1930s Kay Kraft "Nick Lucas" 00-Size Deep Body Guitar

While these x-braced, "Nick Lucas"-style, Kay-made guitars in their Hawaiian squarneck forms (with Oahu branding) are not extremely rare, I've never seen an original "Spanish neck" version in the flesh before this one. It even sports the cool "Kay Kraft" branding to boot!

If you know old Kays from this time, you also know that the necks can be frustratingly-squirrely. This one, however, was built right and even with its shallow-ish (for the time) and Martin-like profile, is dead straight and stable in service. Thank the gods! I took one look at this guitar when it first came in and was estimating the cost to remove the fretboard and install additional reinforcement rods. I'm so thankful I didn't have to do that.

Anyhow, what that means is that one can fully enjoy this instrument as it now plays spot-on after repairs. These have a big, robust, aggressive, woody sound that's loud and full and in your face. It's not "sculpted" or "sweet" like a Martin but has a ton of mids-punch -- more like a Gibson -- and is really its own thing because that tone is matched with a long scale that makes it snappy and carrying. You can run 11s on these guitars and they "act" like something between 12s and 13s on your average flattop. It's interesting.

For those who like down-tuning, that extra scale length and deep body helps quite a bit. One can run 13s on one of these and tune down to C# and it will sound like a big old piano.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, minor adjustment to the bridge, new compensated bone saddle, setup, etc.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: mahogany

Bracing type: x

Bridge: ebony

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 52w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 15, 11 custom set

Neck shape: medium C/soft V

Board radius: 14"

Truss rod: non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: narrow/lower

Scale length: 25 11/16"

Nut width: 1 13/16"

Body width: 14 1/2"

Body depth: 4 3/4"

Weight: 4 lbs 1 oz

Condition notes: for its age, this guitar is in fantastic shape. It does have a number of repaired top cracks (cleated and filled) -- a few below the bridge running to the endblock and a couple under the pickguard. They're all stable and good to go. There's also a picture of "under the pickguard" in the photos, too. Otherwise, there's light wear to the finish here and there from general handling in the body and a fair amount of playwear/scratching on the back of the neck as well. The finish is also "weather-checked" throughout as-normal for guitars from the age. The bridge pins, endpin, and saddle are replacements. I was initially thinking that the bridge was a replacement as it's nicely-cut and ebony and better than the usual rosewood ones (of the same shape) I find on this type of guitar, but after pouring-over photos online it now appears to be original to me. Everything else appears original as well save what I mentioned above. The ebonized fretboard has a number of small fill jobs around where the neck was reset both by the previous repairman and here. This material gets extremely mealy as it ages and chip-prone so this is often the case.

It comes with: I actually don't have a case for this guitar that fits, but I will ship it in something functional -- at least a chip case.


Nick R said…
A nice mahogany Style A with the Spanish neck. I have the Spanish neck Style B- maple body and a fair few extra dot markers and the neck appears to be identical to this one- but it has Page banjo tuners which hold tune nicely when they settle down. These guitars do have a great voice and are great looking instruments, all right.