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1950s Kay K34 Vintage Archtop Acoustic Guitar Solid Spruce Top, Reset & Refret


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Up for sale, a 1950's Kay K34 archtop acoustic guitar with a warm shaded Violin Brown nitro lacquer finish. Professionally setup and benefitting from a neck reset and professional refret with vintage-spec fretwire, 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 offers a nice bold bark with a punchy midrange and boxy cut when you dig in hard. There’s a rubbery low midrange quality to the sound, in part due to the fresh Thomastik flatwound 12s currently strung on the guitar, and the treble response is very full and clear while retaining lots of warmth and body, yielding a certain authority for single note lines. This Kay is a wonderful example of Mid-Century USA guitar craftsmanship and weighs a mere 3lbs 14oz.

The neck has a full and incredibly deep U-shaped profile carve with tons of shoulder, measuring 1.095” deep at the 1st fret and tapering to 1.175” at the 9th. It's simply a massive shape that fills the palm yet frets comfortably and is central to the resonance of the instrument. The Brazilian rosewood slab fretboard has been professionally refretted with slender, vintage-spec 6230 size fretwire, and the current frets are flawless. The scale length measures 25 7/8" and the carved bone nut is 1 5/8" in width. The headstock retains the original and extremely clean Kluson Deluxe "no line" strip tuners, placing this guitar firmly in the first few years of the '50s (given the absence of other meaningful date codes on the instrument), and the thin pressed metal Kay headstock badge is also fully intact.

The spruce top has a consistent arch and given the recent neck reset, the original Brazilian rosewood bridge has room for adjustment on both thumbwheels. The nickel trapeze tailpiece is also intact with uniform surface patina, as is the original single-ply white pickguard. Visible through the F hole, the original K34 model stamp is bold and present.

The shaded Violin Brown nitro lacquer sunburst finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, and the guitar has strum wear extending beyond the edge of the guard on the treble side upper bout and also on the bass side of the body. There is light buckle rash central to the lower bout on the back, and various minor scuffs and nicks on the body as a whole, yet the guitar remains remarkably crack-free. The neck profile exhibits some small nicks and chatter, but nothing that impedes the hand while fretting.