Friday, April 24, 2009

1930's KayKraft (Part 2 of the Kay Story)

The guitar sat in a box for a week or two while I talked about all the crazy things I could do with it. Finally Alicia said "You should let Ed have a look at it. He might know more about it." So we decided to take a trip down to see our friend Ed Oleck, owner of Ed’s Guitars in Miami. I had bought and sold a lot of gear with Ed over the years and always valued his opinion where instruments were concerned. Ed told me I really had a neat guitar there and I shouldn’t mess it up by painting it. “In fact, check this out… “ Ed wet a little bit of cloth and rubbed on the top a bit. Under the caked on dust and attic crud there was a fantastic sunburst with a gold guild work. “…See? Just clean the guitar up and put it back together. Then if you don’t like it I’ll trade you something for it.”

Thus began my first trip into restoration and vintage guitars. I polished all the crap off the guitar with some Meguiar's classic car polish. I put all the parts back together and played it for a few years. She was a good guitar. She had a small crack along the bass side of the body and at some point someone had carved the initials J.M. in to her finish. But even so she sounded good and loud. Alicia taught me chords with it and it got dragged all over Florida. Eventually we moved to Nashville and the old Kay went too. But my early amateur attempt at a restoration was far from perfect. Over time the old, original bar frets wore down, the fret board warped and the arch top started to slightly sink in. I started to worry that the top would crack some more so I loosened the strings and retired the guitar to wall hanger status. I told myself I would rebuild it someday when I had more knowledge of what to do about that top. But the years ticked by and I never did rebuild it.

to be continued...

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