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1958 Kay Upbeat 192M Vintage Archtop Electric Guitar Silver, Near-Mint, Airline-Branded


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Up for sale, a 1958 Kay Upbeat 192M in collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, 100% original save for a carved bone nut. Among the rarest guitars built by Kay in their OEM capacity for Montgomery Ward under the Airline brand, the 192M was only produced from 1957-58, featuring a pair of “Hi-Fi” pickups and a Silver gloss nitro lacquer finish unique to this model.

The fully hollow archtop maple body features parallel tonebar bracing and a full 17” lower bout width, offering plenty of natural projection and tonal breadth. The “Hi-Fi” pickups are quite rare, offering an overarching dry percussive chop, and excellent string-to-string balance in all pickup positions. Quite neutral and true to the instrument’s acoustic profile, the pickups offer treble sweetness in the bridge position and a fatter signal at the neck that is still exceedingly clear. This Airline 192M weighs 6lbs 3oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 11-49 strings and low action.  

Neck Specs:

-Wood: Maple
-Shape: Substantial “baseball” bat U, measuring .985” 1st fret, 1.025” 9th fret
-Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, arching grain on bass side, block inlay
-Frets: Brass, virtually no wear
-Scale Length: 26”
-Nut: 1 11/16”, bone (modern)
-Headstock: Airline foil label
-Tuners: Kluson Deluxe single-line strip, white button

Body Specs:

-Wood: Maple
-Pickups: “Hi-Fi” humbucker x2
-Controls: Three-way pickup selector, Volume x2, Tone x2 (max treble at 0)
-Hardware: Brazilian rosewood floating bridge, trapeze tailpiece (nickel)
-Plastics: One-ply cream pickguard, baton switch tip, skirted knobs
-Serialization: 8991-suffix model stamp indicates circa early 1958 construction

The gloss Silver finish is exceedingly clean with vertical lacquer checking. The neck set is ideal, with room for adjustment on both bridge thumbwheels, and the top has perfect curvature, exhibiting no sinking. The plating is positively gleaming on the pickup covers and trapeze tailpiece, and cosmetic wear is limited to a tiny bit of light scuffing in the clear coat on the back, and just a few additional tiny marks on the body as a whole.  The gloss on the neck profile is nigh flawless, save for one shallow ding central to the carve behind fret 7.

A padded gigbag is included.