The Amateur Luthier

Cataloging my experiences and encounters repairing and restoring guitars

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Kay  "K-#### ####" Black ink Stamped on the back usually visible through the soundhole or f-holes "K-####" is th...

Kay 

  • "K-#### ####"
    • Black ink
    • Stamped on the back usually visible through the soundhole or f-holes
    • "K-####" is the model number of the instrument and can range from one to several digits
    • The last 4 numbers have no discernible meaning and are likely related to the batch
  • "L#### ####"
    • Black ink
    • Stamped on the back usually visible through the soundhole or f-holes
    • No discernible meaning with regards to model numbers or years
    • Likely related to the batch
  • "N#", "P#", "B#"
    • Black or red ink
    • No apparent meaning relating to brand, model, or year
    • N Value Range: [1, 12]
    • P Value Range: [1, 7]
    • B Value Range: [2, 10]
    • N and P can occur together
    • N and B can occur together

Harmony

  • "H####"
  • "F-##", "S-##"
    • Black or blue ink
    • Denotes whether the instrument was built in the [F]irst or [S]econd half of the given year
      • [F]all and [S]pring are often incorrectly attributed to those letters
    • Sometimes followed by a letter with no apparent meaning
    • Includes the phrase "Made in U.S.A" underneath it
    • All enclosed in a box
  • "Carved-Top"
    • Red ink
    • Indicates a higher-end model with a carved (rather than heat pressed) arch top.
  • Dovetail Stamps
    • Some Harmony guitars have numbers stamped on either the male or female end of the dovetail which are only visible with the neck removed
    • These are likely internal numbers for construction and have no apparent meaning

This is my attempt to try and consolidate some knowledge about the tailpieces that appear on old acoustic guitars from the mid century. I a...

This is my attempt to try and consolidate some knowledge about the tailpieces that appear on old acoustic guitars from the mid century. I am mostly focusing on lower end instruments from factories like Kay, Harmony, and Regal and specifically their guitars.

No.
Appears On:
Years:
Construction: 
Screws:
Mounting Face: 
Mid Face:
Front Face:

Flattop Tailpieces

[8]


No. 11356
Appears On: Wurlitzer-branded instruments
Years: Early 1900s
Construction: Stamped, nickel-plated brass
Screws:3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped
Mid Face: Hourglass figure with 3 distinct curves per side
Front Face: Folded over for string mounting


[5]



No. 12R5186
Appears On: Sears Roebuck
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated brass
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped
Mid Face: Hourglass figure with 5 curves per side
Front Face: Folded over and notched for strings

[16]
No.
Appears On: Kay
Years: 1960s
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel 
Screws: 1
Mounting Face: 
Mid Face: 9 lines are etched into the left side, The Kay stylized 'K' is etched in the middle, and 3 diamond shapes are cut into the metal
Front Face: Sharp triangular raised portion for the strings to sit


[2]



No. 706
Appears On: Regal
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped 
Mid Face: Trapezoid with center cut out
Front Face: Raised portion for strings to sit in, smooth front

[12]
No.
Appears On: Harmony
Years: 1950s-1960s
Construction: Stamped nickel plated steel
Screws: 2
Mounting Face: Two nubs, one for each screw
Mid Face: Trapezoid with raised lines and center cut out
Front Face: Raised portion for strings

[10]
No. 1711
Appears On: Harmony
Years: 1950s-1960s
Construction: Stamped nickel plated steel
Screws:3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped 
Mid Face: Trapezoid with raised lines on the edges and a 4 hole decorative cutout in the center. 
Front Face:Raised portion for the strings to sit, small convex curve

 [1]
No. 1701
Appears On: Harmony, Kay
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped
Mid Face: Hourglass shape with 4 curves per side
Front Face: Raised portion for strings, serrated front

 [1]



No. 1705
Appears On: Harmony
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel
Screws:1
Mounting Face: Square shaped with cutout that comes to a point below the screw
Mid Face: Trapezoid with shield-esque cutout
Front Face: Raised portion for strings, comes to a point

[6]



No. 707, 6084
Appears On: Regal, Kay, Tonk Bros
Years: 1930s-1940s
Construction: Stamped, welded, nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped
Mid Face: Trapezoid with cutout. All sides are folded over for a smooth feel and appearance
Front Face: Claw string mount is hidden by tailpiece cover.


