11/05/2015

1930s Kay-made 0-Size Mahogany Tenor Guitar


Yesterday was a wild, fun day full of customer visitation and "quick" setup work for various folks. This is one of the guitars that came for a visit -- and despite the "Rydal" branding, it's a Kay/Stromberg Voisinet product. The solid mahogany body is built and ladder-braced the same way as the 6-string version of this guitar (mated to a standard 6-string neck or Hawaiian squarenecks), though the shorter-scale tenor neck brings the bridge up slightly higher which may actually be better for top stability, anyhow.

Although I didn't grab a soundclip, the tone of this (in the DGBE tuning it was setup for) was full and rich, with a boosted midrange that suits fingerpicking nicely and doesn't sound thin on flatpicked chords




This is that standard Kay "Gumby" headstock. Someone replaced the nut with ebony a while back and I replaced the junk Ping-style tuners that were on this with some freebie Rotomatics from my parts bin.


The frets got a level and dress while I was at this. 

Note that I'm not quite so fond of those later-addition plastic strap buttons.


Both Regal and Kay used this same white/black/cream soundhole rosette binding in the 30s and 40s.


The bridge was reglued in the past (and screwed into the top as well), but no one had ever done any proper intonation or compensation of the saddle area (as its original "fret saddle" was left in place). I quickly shaved the bridge top, recolored it, and cut a slot for a bone saddle... which I then compensated for the current tuning. The tone improvement was enormous after getting this sorted.



The mahogany used is nice, somewhat figured stuff.







Who knows what that extra hole is for...?

1 comment:

Aaron C Keim said...

I bet that extra hole was for a tailpiece!