10/24/2010

c.1950 Kay X-Braced Dreadnought Guitar


Now, I don't know exactly the year of manufacture on this fellow, but similar ones seem to date from the late 1940s and 1950s. I know that there were not a lot of this model made as I haven't seen many at all. It's essentially Kay's take on a D-18, including the wide dreadnought body shape, x-braced top (yessir!), 14-fret neck, and mahogany back/sides with spruce top combo. Fretboard and bridge are rosewood and both the saddle and nut are newer replacements of corian-like material.

This guitar was built in Chicago.


This guitar has that D-18 bright and boomy tone, with fast response. Neck is quick and feels like an older Martin, too. Obviously some influence going on here... no?

Pickguard is screwed on and the glued-on bridge has some bolt reinforcements (all factory standard).


Funky 50s-style Kay raised headstock ornament. These always fall off at some point.


Oh right, fretboard is bound, too, with (faux?) pearl dots. Brass frets. Rosewood board.


Soundhole is bound in black with b/w/b rings inlaid for a rosette.


Newer bridge pins.



Has top and back binding with b/w/b purfling.


These are new Kluson repros. The guitar came to me with some junky 60s Japanese tuners. I removed them and the original footprints of single-unit Klusons were underneath the 3-on-a-plate tuners I removed... so I put these new repros in exactly the same spots with exactly the same original screw holes as the originals... yes... and even cocked one a little "off" just like the original footprint...


Good heel join. Had a strap button installed that I removed. Another could easily be put there, though.



Back and sides are mahogany... not sure if it's laminate or not but my guess would be that it is, as you don't often see one-piece mahogany backs that large.



Finish is peeling on the sides, but not flaking off. Typical weather effects.


Original end pin. Someone had a tailpiece on this at one point, but it was long gone when I picked it up as a trade-in.

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