c.1940s Custom Kraft Archtop Guitar

Another post-war curiosity from our good friends at Kay. While the "binding" is painted on, this guitar has nice solid mahogany back and sides, a maple neck, ebony fretboard, and spruce top. Both top and back are arched. I've repaired cracks, reglued the neck, popped on some new Kluson-style tuners (the originals were botched), rigged up a bridge with a bone topper and parts-bin rosewood foot, new nut, and away we go.

And how's she play? Wow! Big sound, nice and strident, good volume, good action so it's easy on the hands... 26" scale gives it a good responsive tone. The neck profile feels like an old Martin... and the headstock shape echoes that. Interesting guitar, for sure. The ebony board is radiused a bit, too.

Missing its pickguard, obviously.

MOP dots.

Here's my bone and rosewood bridge. Plenty of sizzle and pop.

Like I said before... nice mahogany back and sides.

While the neck reset is nice and strong (and correct) the heel cap was offset a little which left a tiny gap right at the bottom. Sometimes I wonder about these old Kays... great materials, good build, great voice and feel, but like the painted "binding" -- sloppy here and there in the finished product.

Not bad grain on that solid mahogany slab, huh? It has some repaired hairlines but is downright good to go... and all one piece, too. Two braces are missing inside but it shows no inclination to change its shape. The important brace -- right in the middle of the belly -- is still there.

New Kluson repros. I love these things.

And despite a lot of playwear, the scuffs and scratches really didn't effect that original finish much.

...someone tried to play "doctor" on the tailpiece at one point. It's now dead center where it ought to be. Original ebony end pin.