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1930s Kay Kraft Style A Venetian Vintage Archtop Acoustic Guitar, Stromberg-Voisinet


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Up for sale, a 1930's Kay Kraft Venetian Style A vintage acoustic guitar in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Produced by Kay in Chicago, the Style A is a unique round soundhole archtop design with a solid pressed spruce top, maple back and sides, and a mahogany neck. Originally introduced by the Stromberg-Voisinet company in the 1920s, the Kay company was established in 1931 from the assets of S-V, continuing the lineage of the Venetian model, which owes its body shape to the Venetian mandolin.

The Venetian Style A was designed with an unconventional neck tilt system that rotates along a contoured wedge, allowing the angle to be adjusted by loosening a butterfly nut inside the soundhole on the heel block. The sound is well-suited to Blues or Gypsy Jazz lead work, offering a bold, bouncy midrange character. The guitar is very punchy across all strings and in all registers, with a sweetness in the treble range that’s present yet never overly bright. The wound strings deliver a touch of smooth growl when you dig in hard with a flatpick, offering a taut, defined sound. The guitar is featherweight at 3lbs 14oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar and dialed in with fresh phosphor bronze strings and comfortable action.

The mahogany neck has a deep V profile carve with natural palm wear through the nitro central to the V and on the fretboard edges. The profile measures .875" deep at the 1st fret and 1.130" at the 9th. The dyed maple fretboard retains the original slender banjo frets which show just a hint of wear on the crowns of frets 1-3, with a couple isolated spots of light wear into the fretboard itself in this area as well. The scale length measures a full 25 7/8", and the bone nut measures 1 3/4" in width. The headstock features a pearloid veneer and the original gold Kay Kraft script text oriented vertically, complete with stock open gear strip tuners with white buttons. These tuners show modest surface patina and function smoothly and reliably.

The rosewood bridge has room for adjustment on both thumbwheels, and the neck set is ideal. There are a couple non-factory hash marks on top by the bridge feet denoting the position for correct intonation. The original nickel trapeze tailpiece is intact, and the lower bout of the top retains the original gold filigree work, with some wear through the graphics where the forearm crosses the top. There is also a small "E" pick-shaped decal on top, ostensibly the only one of three small letters still intact, as many catalogs offered personalization of your guitars in this era with small pick-shaped letters for the player's initials.
The arched pressed spruce top features a warm brown Sunburst finish with extremely tight and prominent lacquer checking on the body as a whole. The finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting various scuffs and minor marks, mostly relegated to the back and sides and consistent with careful use. The guitar is crack-free save for a couple tiny repaired splits on top extending from the two pickguard mounting holes.

A gigbag is included.