Here we have a 1960s Kay guitar which has undergone the famed Baxendale conversion process. Scott Baxendale is an Athens, Georgia-based luthier who has developed his own proprietary process for turning old Harmony, Stella, and Kay ladder-braced guitars from fun couch players into great playing, great sounding, X-braced tone monsters. This one has an added twist. This guitar was originally a standard six-string Kay but has been transformed into a mandocello.
Specs! This is a New instrument from Baxendale guitars, its a converted 60s Kay guitar and the process included a neck reset, a refret, rebracing, a new nut, a new saddle, bridge and bridge plate. Four plate tuners. Bone nut width measures 1-9/16″. Maple neck with a depth of .89″ at the first fret and 1.12″ at the twelfth fret. Rose wood fingerboard with a 12″ radius. It has a 24.4″ scale length. Action measures 6/64″ on the bass side and 5/64″ on the treble side. 18 jumbo frets in new condition. Laminate body finished in sunburst. Rosewood bridge with a bone saddle. Maple bridge plate. Comes with a Gator hard shell case. Weighs 3 pounds 10 ounces.
If you’re unfamiliar with Mandocellos, we can tell you that they’ve become a hot commodity with some of the top Americana players including Luther Dickinson, Patterson Hood, and Buddy Miller. Check out “Buddy Miller’s Crib – Studio Tour with Aaron Lee Tasjan” on YouTube. At about 8:50 into the tour, Buddy shows off his personal Baxendale Conversion Mandocello. The traditional tuning for Mandocello is CGDA, but Buddy says he tunes his Mandocello “to fit whatever song he’s playing.” We’re told that Patterson Hood uses FCFC tuning. So the point is, there is no right or wrong. Get creative and find your own voice. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Baxendale’s standard process includes taking off the back of the guitar, repairing any cracks or structural issues, removing all existing bracing, and adding his own X-braced pattern of scalloped braces in quarter sawn Adirondack or Engleman spruce, before replacing the back. He also performs a neck set and refret, planing (or replacing) the existing fingerboard to a perfect 12 or 14 inch radius. New vintage-style tuners and a bone nut is installed. Scott also makes a new Rosewood bridge with a bone saddle. To transform the six-string into a mandocello, Scott filled the original tuner holes and drilled the headstock to accommodate a pair of 4-on-a-plate vintage-style mandocello tuners.
We love Baxendale conversions and we’re sure you will, too. This one totally blows our minds. Grab it quick before we decide to keep it.
Model: Mandocello Conversion
Case: Comes with a Gator had shell case.
Weight: 3 pounds and 10 ounces.
Condition: This in a new instrument.
Modifications: The Kay Guitar has been converted to a Mandocello. This includes a Neck reset, a refret, rebracing, new nut, a new set of tuners, new saddle, bridge & bridge plate.
Comments: Amazing instrument! A fun way to mix things up!