Preliminary Announcement - 25/10/2016 - showing photos of the guitar, prior to restoration, as it came to me.
26/10/2016 - Already reserved as provisional pre-order for a customer in Scotland, pending completion of the restoration.
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, which usually don't hang about long at all - with excellent feedback from buyers! Availability of the Stella Tenors is also limited, and I generally don't manage to get more than 2 or 3 a year, and they are usually pre-sold. The same is true of most of the types of tenor guitar I have sold. Most of these have been the various ones made by Harmony....as I say, most frequently the Stellas, followed by the H1201TG Sovereign, and the two archtop models, the H1215T Archtone & the H950T Monterey. In addition there has been a more limited number of Kay tenors.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including one restored as a private project for the well-known Midlands-based Bluesman David Bristow. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored was sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...this time a Harmony Sovereign H1201TG from me, and again I have been in touch with Richard recently, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement. Amongst others tenors sold are the Archtop H1215Ts to both Steve Harrison & Graham Legge.
I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them, and although previously I had my doubts, this arrangement has now worked well in quite a number of cases, so I have decided to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Numbers: VTG1088.
The Kay Company's guitar-making in Chicago ceased in 1968, several years earlier than Harmony, and in identifying Kay USA made guitars generally, we do not have the excellent facility of the The Harmony Guitars Database to assist. There are some online catalogues available via the Kay Vintage Reissue website, but not all years are available...for instance 1961 & 1962 are there, but then a gap until 1966 & 1967/8, when Kay USA finished. However, like Harmony, in this era, as throughout from the 1920s/1930s onwards, Kay made many guitars for various distributor/store/mail order companies, like Sears, whose post-war in-house guitar brand went by the name of Silvertone. None of these guitars are in the Kay Catalogs!
Various online information suggests that this model is the Silvertone 661, only available for a short period from 1964 to early in 1966...rather a late-in-the-day response to the early 1960s folkie boom, I'd have thought! It seems very similar to the Kay K3900 which appears in the 1966 Catalog, but that model has a Mahogany top, rather than Spruce...I sold one of those 4 years ago.
Into the 1960s, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still in demand, but production had dwindled to a few manufacturers. In recent years the use and demand for Tenor Guitars has revived strongly, with some prominent players.
This Silvertone Mod. 661 tenor, and the similar one now "pre-ordered", are roughly the equivalent of Martin 000 or OM body-size....approx. 15"/38cm. wide, approx. 19"/48cm. body length, 23"/585mm. scale length, with a typically slim 29.5mm./1.15" nut width fingerboard. The top is Spruce, with tortoiseshell edged, cream & black binding to the sides and soundhole and teardrop-shaped tortoiseshell colour scratchplate. The Back & sides are Mahogany, again with tortoiseshell binding.
The condition is essentially original, but the guitar already has some alterations, and has previously seen some workshop attention to repairs which yet need to be completed. The parts that are not original are an added flamed Mahogany veneer facing to the headstock, and fitted heavy cast/enclosed Grover machineheads. The facing is part of a restoration started elsewhere following a headstock break. Break has been very successfully & strongly re-jointed and the veneer added prior to arrival here. It could be that the weight of the heavy replacement machineheads was a factor in the damage, on a very slim neck/headstock, but as it happened prior to arrival here, that is mere speculation on my part.
I have sets of correct vintage tenor guitar tuners, if not the exact type originally fitted, and a set of new Kluson 2x2 vintage style stamped-steel Tenor Guitar tuners. Black plastic oval buttons, Nickel finish, double-line housing. I will be hoping to fit these, or similar tuners, to restore the vintage character of the fittings. The headstock work will be completed by additionally facing the rear of the headstock, and further re-finishing work, which will be completed in conjunction with the highly respected luthier I work with, in his workshop. On completion of this work the damage will not be detectable.
Of the two Silvertone 661s I have this one, VTG1088, is the on the right-hand of the photo showing the pair and, apart from the headstock work & other restoration in progress & yet to be completed, generally has the better overall cosmetic condition of the two, compared with the same model, VTG1089, which is still available, but both show typical age-related wear and superficial knocks/scratches, typical of c.50 year old vintage guitars.
Further work needed to complete the restoration includes the making/fitting of a new bone saddle for the original Rosewood bridge(fixing bolts visible are factory original fittings, not later additions, and re-fretting, to provide a fully playable, well set-up, professionally restored player's tenor guitar.
On completion of the restoration, we will be looking to achieve a 12th. fret at approx. 2.75mm./3mm. It will be strung with Bronze 12 gauge strings, although, in view of the variety of tunings available for tenor guitar, and the range of string gauges to suit, I would expect the buyer to settle on their own preference.
There is no case included with the guitar. I may have an contemporary pressed fibreboard case to fit, but old cases of this type, are not generally very robust or well-fitting. However, if you would be looking for a hardshell case, offering better protection, I may have a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite case to fit at modest additional cost.