Against the Blue Wall: Guitar Restoration- Old Kay Arch-top

Along with my passion for playing guitar, I have also been getting into building and repairing guitars. I got an old guitar from a yard sale over the summer and I played around with it for a little while. I put some new tuners on it and tried to replace the bridge but nothing too intensive. Until I tried a neck reset.

Garage Sale Guitar - Kay Arch-top

Garage Sale Guitar - Kay Arch-top

I heated the fret board and loosened the glue a little bit but mostly I just got moisture underneath of the wood laminate. One thing I did not do was drill a hole into the 15th fret, insert a narrow hose in and pump the neck full of steam. I realize now this is a necessary part of a neck removal. After failing to get the neck off I tried to just re glue it. That did not work at all. So I finally said why not try to put strings on it and play? Another terrible idea, it doesn’t stay in tune you can’t tune it to itself and the neck is always flopping around. To add to the problems, the scale length is so long the extra strings I had laying around hardly fit at all. This is one reason I want to get rid of the guitar and salvage the neck. Then I could build another body for it. This would take a lot of work.

So I put it away for a while. Now I am thinking of doing a neck reset for real, or at least trying to get the neck off of the body. I am also trying to decide what to do with the guitar. Should I try to repair it? Or get rid of the body and try to make a new guitar body? I like the neck a lot but I could live without the laminate arch-top. Plus the body is kind of gross and old not beautiful and vintage looking. I personally and not much of an arch-top player so re doing that whole thing may be worth it.

Any suggestions?

Here are some more photos

Mmm look at those humidity stains


I'd say nice headstock
Neck separating from the body

Neck separating from the body

I’d say nice headstock



2 comments on “Against the Blue Wall: Guitar Restoration- Old Kay Arch-top

  1. Jon says:

    It’s a beautiful guitar, minus the necessary repairs. I would recommend trying to reset the neck and keeping the original body, these are hard enough to come by now. If you decide to scrap the body though, I know someone (me) who would love to take it off your hands…

  2. David Strahs says:

    unfortunately I only have the neck right now, If only I had a time machine

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