Kay Pro K 172-S Hollow Body Electric Guitar , c. 1955
Kay Pro K 172-S Model Hollow Body Electric Guitar, c. 1955, made in Chicago, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case. Item # 7093
Kay's answer to the Les Paul, the K-172 Pro offered "Artistry in Rhythm" according to the '54 catalog, and who are we to argue. Like many of the 1950's smaller-body electrics that appeared directly after Gibson's Goldtop, the Pro is actually hollow despite its solid, no F-hole look. A contemporary of the Gretsch Duo Jet and the Guild M-75 Aristocrat, the K-172 is fairly rare and better remembered as one of the models given the "Barney Kessell" endorsement (and fantastic plastic "Kelvinator" headstock) after 1957. These original Pro models are quite scarce; we rarely see one turn up.
This is a fairly deluxe guitar (for Kay) with triple binding on the top, back and headstock, a single bound block-inlaid fingerboard and sunburst finish on every surface. The two pickups have adjustable poles (novel for Kay in 1954) and are mated to a Gibson-style rig with individual tone and volume controls and a large 3-way lever switch. This particular guitar would have originally have been made for a wholesale account, as it does not carry a Kay logo- actually it has no brand markings at all. The plain headstock face is just a lovely piece of Brazilian rosewood veneer, which is most attractive in its own way! This is a cool and rare piece of '50's guitar flash, and a good-playing instrument to boot.
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 12 7/8 in. (32.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 3/4 in. (7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 3/4 in. (654 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). Very nice overall, all original and unaltered with some light wear-most noticeably around the switch. All the binding is solid with only a very slight shrinkage in a few spots. Just emerged from a neck set and fret job, this is an excellent playing instrument-in fact we can guarantee this Pro plays better than the great majority of surviving 1950's Kays! The sound is typical of Kay electrics of this period, very funky with the low-output pickups adding a distinct acoustic edge to the electric tone, as commonly noted on the better-known Thin Twin model. This makes a great guitar for period blues styles and other similar genres, and comes complete with a very nice original brown HSC. Excellent - Condition.
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