Up for sale, a 1950's Kay K192 archtop electric guitar in exceptional, 100% original collector grade condition and in perfect working order. This rare variant on the typical K192 model features an electronics compliment with a factory installed self contained pickguard supplied by Kent, model WC-25. Eye catching and elegant with its etched lyre graphics, this pickguard boasts two floating pickups and a discreet mini 1/8" jack factory mounted to the underside of the guard. Tonally, this Kay is versatile and detailed sounding, with a bridge pickup that has great top end content and string-to-string balance, keeping things lively and clear without any twang or harshness. Single note lines are round and robust, and when you blend in the neck pickup, the percussive, midrange forward qualities of this pickup pair is exquisite. With the neck pickup solo'd, there's a bloom and thickness to the tone that is perfect for Jazz, staying quite mellow, yet still defined. The 17" wide maple body features a pressed, arched spruce top and acoustically, there's plenty of projection and bark for this guitar to hold its own in an unamplified ensemble. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Kay is strung with 13-56 flatwound strings, and features comfortable action.
The neck has a round and deep D shaped profile with generous shoulders and full "baseball bat" status in the higher registers of the fretboard. The profile flattens out slightly at the center, making it very comfortable to rest the thumb here for chord extensions. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features rounded pearl block inlays and original frets which are in virtually flawless shape, with perfectly rounded crowns and their full, original height. The original bone nut measures 1 11/16" in width, and the edge of the plastic tortoise headstock overlay has receded slightly from the forward edge of the nut, exposing a thin strip of bare, unfinished wood below. The headstock features the original Kluson Deluxe single line strip tuning machines, which have immaculate nickel plating and new white buttons.
The electronics on the factory installed floating pickguard all work as they should, with pots that turn smoothly with no static. The tone control has a much more drastic effect on the bridge pickup, and works more like a volume control when the neck pickup is singled out. The graphics on the pickguard are completely intact, as are the three original knobs. All of the stock hardware is present, including the nickel trapeze tailpiece and adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge. The bridge is near its lowest point of adjustment, although the action is particularly low and playable in all registers of the neck, and the saddle itself could be thinned out if further adjustment is desired in the future. The neck heel is both glued in and features one screw from the factory as well, and the small cap that typically conceals this screw has gone missing over the decades, which is purely cosmetic. The neck angle is sound and the body and neck have a substantial and reliable connection.
The condition of this Kay is phenomenal, and it's a particularly rare and largely undocumented example with a stock Kent WC-25 pickguard assembly. The nitro lacquer sunburst finish is rich and unfaded, with only the faintest finish checking on the back and virtually no checking on the top, sides or neck, although the finish has settled lightly into the grain of the spruce top. There is truly barely a scratch on this guitar, and the only wear worth noting is a couple extremely tiny finish chips which have flaked off adjacent to the binding.
The original brown faux alligator chipboard case is included. This case is structurally sound and features original latches, stock handle, and a plush red interior.