1/07/2013

c.1960 Kay Swingmaster Hollowbody Electric Guitar


This fun old early 60s Kay Swingmaster is a customer's instrument and I'm glad he sent it to me for work. After a fairly heavy fret level/dressing, new bone nut, and setup... it came out quite the guitar. It's got that soothing old jazz tone right "out of the box," in this case because of the mellow low-output pickups combined with hollowbody construction and a set of flatwound strings with a wound G.


The only unoriginal parts are the new bone nut and this repro Kay emblem, supplied by the owner.


This guitar is all laminate: spruce for the top and flamed maple for the back and sides. The neck, on the other hand, is one hunk of solid maple.


Bound rosewood fretboard with plastic dots. This has the typical medium-large frets installed. I had to level them quite severely in the first 5-7 frets due to massive playwear. This got used!

...and on another note, this has that Kay "very long scale" length of 25 7/8" -- wowza! That almost puts this in the small baritone guitar scale (26") and certainly adds nice tension to a set of 50w-11s which seems to be on this right now.


Cool, covered single coil pickups. Note all the crackling of the finish. Very typical.


Original rosewood adjustable bridge, too.


Bound sides give a nice touch, as does the arching of the top and back.

This is a hollowbody guitar and so it does have some acoustic volume -- enough to practice with. 







The look is just too cool. The pickguard on this guy is missing but can't you just see a Gibson-style tortoise guard replacing it? That'd give this some serious old-school looks (typically these have glaring white pickguards).



Nice flamed maple veneer on the back.


A couple of the tuners have bent shafts but they still work just fine.


The owner thought this might need a neck reset, but fortunately the neck is perfectly stable in its pocket.

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