1950s Kay K-27 X-Braced Jumbo Guitar (Lefty-ized)




I've worked on K-27s in the past and they're basically the coolest of the old '50s Kay flattops. They're heavy, jumbo-sized guitars and feature x-braced tops. They sound a bit like a "rustic J-200" in that they've got a good, chunky, rumbly bottom-end and a plainspoken voice. They make killer chord-bangers, of course.

Features include a solid spruce top, ply-flamed-maple back and sides, tons of pearl inlay in the headstock and fretboard, an ebony fretboard and bridge, fancy multi-ply binding, and a sunburst finish on the back and sides. 

This one came in the shop for conversion to lefty and slimming-up of the neck and that's just what I've done -- plus added a new set of tuners and some other minor work. I think it sounds just as good swapped-around this way as it did before... but you can clearly hear my confused hands in the video clip.

Repairs included: lefty conversion (nut mod, saddle slot fill/recut to drop-in lefty slot, new saddle), mild cleaning-up of the bridge, a fret level/dress, new Gotoh Kluson-style tuners (it had junk "Ping"-style tuners when it came in), neck reshape/speed-necking, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays bang-on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. The neck has a natural "backbow" at rest, so it could probably handle mediums with no issue, too, despite its quite long scale length. The fretboard drops-off starting at fret 11, however.

Scale length: 25 3/4"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20 3/4"
Lower bout width: 17 1/4"
Waist width: 10"
Upper bout width: 12 1/4"
Side depth at endpin: 4 1/2"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: ply flamed maple
Bracing type: x-braced, 2 tonebars
Fretboard: ebony, bone nut
Bridge: ebony, replacement bone saddle
Neck feel: slim-to-medium C-shape, ~12" board radius

Condition notes: the bridge has some tiny hairline cracks that were repaired in the past during a prior reglue but have slight openings along the pins at tension. It'll go bang at some point but it's good to go for now (and probably many years). Of course, the guitar's been converted to lefty as well. The tuners are non-original but are similar to what would've been on it originally. The pins, saddle, and pearl dots in the bridge are also non-original. The back of the neck was originally finished in sunburst but I've "speed-necked" it to natural with a few thin sealer coats rather than touching it up after reshaping it.
















Comments

Nick R said…
What exactly is the Kay Kantilever truss rod adjustment all about?

I have one of these- from the early 60s- so it is an 8127 and its tone is incredible.