One of the more visually arresting guitars built in the Windy City by the Kay factory from 1952 to 1957. Early, fully loaded, sunburst examples like this rarely appear on the market. The Aristocrat was offered in the 'burst and natural finish, and experienced significant cosmetic changes through its production run. Based on appointments such as the colorful pick guard, the 'trident' inlays, and the 'curled-at-the-ends bridge, this is an early example. These guitars were not aimed at the entry level market, but rather the serious amateur or pro player. The body is a jumbo, 17" across the lower bout, and is constructed from what appears to be solid tiger maple. The top is spruce, with a cutaway (introduced as "New") and beefy w/b/w binding bordering the top and back, and even along the sides. The neck is rock maple, is bound, and sports the same sunburst as the top and back. The head stock is laminated with white, engraved plastic, colorfully adorned to echo the pick guard. The fingerboard is Brazilian rosewood, scalloped at its terminus and profusely inlaid with pearl and abalone. The frets are quite beefy, considering the era the guitar was produced. The tuners are Kluson strip-type, with somewhat shriveled plastic buttons that typically blow up, but these are uncracked, stable and function well.
Scale length measures 25 15/16. The neck is a fattish 'C' -shape, and measures 1 5/8" across at the nut. The action is set at about 4/64", and is easily adjusted at the bridge.
The guitar appears all original minus one of the screws which fastens the pick guard. Upon inspection, the top retains it arch with only the slightest hint of ripple from the bridge feet, and not a concern for the longevity of the guitar. Because the neck was loose when it came to us, we pulled it and reglued with hot hide glue, then leveled and dressed the frets.
The guitars shows little evidence of playing wear. There are some nicks and dings from use, and some paint flaking along the top of the head stock. Otherwise, the combination of condition, color, and size make this quite the imposing piece of Americana. Plays easily, and produces a crisp and punchy archtop sound. Check out the sound clip. Currently no case.
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Twenty-four hour test drive on all instruments..if not as described, return for refund minus shipping costs.