1930s Kay Kraft Style C 2-Point Archtop Guitar

The last I saw this guitar was in 2018 and it hasn't changed at all since then, setup-wise, though it did get a nice new nut put on up in Montreal. I'm lucky-enough to have it back here for consignment this time around as I could snag a video and at it to the "collection" for real.

Suffice to say, the Style C was the highest-grade Kay Kraft archtop built and this one is completely decked-out with "checker" binding, rosewood back and sides, fancy fretboard inlays, red side dots, the typical pearloid veneer, and the same type of banjo-style pegs found on early Martin OM guitars. In short -- aesthetically -- it's a show-stopper.

It also sounds better than every other Kay Kraft I've encountered -- it's got that "archtop" punch and bite but a warmer, more-open, rounder tone to it. It reminds me a lot of round-hole Martin archtops but with a little less velvet and a little more punch and mids. That's not surprising, though, because it sports a 12-fret body (with the bridge placed in the "sweet spot" and extra-long 25 7/8" scale length. The top is x-braced, too, lending it more warmth and a little bit of a flattop sort-of color palette compared to the ladder-braced versions. It's got an interesting mix of features.

That extra long scale means you can also string these pretty dang light (like a gypsy-jazz guitar) and I have this setup with 50w-11 gauges at the moment, though I believe the owner was running this with 54w-12 with no warp in the neck when it arrived back here. That says something in itself -- a lot of the lower-end Kay Krafts wind-up needing the fretboard removed and neck reinforcement added to keep them from warping when tuned up to pitch. This one is stable.

It's also "ready to go" as well since the work needed was all done in the past -- when the owner was last here I "locked" the neck position with a keeper-bolt installed internally at the heel. This keeps the adjustable neck joint from "drifting" like they tend to do, making the action rise uncontrollably. We also level/dressed the frets, fit a compensated bone saddle for the bridge, and set it up to play spot-on -- which is where it was when it returned this time.

The neck, by the way, is not for everyone -- it's wide and has a shallower front/back depth with a definite D-feeling to it. I like this for fingerpicking or for lead work where you want each note separate, clean, and clear. If you want this for jazz-chop backup, it feels nice but wrap-around-the-neck chords will choke-out due to a longer heel up near the 8th/9th fret.

The whole instrument, by the way, is relatively featherweight and a joy to handle in the lap -- it's 00-size but "feels" bigger and fuller to the ears and hands.

Repairs included: (previously) a neck-lock/reset, fret level/dress, new saddle, and setup work. Currently -- a restring.


Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: ply Indian rosewood

Bracing type: x

Bridge: ebonized maple

Fretboard: ebonized maple w/pearl inlay

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 50w-11 custom lights

Neck shape: medium-big C

Board radius: ~12"

Truss rod: non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-lower


Scale length: 25 7/8"

Nut width: 1 7/8"

Body width: 14 1/4"

Body depth: 3 5/8" + arching

Weight: 3 lbs 11 oz


Condition notes: it's all-original save the nut and saddle. It's also pretty dang clean for its age with only the usual mild-medium handling wear and tear along the edges and random scratches here and there all over. There's nothing egregious, though. Heck, just look at that rosewood glow, ya know?


It comes with: a non-fit hard case that serves for storage or light use.


























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