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Thread: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

  1. #1

    Default 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Hi Folks,

    I'm restoring a late 40's to 50's Kay Jumbo acoustic guitar.

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    I was able to locate an original bridge, but unfortunately, it did not come with the original bridge bolts seen here:

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    Here's what they look like on the guitar.

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    I'd really love to get the original bolts with the decorative ends. Anybody got a set they'd part with at a reasonable price or know where I could look for a set?

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Nice! Sorry I sure don't. I have parts for old Harmony guitars around here some place. I seems almost certain that somewhere there has to be a person who specializes in rebuilding/restoring old Kay instruments? If not it is probably the only brand that does not have someone like that?
    Bernie
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  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Good news and bad news. The good news is that bolt wasn't unique to Kay or the musical instrument industry. Like many things it was an off the shelf hardware part. Many years ago I remember assembling picnic tables with that same pattern on the head. The bad news is I can't for the life of me find them. It's not your normal carriage bolt. Granger has a close one in zinc with a smooth head but not nearly as refined, I have no idea about the size. I believe the originals were brass with some finish on them from what I can find. Good luck.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    If you search on eBay for "decorative head screws" you will find something very similar that is sold for the restoration of antique radios.

    Keep in mind, if you reglue the bridge the screws are not necessary for either function or security, but they do serve to complete a vintage look.

    If you wait long enough, somebody will part out a Kay guitar and list some originals on eBay, but they may not be cheap....

    Or, buy a Kay parts/project guitar just for the screws and sell the remaining parts to get your money back. The "trick" is to find a guitar with a busted neck or body, so it will go cheap, but still has the parts you need plus a set of vintage Kluson tuners or a pickguard, so you will come out OK. You may even make a profit, but it becomes a lot of work. (it is easier to do with an electric guitar, because there are more parts to sell off...)

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; May-21-2020 at 9:58pm.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    May be called a “ribbed-neck bolt” or “knurled-neck bolt” You need the thread diameter, the head diameter and the length to specify. Should you bomb out, I think that you could get very close if you know someone with a lathe and a straight knurl and some brass (dome, pan, oval) head bolts in brass.
    Antique radio sites are definitely a good place to look as these may be speaker or grille bolts.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Buried treasure for sale on eBay.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-1950s-...IAAOSwYbZdCs08

    That's more than I paid for my Kay Jumbo pickguard!

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  8. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    ....That's more than I paid for my Kay Jumbo pickguard!
    I paid more for a single volume knob for a late 60's Japanese archtop guitar. When it's the only game in town you step up
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  10. #8

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    I have just paid a large sum for a 1920s A2 pickguard. I may post up a question regarding it as it does not have the clamp but the small fixing that is screwed into the side of the mandolin. My mandolin is from 1923 and would have had the clamp- there is no hole. I can just screw it on but some may think I should not do this. I have looked at fixing the guard on without a screw but I don't think it will work very well. I have a feeling that this type of mount began with the F series of mandolins in 1925 but did not appear on the A series until much later- possibly 1928 as there was a vast inventory of clamps that needed to be used up. Looking at the Archive you see mandolins that were completed in about 1928 but not shipped until the early 30s. This was presumably the effect of the economic crash- and these mandolins have this fixing arrangement using the screw.

  11. #9

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Thanks very much for the info, folks! I did immediately grab those ebay bolts. I didn't find them yesterday, but it's all about asking the right search question!

    I believe as suggested, that Harmony's also used this bolt. I'd have looked for a damaged guitar for scrap, but I tend to take on all those crazy projects on the idea that if it's busted beyond usual repair, I have nothing to loose trying out new techniques (clearly I have a problem here...). FYI, I'll be looking for a Kay Jumbo Pickguard as well if anyone has one lying around. I did see what I thought was one on ebay a few months ago, but didn't pull the trigger on it. My bad!

    And yes, I did glue the bridge on already Couldn't wait to see it in place, but still wanted to get the original look if possible.

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  12. #10

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    I cannot recall seeing those bolts on Harmony guitars. My Harmony guitar with a bolted bridge has basic Phillips screw head bolts for this. Obviously, those guards come in black and white/cream. It looks like you have a Silvertone 618 which has the black pickguard. There was a guy with a whole load- he did not know what they were but I told him they were for Kay jumbos and I bought a black one- he had a few but they must all have gone. Here is the Silvertone info:

    https://www.silvertoneworld.net/acoustic/0618/618.html

  13. #11

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    Thanks for the info, Nick. That's clearly the same guitar although the headstock on this one doesn't say Silverstone, it says "Supreme". The artwork on the headstock is identical, though.

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    I'll keep an eye out for a pick guard on Ebay. It seems that everything shows up there sooner or later!

  14. #12

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    By God, Nick, you were right. Harmony doesn't use these... Apparently I was mis-
    identifying Harmonies for years!!!! Live and learn.

  15. #13

    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    I have never seen that logo- sawing off the top of the Silvertone logo- do you think it has been doctored by someone? One of my jumbos was made about 1950 and sold as an S S Stewart. Here is one that had a Baxendale conversion. The person who supplied it to Scott Baxendale and was trained by him said that the monster pickguard was added later- I think it was owned by someone who was married to Lisa Marie Presley or her boyfriend. I thought mine was all plywood including the top but I assume I was wrong unless there is a new top on this one. Mine has a pin bridge and a great belly bulge but nice brass frets and a very true neck- all the stress went into the top. I am surprised it was not fixed when the bridge was changed to a pin version. I see Scott did not ink out Harmony and put in Kay on the label!

    https://reverb.com/ca/item/2295504-s...940-s-sunburst

  16. #14
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50's Kay Jumbo Restoration

    I've restored a number of guitars that had screws in the bridge, I prefer to eliminate the screws particularly if I have to make a new bridge. I also hate having screwed on pickguards and will replace those with self stick replicas. The overall vintage look is maintained but improved in my opinion.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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