c.1960 Kay 000-size Guitar

I've worked on a number of these 000-size, round-shouldered Kay guitars. They've all been ladder-braced with solid spruce tops and laminate maple (or mahogany) back and sides. The necks tend to be thinner (for their time) side to side (ie, nut width) but a little more substantial than normal front to back with a D shape. I've never seen one with a truss rod like on this guy, but judging from the unmolested (long-tail) metal "Kay" badge at the headstock, I'm wondering if the truss may have been an aftermarket installation especially with the questionable truss cover.

I fixed this one up for a customer and that meant a fret level/dress, new rosewood bridge, new bone nut and saddle, new ebony pins, an entirely new below-soundhole brace on the top, some hairline crack cleating (some amateur crack repair had been done before me), and of course a full setup. This guitar has a pretty long scale (25 7/8") so I stuck to a set of 50w-11 strings to keep the ladder-braced top happy. Action is spot-on at 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble at the 12th fret and it has a good, warm, forward sort of sound. I think it's an ideal old-timey chord-pounding guit.

The sunburst finish with all that weather-check to the finish is pretty low-brow great.

Rosewood, radiused, bound board with mid-large brass frets. Plastic dots are inlaid.

Isn't the "checker" binding cool?

I've been using a Fender/Guild standard-issue rosewood "parlor guitar" parts bridge to replace old "straight" bridges on Kays, Regals, and Harmony products of late. What's nice about them is the generous saddle slot that makes it easy for me to cut a bone saddle from scratch to fit and also the low-profile front that makes it useful for replacing lower, old-style bridges.

Note the funny black button -- beggars can't be choosers, I suppose, as it was the only button type I had on hand that could be free and fit onto these cheesy old (original) tuners with their strange boxy shafts. The "button" on that shaft when the guitar came in consisted of a bolt and washer clamped onto it! -- not very practical.

1 comment:

Josh said...

I have one of these, but with the wraparound bridge and it has the same truss rod and cover, so it looks like it was production.