Up for sale, a 1950's Kay Value Leader K6533 archtop electric guitar with a warm shaded Violin Brown nitro lacquer finish. Professionally setup, this Kay features traditional tonewood construction with a solid pressed spruce top, maple back and sides, and a maple neck capped with a thick slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard. With a 15 1/4" lower bout width, the guitar has a natural bold bark with a punchy midrange and boxy cut when you dig in hard. The original "pancake" pickup has been substituted for a different vintage single coil with an adjustable pole design, yielding a woody, clear, and percussive tone. Offering a dry character that holds together across the frequency spectrum particularly well, the guitar has a taut bass register and punchy trebles. Strung with phosphor bronze 12-53 strings, the guitar has optimal definition for fingerpicking and strumming alike. This Kay is a wonderful example of Mid-Century USA guitar craftsmanship and weighs a mere 3lbs 14oz.
The maple neck has a U profile carve with prominent shoulder and a substantial feel in every register, measuring .905” deep at the 1st fret and .930” at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood slab fretboard retains the original brass frets which show light uniform wear on the crowns of frets 1-5 and sparingly little wear further up the board. The scale length measures 25 5/8", and the carved bone nut is 1 5/8" in width. The headstock retains the original oval foil Kay stickered logo, fitted with a set of circa-1970s Schaller-made nickel tuning machines. These tuners offer a superior gear ratio and stability when compared to the open-gear strip tuners which would have been installed on this guitar at the factory.
The spruce top has a consistent arch, retaining the original rosewood floating bridge. The rosewood saddle is at its lowest point of adjustment, yet offers easy playability in every register. The stock nickel trapeze tailpiece has heavy patina, and the knobs have been replaced with modern Davies equivalents.
The shaded Violin Brown nitro lacquer sunburst finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, with silkscreened "flame” figuring on the maple back and sides, a cost effective way to replicate figuring on a budget in the ‘50s. Cosmetic wear includes finish loss adjacent to the input jack, and also a spot of wear through the Sunburst at the bass-side waist on the side. There are various minor marks across the spruce top, a few scuffs and nicks across the back as well, and a small spot of oil-like darkening on top of the finish around the two knobs.
The original chipboard case is included, showing its fair share of wear yet retaining original latches and a functional handle with black trim on the lid.