6/27/2013

c.1945 Kay Size 5 Tenor Guitar



Ah, man, what a cutie! I'd worked on this tenor guitar a few years ago and now it's back in the shop as part of the "Skanktone Collection" sale. I just gave it a fresh fret level/dress, setup, and a new firestripe pickguard (patterned after the original shape's "ghost" on the top) and it looks just great!

This is a size 5 (just a big bigger than a baritone uke) tenor and has a long 22 7/8" scale length. It's got a solid spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck. The radiused board and bridge are both Brazilian rosewood. It plays great and has a chimey, parlor-guitar-sounding (no surprise there, it's ladder-braced) tone that suits blues and folk stylings well.

For anyone coming from uke or baritone uke, this sounds great in "Chicago" (DGBE) tuning but also sounds great (and brighter) in standard CGDA tuning. I wouldn't want to use this for octave mandolin (GDAE) tuning, though, as the small body limits the bass range on this fella.

As I recall, when I did work on this a while back, I topcoated the top of the guitar as the original finish had been sanded here and there. There's a lot of scuffs and small scratches and use-wear throughout, but no cracks. A good little workhorse!

...and, this is also the only one of these I've seen.


The top and back are bound in tortoise celluloid and the new pickguard matches that aesthetic. I love this body shape: it's so appealingly-curvy and the big soundhole means it has a lot of presence!


Everything on the guitar is original. Note the nice Kay "K" decal. Original bone nut.


Plastic face-dots, brass medium-big frets.



I think I may have reglued this bridge, too? I remember installing those pearl dots in the #1 and #6 string positions. Maybe there were bolts there, before? Either way, that bridge is on there nice and pat.






Nice, simple tuners are lubed and work well.




This guitar was originally part of the Skanktone Guitars collection. Skanktone was run by Joe Schenkman of right-here-in-Rochester, Vermont, and specialized in fun, funky, wonky, and wild old guitars (among other things). He amassed a very cool personal collection that's been off-and-on stored for a number of years and now a fair number of the quirky and fun vintage items are being sold through Antebellum. Thanks for sharing the toys, Joe!

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