The Bluesbox Collection

1940's Kay archtop

The pickguard has been changed to more authentic Kay tortoise shell model. This shot also shows the fancy binding around the face (my previous camera wasn't capable of showing this kind of detail). I faced the headstock matching tortoise shell material and installed the diamond shaped, mother-of-pearl inlay by cutting through the facing. I got this Art Deco style tailpiece off of another guitar many years ago and had it laying around. It was all chrome before I attached the tortoise shell facing to match the headstock and pickguard and installed the inlay.

A funny story about this guitar: I perfomed at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival the weekend of August 14, about two weeks after I bought the guitar, and ran into a friend, a luthier named Tom Ribbecke who builds wonderful archtops, and showed him the guitar. As we were talking, another luthier, Ralph Novak, walked up to take a look. Ralph is a collector of vintage "House Brand" instruments and quite an authority on the subject. He picked the guitar up and looked it over, telling me most of the information I have printed above concerning the instrument's origin. He turned to Tom and thinking to make a funny, cracked "Now you could learn something about tone from this guitar..." and strummed it. He looked surprised and said, "Wow! This sounds pretty good!" He continued to play it and told me I got a real bargain for the $200 I paid for it.

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