings are actually fancier than their Gibson counterparts. The 681 is no exception with bound fingerboard and body binding on front and back compared to a contemporary L-00 with binding only on the top.

This guitar is completely crack free and in absolutely stunning cosmetic condition. Florida luthier Ross Teigen performed his usual excellent setup, positioning the bridge for correct intonation and setting the action for best tone.

This is truly a collector-grade instrument and a worthy addition to any Gibson aficionado’s depression era¬†assemblage.

Check out the videos of Frank Corso picking the blues on this sensational guitar…

  • Year: 1934
  • Manufacturer: Gibson
  • Model: Recording King 681 Flat Top
  • Case: Vintage Style Hardshell
  • Color: Shade Top
  • Condition: Oh la la