1950s Kay K90 Woodbody Resonator Guitar

I've worked on a few of these in the past, but the last two were both older instruments and both had the wider, full-size, stamped/ribbed 9 1/2" National resonator cone installed. They also both had the thinner, faster neck profile that tends to warp over time due to the extra-long Kay scale length and poplar material of the neck.

Anyhow, this one has a chunky C-shaped neck with a tight-radius fretboard, appealing orange-looking face dots, and the smaller 8" National cone that's found in so many of National/Valco's '60s thin-body resonator guitars. The tonal difference is actually not as great as you'd think and, ironically, this smaller cone has the mellower, warmer sound to my ears. The 9 1/2" cones are a bit more fiery and spanky with bright upper-mids while this guy is more relaxed and warm. That's warm -- for a resonator guitar, anyhow.

I think this "archtop" body shape and "mini jumbo" size make a fantastic resonator box and, in a funny way, I actually think I might prefer this style to any of the National-branded woodbody guitars I've played. That said -- I don't play delta blues or slide all day, either, so my preferences are skewed by how I'd actually use the guitar -- mostly open-tuned flatpicking or fingerpicking without slide.

Unfortunately, Kay's quality control was abysmal and the rout/soundwell in relation to the neck's scale length is almost always off by quite a bit. I've taken to just slightly-trimming the cone's foot on these so they fit in such a way to allow for good intonation of the saddle. It's a little underhanded but a lot more practical than having to cross your fingers and re-route huge sections of the soundwell to move something 1/8" from where the factory set the soundwell incorrectly.

Repairs included: fret level/dress, bolt-reinforcement for neck joint, side dots, cone modification/seating, setup, new tuners for the headstock

Top wood: ply spruce

Back & sides wood: ply mahogany

Bracing type: ladder/soundwell

Bridge: maple/maple

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 52w-12 custom lights

Neck shape: medium-big C

Board radius: ~10"

Truss rod: none/non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-lower

Scale length: 25 7/8" (!)

Nut width: 1 5/8"

Body width: 15 3/8"

Body depth: 3 3/4"

Weight: 6 lbs 5 oz

Condition notes: it's mostly-original but has a replacement tailpiece. Both strap buttons are also new. I had to move the coverplate after the cone had to move for intonation reasons. The tuners are also new but relic'd.

It comes with: dsfsdfds