c.1940 Kay "Del Oro" Cowboy Stencil 00 Guitar

 Oh man, I was pretty excited when I found this old Kay build while rummaging around online. I've never seen another one like it! This is a 00-size (14 1/2" lower bout) 12 fret from around 1940 or so and not only sports an awesome two-tone (white/green) cowboy-scene stencil on the lower bout but it also has a faux-rosewood board with fancy stencils down the neck and a seriously-great two-tone (again cream/green) pickguard. It's a feast for the eyes!

If you're into cowboy guits you know just how cool this one is compared to the normal Harmony, one-color stencil models that are much more common. It got a full go-through from me which included a new bridge, saddle, nut, and pins as well as a fret level/dress and new Kluson-style tuners. I also drop-filled a couple of stable hairline cracks on the top, cleaned it up, and checked out a few old seam repairs (all good) and a longer hairline crack repair on the back (also good) which were already done when I got it.

It's come out of work playing perfectly and has that sort of rumbly, mid-rangey Kay pin-bridge tone I'm a bit used to from the plethora of all-mahogany Hawaiian-decal guitars I've worked on in the past. The difference is this one has a bit more bass due to that bigger lower bout.

This guit had some lame Chinese-made tuners on it when I got it so the repro Kluson-style units are a big improvement.

How about those stencils?

I added a third (correct-looking) screw to the pickguard so it wouldn't vibrate against the top when playing hard.

New rosewood bridge, ebony pins, and synthetic saddle. The old bridge was simply not useful anymore.

Gosh I love this scene. Miss 3-year-old Oona loves it, too. What's not to like about a big old roping scene emblazoned across your strum-box?

The whole body is solid birch in construction. The neck is probably poplar or maple. The whole thing is "sunbursted" throughout.

The neck was nice and snug when it came to me.

The "Parisian eye" pin was there when I got it, but definitely not original.


Jeff Baum said...

I have the exact same guitar .it does need new tuners and the pin on the bottom for the strap.the rest of it seems pretty solid.would it diminish the value to replace those parts? I have tried to find what the value of the instrument is but no luck.I am not selling as this was given to me by my great Grandpa and I have played with this since I was a kid definitely keeping it in the family just wondering if I should make the Repair's? Any suggestions would be helpful.thank you.

Jake Wildwood said...

Not worth much $$, maybe a few hundred bucks fixed up. Fix it up if you want to play it and keep it in good health. Replacement parts aren't going to hurt value, but it's best to try to get them looking more or less right. StewMac makes nice replacement vintage-style tuners that're pre-aged in looks.