60s Kay N-4 arch top custom rebuild with short-scale 12-fret slot head neck, 1 3/4” nut, modern adjustable truss rod, fitted rosewood bridge w/ bone saddle and tone fit for a vintage acoustic flattop


My first arch top conversion started with my friend Phil Henry who gifted me an old mahogany Kay that had seen better days. I posted that guitar for sale on the shop’s website where it sold soon after, which got to thinking “Why"? Maybe because a 12-fret arch top guitar not only frets easier from less tension but also the short scale length pushes the position of the bridge closer to the sweet spot in the lower bout delivering better tone? Maybe because cool looks and awesome playability might have factored into it? Who knows why it sold so quick. So, anyway, I made another one.

SPECS: 000-size body, 12-fret neck, slotted headstock w/ rosewood truss rod cover, arch top-braced birch top, sides and back in original burst finish, remnant of painted bound top and back, poplar neck with adjustable truss rod, vintage tuning machines, “C” neck profile, new radius’d fretboard with new frets, new rosewood bridge with compensated saddle slot, MOP inlays, bone nut and saddle. Nut width: 1 3/4”, String Spacing: 2 1/4”, Scale length: 24”, Upper bout: 11 1/2”, Lower Bout: 15 5/8”, Body length: 20”, Widest body depth: 3 3/4”, Overall length: 39”, Neck thickness at 1st fret: 7/8“, Neck thickness at 5th fret: 7/8”, Action: 3/32”, string gauge setup: D’addario EJ26 custom light gauge in standard tuning.

CONDITION: Conversion from 14-fret standard scale to 12-fret short scale neck. Other work included neckset with added truss rod, combination neck heel strap button/threaded insert machine screw, rosewood bridge fitted snug to the top, new radius’d fretboard/frets, setup. New position of floating bridge reveals original position of footed floating bridge. Remnance of original neck footprint on rim and top. Please note that vintage, repurposed materials and finishes will have underlying swirls, scrapes, scratches, bumps and bruises. Any new features added during the rebuild were made to fit in with the old.

SOUND: This arch top sounds less like an arch top and more like a flattop than any other arch top I’ve heard. Neck is comfortable to play and current setup favors fingerstyle blues and light strumming. Higher action can be adjusted to suit your playing style. Click the soundclip link and have a listen.

PRICE: $799

Link to video soundclip here.



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