Vintage Kay archtop restored from old customizing job; pickup added


The goal of this project was to restore this guitar to as close to original as possible and add a jazz-style pickup. This 60's - vintage archtop Kay guitar had been modified to allow for 8 strings - including two raised drone strings.  The headstock had been fitted with two extra machines and the nut and bridge both had raised portions.  The neck had become unplayable over time as well.

Step one, shown at right, was to mill and crown and polish the frets, remove and
clean years of rust and corrosion off all parts, lube & adjust the truss rod and
other mechanical parts, carve a vintage bone nut, order and install a new, adjustable bridge, clean, oil, and polish the guitar and test it with new strings.

Phase II included removing the extra tuning machines, filling the holes, sanding flush, then repainting the headstock a custom color to blend with the original color, After bringing the headstock, neck and the rest of the guitar to a high sheen, a Kent Armstrong jazz pickup was mounted on the neck and wired to a hidden volume pot which was mounted under the original Kay pickguard which was reintroduced to the guitar.  In the process of wiring, an internal pickup was discovered, so the original jack was replaced with a stereo jack to allow for either or both pickups to be used. Felt bushings were installed to save the finish in critical places.  Finally the restored Kay archtop was strung, tuned, set up and tested.