Kay Guitar Rehabilitation

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Jimmy MAck, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Jimmy MAck

    Jimmy MAck Member

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    I bought a funky little early 60-ish Kay Thinline guitar. It's hollow, about the size and shape of a Les Paul, very cool checkered binding, black original finish, and a big ol' Kay neck.

    It was $225.00 but needs a few things, like frets and maybe a new bridge.

    Original pickups are the chrome humpback (speed bump) type very popular back then on the Kay "Speed Demon" and Silvertone guitars. Everything works on this, and the tone is lo-fi but swampy - cool.

    I'm looking for ideas on how to turn this into a bluesy gigging machine. The top has some glue damage to the finish. And I don't mind modding it.

    New bridge type?? Pickup upgrade?? Most likely a new pick guard designed to cover the glue damage.

    Any links, or forums where Kay lovers hang out?

    Thanks in advance. Photos as soon as I can get them
     
  2. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Supporting Member

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    Bridge probably was originally wood archtype style adustable on 2 screws. Any mods would kill any value and probably be pointless. Some pi x might help. One exception would be a refret to make Chicago K and Harmony guitars more usable.
     
  3. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

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    Well it will probably need some fretwork but a re-fret may not be necessary. Any pickup swaps would be difficult unless you're willing to hack it up a bit.

    I have a Kay Swingmaster, either a '59 or '60. It has the Kleenex box pickups like on the Barney Kessel models. I considered getting an adjustable bridge for it as I was having intonation issues, but ended up just sanding the bridge to get it there, and it's fine now. I also did refret it. I use it all the time, it's a great guitar, but it is old and quirky. It has the biggest range of sounds from where you pick and across the neck than any other guitar I've played, could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use it. I get more compliments than I did with my ES-175 worth 4 times as much...
     
  4. Jimmy MAck

    Jimmy MAck Member

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    Well if you look at the frets, this guitar has been played right down to the fretboard!

    Maybe that's why it sounds and feels so warm and friendly.

    The bridge is some Frankenstein contraption right now. Maybe a Tune-o-matic would be more serving. I'd like to beef up its output, that's why I'd like to find some Pickup alternatives. P90's, Reissue gold foils, rewound originals? Trying not to spend a lot of money - just to see if it will come around.

    The neck is substantial but the body wood is - how shall we say? - wanting.

    I never figured on any "real" value to this guitar, and it needs cosmetic repair, so why not cut into it a little, to enhance its character?
     

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