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1950s Kay K-150 Archtop Electric Guitar. Very Pretty and Sounds Great.

Estimated price for orientation: 724 $

Category: Electric Guitar

Brand: Kay Dexterity: Right-Handed
Body Type: Archtop String Configuration: 6 String
Model: K-150 Country/Region of Manufacture: United States

     Travel back in time with this vintage electric archtop guitar. Made by Kay in Chicago, Illinois sometime in the 1950s, it's a Kay K-150 guitar. Not sure exactly what year it is. This model appears in the 1953 and 1954 Kay catalogs, but is gone by the 1956 Kay catalog. According to the 1953 Kay catalog: “An exceptionally fine electric guitar. Super grand auditorium size that’s 41” long, 15-1/2” wide. Powerful magnetic pick-up unit housed in rosewood holder with chrome cover. Built-in tone and volume controls. Body has fully arched spruce top, arched maple back and maple sides. Steel reinforced neck. White celluloid binding on top and back edges. Oval rosewood fingerboard with 9 position markers, also bound in white celluloid. Adjustable rosewood bridge. White celluloid guardplate. Hand rubbed and polished, shaded violin brown finish, with golden sunburst on top and back.” According to Michael Wright's "Guitar Stories: The History of Cool Guitars," the K-150 "was basically a non-cutaway K34 with the Thin Twin pickup in the middle sitting on a celluloid surround, and Bakelite volume and tone controls sitting on the upper bass bout.”     This model has strong cosmetics. In other words, it looks really cool. The rosewood pickup holder around the chrome lipstick pickup looks cool. (From the related Kay Thin Twin, I believe this is called a Jimmy Reed pickup, after the bluesman who favorite them.) The faux tortoise shell celluloid control plate looks cool. This one was definitely played, but still looks quite nice. Used, but definitely not abused. Some ordinary play wear, especially around headstock edges and top. About 14" of the celluloid binding is missing on the back lower bout treble side. It looks like about 9" of fingerboard treble side binding from nut to seventh fret has been replaced. The end pin (strap button) is missing. The seven foot output cord is hardwired to the guitar; that's how it was made. No case. The electronics work fine. Neck is surprisingly, if not perfectly, straight. 12th fret action is adjusted to between 2/32" and 3/32": very nice. Original Kluson Deluxe "no line" tuners. It's a great old guitar ready for its next owner.      The sound is quite rounded. I've been playing a Mexican Telecaster lately and loving its treble bridge pickup bite. This guitar does not sound like that, but rather rounded and neck pickup-y. It's a nice guitar, and a not particularly common Kay model.        For shipping, it will be well wrapped with plenty of new ½” bubble wrap and shipped in a new 46” by 19” by 7” cardboard instrument box. Questions? Please check out my Ebay store, “The 1970 Time Travel Trailer,” for more cool vintage stuff, including a bunch of vintage guitars (and a few ukuleles, banjos, fiddles, mandolins and amps, as well as fiddles, brass, woodwind, and various oddball musical instruments and old instrument brochures & catalogs). And please check out our new YouTube TV show, “Musical Treasure Hunting,” to see more of our adventures searching for old musical instruments.