Bigsby/Kay Custom Acoustic Mandolin - made for, and formerly owned by Nudie Cohn, c. 1949
Bigsby/Kay Custom Model Acoustic Mandolin, c. 1949, natural lacquer finish. Item # 2721
Nudie Cohn was born Nuta Kotlyarenko in Kiev, Russia in 1902. After giving up on a boxing career he decided he would become a tailor, and a good one at that. He was purported to be the first tailor to put Rhinestones on clothing. Nudie's story as the "Rodeo Tailor" begins in the early 1930's...
While traveling cross country from California he came upon a boarding house in Mankato, Minnesota. There, he not only received room and board but met his future bride and business partner, Bobbie. They left Mankato to continued on to New York City. He started off making G-Strings for show girls working his way to become The Rhinestone Cowboy!!
Nudie and Bobbie, came to California in the early 1940's and started making clothes out of their garage. Spade Cooley, Cliffie Stone, Lefty Frizzell, Tex Williams and his band, gave him a chance that set him well on his way. Needless to say, working in those circles soon put them in contact with Paul A. Bigsby who was busy building and customizing guitars for the above mentioned country music super-stars.
While P.A. Bigsby is mostly remembered today for the still-popular vibrato tailpiece that bears his name, he built spectacularly flashy pedal steels and solidbody electric instruments beginning in the late 1940's and 'electrified' or otherwise customized existing guitars and mandolins for his southern California clientele.
Nudie Cohn was also a mandolin player, and released an album of country and popular standards on which he was backed up by Dusty Rhodes and Tex Williams. The clear choice for Nudie, the flashiest tailor in show biz, was to have Paul Bigsby, the flashiest luthier on the scene, put together a mandolin for him. This is that very instrument - a customized Kay with a Bigsby neck.
Excellent + Condition.
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