1930s Kay-made Roundhole Archtop Guitar

This instrument is basically built in the "KayKraft" style, though it's a non-cutaway, 00/000-size body and has a squared headstock shape. It has a long 26" scale length and a ladder-braced, press-arched top. That gives it a ton of bite and punch with a raucous, midsy, zippy tone. It's a great "gypsy-jazz" or '40s songster vibe. It's lightweight and has seen some upgrades in its past which make it a more practical guitar than if it were all-original in specs.

Said upgrades to its neck include a new, two-piece fretboard installed by another repairman, new ivoroid binding on the sides of the neck, a new bone nut, and a neck reset. These were all done before me. However my job was to make it play correctly, as that was lacking when it came in for consignment.

Work included: a fret level/dress, side dots install, a cleat repair for one tiny 1 1/2" top crack, full compensation of the original bridge, cleaning, and a setup. Because of the long scale length (these are usually 25 7/8" and the replacement board makes this 26"), I strung it with 52w-11 gauges to keep the neck and tension happy. At such a long scale, normal "12s" have more tension than an average set of "13s" on a more-normal guitar. Action is bang-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret and the neck is straight and stable in service.

Scale length: 26"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 3/8"
String spacing at bridge: 2 3/16"
Body length: 18 3/4"
Lower bout width: 14 7/8"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 11"
Side depth at endpin: 3 5/8" (+ arching depth)
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: birch
Neck wood: poplar
Bracing type: ladder
Fretboard: unsure (rosewood-like?)
Bridge: ebonized pearwood, I think
Neck feel: med-big V, ~20 radius board

Condition notes: unoriginal fretboard and neck binding, some muck-up of the finish on the sides of the neck just under the lip of the board, minor scratches and scuffs to the finish on the body and neck, a replaced heel cap, and modified original bridge. There's one, repaired, tiny hairline crack on the top. One back braces has an old hairline crack in it, but it's stable.

It comes with: an old chip case.

Full compensation of the bridge keeps the ears happy as one plays up the neck.


Brandon McCoy said…
I had one like this but with the crazy neck mechanism. It needed work so I sold it off. Wish I’d have kept it. This looks killer.