KayKraft Venetian Model B Acoustic Guitar (1930s)

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KayKraft Venetian Model B Acoustic Guitar (1930s)


This Kay / KayKraft / Stromberg Voisinet built Venetian Model B is special in so many ways: the “French offset” pointy, asymmetrical design copied from mandolin construction; the special rotating neck design for string action adjustment; the steamed, pressed ply arch top with a spruce veneer. Maple (flamed) back and sides and a mahogany neck lead to the Mother of Toilet Seat white plastic headstock cap. Amazingly, the gold stencil is still in rather good shape. The neck is a modern profile, more D than C. The archtop body has with 3-ply binding front and back. There is crazing on the body as the photos show and holes where the pickguard had been attached. The thin white binding appears also on the ebony fretboard. The semi-hard, locking, lightweight case from Headway is included. It has a strap that allows carrying like a backpack. The inner shape does not conform to the guitar perfectly but the instrument sits tightly within – no rattle or movement in any direction. 


Giuseppe Zorzi did so many design innovations for the abovementioned companies during his time. The rotating neck is the most creative, though it didn’t take. The neck rotates at the heel (see photo) on an ebony baseplate and is tightened by a wingnut inside the body. Not something I’d want to do often, but it does mean there will never be a neck reset. The neck is straight and the fret markers are gorgeous (see photos). If possible use phosphor bronze strings to lower neck stress. There is a fair amount of crazing to the original finish, also 3 small screw holes where a pickguard was once attached, and various scratches and marks of wear during its 80 years “on the road.” To reduce costs of making an archtop, the “new technology” of steaming and pressing ply was adopted. No more laborious carving a top. Think Eames chairs or just about any modern wooden chair seat seen in a lunchroom.

The Venetian Model B was the kind of depression era guitar we see in photos by the likes of Charlie Patton and Big Bill Broonzy. It has the same dry, inimitable sound found on Blues records of the period.


Scale: 24.75”

Bouts: 28cm and 37cm

Depth: 8-9cm

Body Length: 49cm

Total Length: 102cm

Nut 1.875”

Weight: 1730g

Original bridge and trapeze

Banjo tuners

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