Kay Kraft Style C 'Venetian' Archtop Guitar c 1933 | $1275 | (vbg 2024) The Kay Kraft line was part of the flow from Stromberg-Voisinet to eventually Kay. The brand saw production from about 1928 through the 1930s. The Style C was a top of the line guitar for the brand and was a bit unusual, featuring a pressed archtop, round-hole design, with an adjustable neck for action adjustment.
This example of a Style C features rosewood (ply) back and sides and a solid spruce top, pressed into an arch. The 'Venetian' style shape is set off with 'zipper' binding around the top, back, sound hole and fingerboard. The neck is mahogany, with a dyed hardwood board adorned with fancy pearl inlay and red-dot side position markers. The uniquely shaped head stock features a celluloid (MOTS) overlay with gold-painted 'Kay Kraft' logo and decor. Strings are attached with a metal tailpiece and 'floating' bridge.
The 14-fret neck is carved in a rather flat 'V' shape. Scale length measures 25 3/4". The neck is 1 3/4" across at the nut and string spacing is 2 1/4" across at the saddle. The lower bout measures 14 1/4" across at the widest point. The top is X-braced with additional lateral braces including a brace under the fingerboard extension.
The guitar is structurally sound and mostly original, with the original 'banjo' tuners replaced with individual Kluson enclosed tuners (providing an actual an upgrade in performance). Finish is original and there appear to be no other repairs other than the tuner replacement. There is a 1/2" piece of binding missing on the bass-side 'point'. The plating on the tail piece shows oxidation. There are a few stress lines that appear on the heel. The original 'K' foil label is missing, but the "To vary height of strings..." label remains. Overall in excellent condition showing nicks and dings from use and age. Action is set at 7/64", and can be easily adjusted by using the neck adjusting system.
The guitar plays well with 12-52 bronze strings, and has the unique sound that only this type guitar can produce .. not flat top, not arch top, but somewhere in between. These are well made instruments and still a pretty good value in the vintage market today. Great for punchy chord strumming, but also a pleasure to fingeredpicked old timey music or blues/ragtime. A number of the early bluesmen were promoted in period advertising holding/playing these 'Venetian' two-point instruments.
Comes with a soft case.
Check out the sound clip!
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