c.1940 Kay O-size Mahogany "Parlor" Guitar

How's this for a rare guitar? I've never seen a Kay like this before, and it's an excellent little bluesy, folky box. It's sort of a Kay-style take on an early 30s Martin O-17, being a 12-fret, all-mahogany, 13" lower bout guitar. The "binding" is painted on in a sort of slatey brown color, which is typical of the Kay-made Oahu lap steel guitars, but something I've never seen on acoustics. Of course, being a Kay build and not high-end, it's ladder-braced, which gives it that woody, sustained, and rich sort of honky blues tone -- this makes it a great fingerpicker, for sure.

Can you tell I like it?

My work included a fret dress, new fret saddle, cleaning, and bridge re-glue, as well as setup, etc. Neck joint is great. It's all-original except for the tuners, which are like 60s era Japanese replacements, but do look right on it. It's also missing its end-pin, which would have probably been cream plastic.

Original bone nut.

Duh! Forgot to mention the coolest bit about it is that the fretboard is ironically truly bound in celluloid tortoise. The fretboard itself is some sort of painted-on wood grain, which is kind of cool and bizarre. Very 40s retro. Real MOP dots in the board.

Brass frets.

The sunburst-all-over mahogany is super looking and has great grain. It's all-solid, too, unlike later laminated Kay products.

Good rosewood bridge with original pins. The bridge had been a little mucked up so I shaved it level, polished it out, and installed a new fret saddle like on the older 20s/30s Regals and Kays, which imparts a slightly mellower tone for mahogany (bone will brighten hog up a lot, which contradicts the point of a hog guitar in my opinion...).

Fun 40s Kay logo.

It's got no cracks, which is fantastic.

I thought these tuners were total junk -- that is, until I lubed them -- and now they work perfectly, look right, and hold tune.


Anonymous said...


I have a gorgeous G String C1 Concert Ukulele I got in 2007, which is still in perfect condition w/ hard case (see sales blurb below). Would you be interested in trading even up for the Kay mahogany parlor guitar + I'll pay shipping? Looks just like the pics on the Bounty Music website.


C1-Concert GString Koa Ukulele: Concerts are joined at the 14th fret rather than the traditional 12th. This places the bridge in a "sweeter" spot for better interaction withh the soundboard and gives the player more access to the higher registers.

Includes Lanikai Hardshell case to protect your beautiful koa uke!

$850.00 (retail)

Anonymous said...

She still around? purcell566@hotmail

Fartytwo said...

I have the exact same model, although not quite as pretty. Absolutely awesome old-timey blues sound!!!!