1960s Kay-made Airline "Calypso" 000-Size Guitar

It's been years since I've had one of these in the shop. While this one is branded Airline, it was made by Kay in Chicago. Kay called it the "Calypso" model (click here to see and hear one strung with steel) and it features a classical-style neck, uncompensated saddle slot, and classical-style bridge. That said, I think this was intended as a Martin "New Yorker"-style instrument -- meant to be able to be strung with nylon or steel.

The owner of this one plays it with nylon so that's how I set it up and it does sound good this way. Despite that, though, it's an x-braced guitar and will handle lightish steel sets with no issue. These have a long scale, though -- near 26" length -- so I suggest 11s and under for stringing with steel.

Work was average -- a neck reset, fret level/dress, new saddle and saddle-slot adjustments, cleaning, and setup. It's now playing tip-top and is ready to go.

Back and sides are ply mahogany, the top is solid spruce, the neck is poplar, and the bridge and board are rosewood.


Nick R said…
The Kay catalogue blurb stated that it is strung with steel strings but can be "used with gut or nylon strings". I suppose if you find one that was always strung that way, you will not be presented with a good example of the "Kay Curve" in the neck! $65 in 1962- the "Country Model" the dreadnought size was $72-50, so this model was a mid-range priced guitar from Kay.