1930s Kay DeLuxe Schireson-Cone Resonator Guitar

This Kay DeLuxe resonator guitar is basically a same-era National El Trovador in everything but the important parts -- the branding at the headstock and the National cone and coverplate. In place of the National cone is a Schireson Brothers (rare, reverse biscuit-style) cone and a Kay/Chicagoland-style coverplate.

Compared to an El Trovador, this guitar has less overall volume and punch, but it does sound fun and has an outrageously cool vibe -- with a warm, lo-fi sort-of sound being produced which has a bit more sustain like a Dobro cone. I really, really like it as a fingerpicking guitar that you might use a bit in an evening with a bottleneck slide in open tunings.

It has the same body aas the Trova, though, with its very-cool, long, 12-fret body shape and ply mahogany used throughout. The neck is mahogany as well and it has striking, quite-long f-hole cuts.

It arrived here needing a neck reset, fret work, and setup-side work and that's just what it got. Unfortunately, the neck adds relief (ie, small amount of warp) when tuned to pitch (even with the lightweight 50w-11 strings that are on it) so the action, at best and without buzzing, runs 3/32" overall at the 12th fret. I shoot for lower on the treble side, but this is close enough and needs must!

How does that impact the playing? Well, most folks won't notice much of a difference, but for those of higher sensitivity, you will notice that you'll have to push down on the strings with just a hair more difficulty in the middle of the neck. Clearly, I'm not struggling in the video, though.

I did shoot a photo of the curious cone/bridge setup, which is something I've adapted with National-style cones flipped upside-down for use inside baritone ukulele resonator  conversions in the past.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, cleaning, setup.


Body: ply mahogany

Cone type: reverse biscuit (Schireson Brothers cone)

Bridge: maple

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: mahogany


Action height at 12th fret:
3/32" overall at the 12th fret
String gauges: 52w-11 gauges

Neck shape: medium V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium


Scale length: 25 3/4"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 14 1/2"

Body depth: 3 7/8"

Weight: 5 lbs 1 oz


Condition notes: it's pretty beat-up throughout with binding crackled and dilapidating throughout. I've stabilized where I can, though. There's a ton of playwear throughout, though, as well, and minor tarnish and/or pitting to various mechanical bits. All hardware save a tiny screw here and there appears original. I reset the neck to suit the original height of the saddle and so it has a "full original saddle" intact, though I did add extra compensation to it.


It comes with: a good hard case.






















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