1950s Kay K-27 Fancy X-Braced Jumbo Guitar
This big, beautiful, busted old dream is a late '40s or early '50s Kay K-27. I worked on this last back in 2010 and it's been run ragged and raw from plenty of use since then. An advert was pasted on the lower bout, the bridge I put on fell off and we had it setup for tailpiece load for its owner for a while, it had a soundhole pickup in and out a few times, and then it say still for ages.
It came back in-shop in a vague trade-sense around December and my friend Rob fell in love with it. The funny thing is that I was completely aware of how excellent this guitar could be but he had no idea how it would turn-out. I remembered that it was one of the best-sounding jumbos I've ever played and I've played a lot of great jumbos. Most Kay jumbos are ladder-braced and sound lackluster, but the K-27 is x-braced in a sort-of Gibson-like fashion and that, mixed with its huge size and super-long 25 7/8" scale length, means it sounds authoritative. It makes you break-out into a grin the moment you play it.
This turned-out to be a perfect project for my young deck hand Ancel to do the major lifting on and he and I spent a good amount of time getting it back up to snuff by way of a fresh neck reset and joint repair, new ebony bridge and bone saddle, fret level/dress work, minor seam repairs, tons of cleaning, and setup work. It's now a perfect player to suit its run-ragged, friendly looks.
Past repairs (not done-over again) included a refinish to black on the top (it had been sanded/poorly refinished when I first got it) that has now been worn-in to suit its age. I'm surprised that all the bracing has held-up so well -- I've never had to reglue a single piece of it as far as I can recall.
Yes, this is a big old 17" jumbo body.