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1960s Kay Western Dreadnought, Freshly Set Up $375

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$375 plus $65 shipping and insurance

They call these guitars “the poor man’s D-18.” Nearly all examples on the market need substantial work. Not this one. Neck is straight, action is fine, new frets, new truss rod, plenty of free saddle, neck subtly widened to 1 13/16ths by master luthier. Altogether about $450 worth of recent work to establish great playability.

Kay made this model in the 40s, 50s and 60s, labeled either as “Western” or “Western Rhythm.” The pointy pickguard probably makes this a 60s example (I think). Big dimensions, mahogany construction, X-bracing, square shoulders and a thick waistline for plenty of reverberation from the solid spruce top. Very strong projection, and remarkable sustain. Chords hang much longer than you might believe possible.This guitar invites enthusiastic playing, whether bluegrass, C&W, rock and roll, or any other kind of music that can raise a ruckus.

Vintage instrument guru Jake Wildwood describes a near-identical instrument as “...a killer guitar. ...long 25 3/4" scale length, big old squared-off dread body, and plenty of carrying power. enormous, raucous sound. It's punchy in that D-18 kind of way but has that Kay growl rather than Martin creaminess.”

The nut and fingerboard were widened by fusing Brazilian rosewood strips to the Brazilian rosewood board, which was previously bound in white plastic. The work is so smoothly done that you can barely detect it. It was followed by a full re-fret with wide wire. Intonation is excellent. Action measures ¼ at 12th fret on treble side, slightly under 3/8ths on bass side.

The original truss rod was replaced with a modern and highly effective one.

A neck re-set was performed long ago, and I installed a Bridge Doctor a while back. I’d suggest keeping it in if you want to experiment with medium-gauge strings. With light gauge, like it currently has, the Bridge Doctor is probably optional. Either way, it only takes a couple of minutes to remove or install.

Cosmetically, this guitar has kept its good looks pretty well across the past half-century. The shield-shaped metal Kay logo parted company with the peghead a log while ago, as can be seen by the darker area it used to cover, but replacements do come along occasionally (if desired). The bare wood on the back edge of the peghead suggests that someone in the past liked to lean this against a plaster wall, but beyond that easily-touched-up mistake the guitar appears very well-kept. A long crack visible along the bass bouts does not give to finger pressure and seems certain to be only in the lacquer. The finish on the one-piece mahogany back is especially clear, with ribbon stripes that stand out vividly.

Shipping and insurance within CONUS is $65. 48-hour right of return if the guitar has not been honestly described. Buyer to pay return shipping/insurance.

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Category: Guitars
Ad Number 126773
Posted: Jul 11, 2018 09:34 PM CDT

Ad Owner
Byron Laursen
1141 Faraday Street
Santa Ynez CA 93460

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