5/01/2014

c.1950 Kay-made 000-size Flattop Guitar




The headstock decal is long gone on this guitar as well! This is a customer's instrument and it's a mid-40s or early-50s Kay-made 000-size (15"+ lower bout) guitar. The top is ladder braced and it was in pretty decent shape though the neck needed a reset and the bridge needed replacing. The frets also got leveled and dressed, it got new bridge pins and replacement tuners (there were none on it) and a new bone (compensated) saddle.

Because of the long scale (25 3/4") and ladder-braced top I've got 50w-11s on it but I think it could handle 12s. I'm more worried about the neck as Kays (being unreinforced) tend to start to warp over time with that long scale length. This one is nice and straight and has the typical Kay neck shape which is somewhat narrow at the nut (a hair over 1 5/8") but has a "baseball bat" back shape. I don't think of them as "large" in my hands due to the narrow side-to-side width which means I can easily "thumb over" on it.



It's got a good strong sound that's a lot more fun to listen to from the listener's point of view. The player hears mostly mid-range chime and sparkle while the listener gets more of the lower-mids and sweet sustain. Many ladder-braced guitars are like this and especially ones with tight, small soundholes like this guy which seem to just "punch" out.

I love the Spartan look of this thing, though!


Bone nut, usual Kay headstock shape. The ferrules are original at least.


Bound rosewood board with brass frets and plastic dots. It has a mild radius to it, too.


This would've had a screw-mounted pickguard, originally. I backfilled the screwholes, however.


The new rosewood bridge looks right in place.


As usual for a Kay from these times, the back and sides are laminate mahogany rather than solid. The top is solid, however.


The maple neck sports new Kluson-style repro tuners. The originals, as you can see, were also Kluson-style machines.



Neck set is all good to go, now... and it looks like someone either had a screw or a strap button in the heel at some point.





Hm! Tailpiece hanger holes. Curious. I added the replacement endpin from my used parts stock.

No comments: