2/26/2016

1960s Kay "Old Kraftsman" K-1 Archtop Guitar



The same customer from the last post brought this guitar in, too. While clearly a Kay K-1 archtop per the old 50s/60s Kay catalogs, this one has the Spiegel catalog's "Old Kraftsman" branding. It's a 17" cutaway, jumbo box with a solid spruce top and laminate flamed maple back and sides. It's tonebar braced and notes simply leap out of this thing. It's got guts!

The neck is truss-rodded and has a fast, 60s Gibson-ish C-shaped profile, though the long 25 3/4" scale does give it a more tense feel in the strings. Work included a fret level/dress, recutting and fitting of the original bridge (and replacement thumbwheels), a new bone nut, and a good setup. This guitar was also intended and got a setup to be slide player but after work it has the "option" via dialing-down the thumbwheels of playing "regular" as well.




A rosewood, radiused board with plastic dots and binding...


...mixed into the nice rounded cutaway and triple-ply body binding.





Both the top and back are press-arched (heat and steam in a mold) into their shapes rather than carved.


The original Kluson tuners are still going strong.


The neck on this had some sort of reglue/reset in the past. The job was structurally sound but didn't jack the angle back very much and as a result I had to level the frets on the fretboard extension lower to remove the "ski jump" effect. Still, it was nice to not have to tell the owner his "beater archtop" truly needed a neck set to play decently.




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