This vintage Kay Super Auditorium guitar is battle worn and solid as the day is long. It has a stamp of L 1085 inside the sound hole and should date between 1961 and 1965 based on the metal head plate logo. It has a solid spruce top, and laminated Maple back and sides with a tobacco sunburst finish, a bound Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, checkerboard binding and a poplar neck. It is roughly comparable size wise and tone wise to a 000 or OM guitar.
When I got this guitar, it was a terrible shape cosmetically, but structurally solid as the proverbial brick **** house. The lacquer was severely checked, the fret’s had loosened, the bridge was coming off, the fingerboard had multiple small chips at the frets and the neck was pulling out. At first I thought that the nickel frets had been replaced, but careful examination showed that they were original and that the damage to the frets, fretboard and lacquer appeared to be from being exposed to severe changes is temperature and humidity this guitar has been through. That being said the guitar was solid… not a loose brace to be found, quite rare in guitars of this era.
Work done: neck re-set, frets re-seated and superglued in, leveled, crowned and polished, new bridge, bone saddle and bone nut, finish hand rubbed out with micro mesh, but left with all the vintage wear intact. The original tuners had been replaced with mini Schaller style knock off’s that work very well. The original wrap around bridge was split and I have replaced it with a new old stock Kay bridge of the same style and era and added a new bone saddle and nut. I replaced a plastic strap button with a bone one. This guitar has a truss rod.
The guitar has been set up to Martin factory specs; Low E string .024” @ first fret and 3/32 @ 12th fret, High E string .016” at 1st fret, 3/32 @ 12th fret. Neck width 1 3/4 “ at nut, neck has a C profile. It plays well and in tune all the way up the neck. Sound wise, full range tone with the sparkle and clarity on the high end you'd expect from a concert size guitar.
The neck is comparable to a Gibson neck from the 50’s. I played it back to back with my $5,000.00 Collings OM and the tone and playability isn’t as refined, but it’s close.
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