Kay "Beltone" Auditorium-size Flattop c 1960 | $400 | (v2218) Beltone was a brand of Perberg & Halpin, an instrument distributer in New York begun at least in the 1920s that ordered guitars from various makers and rebranded them for sale under the Beltone name. This particular example dates to about 1960, and its doppleganger appears in the 1960 Kay catalog as the 'Kay K5160' Auditorium-size acoustic flattop. It's essentially an entry level ladder-braced guitar, but its size gives it some oomph, and consequently makes it a fun blues guitar!
The body is constructed from 3-ply laminated wood. The 14-fret neck is likely poplar and carved in a full-to-the-hand 'C' shape. The head stock is painted black with the Beltone logo in white paint. The fingerboard is maple, painted black with white-painted position markers. The top, back, sides and neck are given a zippy faux tiger-stripe finish in red, set off with white-painted binding and a white celluloid pick guard. The bridge is the 'floating' type, connected to a stamped tail piece.
The body measures a full 15 1/8" with a 25 1/8" scale length. The neck measures 1 11/16" across at the nut, and string spacing is 2 3/8" across at the saddle.
The guitar is original but for replaced tuners (older Japanese tuners from the 60s/70s?) and saddle. There were no prior repairs evident. We recently reset the neck and leveled and dressed the frets. We also removed the fretwire saddle and replaced it with a bone saddle for action adjustment. The guitar shows playing wear to the fingerboard paint, and various nicks and dings from age and use, but a good-looker and solid player overall!
Action is set at 5-6/64" and the guitar plays smoothly. With its big body, it produces a good 'thump', especially with a thumb pick, and would likely sound amazing with a pickup! A budget-but-fun guitar for fingerpicking or flatpicking!
Comes with a soft case.
Check the sound clip...!
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Forty-eight hour test drive on all instruments..if not to your liking, return for refund minus shipping costs.