[3]


No. 12L5190, 54
Appears On: Regal, Kay, B&J
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Raised portion in the center, 3 curves on each side that come to a singular point
Mid Face: Smooth, hourglass shape with a single curve for a fan-like appearance. Raised center for a beveled appearance.
Front Face: Raised portion for strings to sit with decorative rivets (?)

[11]
No.
Appears On: Harmony
Years: War time 1940s
Construction: Wood
Screws:2
Mounting Face: 
Mid Face: Elongated heart shape
Front Face: Small channel with holes for strings
 [1]



No. 1710  "Idento" tailpiece
Appears On: Harmony
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel 
Screws: 2
Mounting Face: Ornate, comes to a point
Mid Face: Art-deco, trapezoidal shapes.
Front Face: Removable insert for a card, intended for the owner's name. More art-deco influences.

[4]




No. 45
Appears On: B&J
Construction: Stamped, nickel plated steel
Mounting: 3 holes in a triangle formation
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shape
Mid Face: Hourglass figure with 4 curves
Front Face: Raised portion for strings to sit in. Two nubs on the front resemble Mickey Mouse's ears

Archtop Tailpieces



[1]


No. 1703, 6086
Appears On: Harmony, Kay
Construction: Stamped, welded, nickel plated steel 
Screws: 4
Mounting Face: 2 arms with 2 screw holes each
Mid Face: 2 arms
Front Face: Plain, rectangular cover with holes for the strings to go through

[6]


No. 6085
Appears On: Kay, Tonk Bros
Construction: Stamped, Riveted, nickel plated steel
Screws: 4
Mounting Face: 2 arms with 2 screw holes each
Mid Face: 2 arms
Front Face: Plain, rectangular cover with holes for the strings to go through. 4 rivets visibly mount each arm to the center portion.
[1]




No. 1735
Appears On; Harmony
Construction: Stamped, assembled nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped
Mid Face: One bar bent into a U shape with acorn nuts on each end. Hinged
Front Face: Sliding string mount with fully enclosed holes for the ball ends of the strings to rest.


[13]
No.
Appears On:
Years:
Construction: Stamped, machined, nickel plated steel
Screws: 3
Mounting Face: Spade shaped with a strap button hole
Mid Face: Rod bent into a U shape, held in a hinge, and with acorn nuts affixed to the ends
Front Face: Floating bar with slots for the strings to go through and 3 lines cut into the top






No. "Adjustotone"
Appears On: Vega
Years: Late 1930s
Construction: ?
Screws: ?
Mounting Face: Adjustable thumb screw for changing the break angle of the strings. Trapezoidal construction
Mid Face: small art-deco cut out
Front Face: Thick block with holes for the strings

Image and Information Sources


 [1] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1940harmony_page35&cat_1940harmony_page35
[2] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1940regal_025&cat_1940regal_025
[3] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1915b_j_09&cat_1915b_j_09
[4] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1927B_J_020&cat_1927B_J_020
[5] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1902sears_006&cat_1902sears_006
[6] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1937tonk_041&cat_1937tonk_041
[7] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1939vega_005&cat_1939vega_005
[8] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1906wurlitzer_007&cat_1906wurlitzer_007
[9] https://www.ebay.com/itm/263632723231
[10] https://www.umanovguitars.com/store/item/1950s-harmony-1711-tailpiece/
[11] https://reverb.com/item/20921872-harmony-wood-carved-tailpiece-for-archtop-guitar-h1301-clipper-1940-rosewood
[12] https://www.ebay.com/itm/Chrome-Vintage-Stella-Silvertone-Harmony-Guitar-Tailpiece-/283440183202
[13] https://reverb.com/item/6323481-kluson-vintage-kay-harmony-short-trapeze-guitar-tailpiece
[16] http://thumb1.zeppy.io/d/l400/pict/293061655482/kay-deco-1960s-arch-top-guitar-tailpiece-silvertone-harmony-old-kraftsman-nr


This list is the culmination of research done by myself and others into the various brand names that appeared on instruments in the 20th cen...

This list is the culmination of research done by myself and others into the various brand names that appeared on instruments in the 20th century. Sources and more info can be found on the respective manufacturer pages. Not all of this information is mine, a lot of it I have compiled. Credits go to JediStar.com, Harmony.DeMont.com, Jake Wildwood, and more

Brand
Distributor
Built By
Years Active
Notes
Kay
Harmony
Regal
A. Rogers
Selmer UK
Y
1940s
Airline
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
1958-1968
Alamo
Purchased parts from Kay
Aloha
Y
Ambassador
Y
Y
Arch Kraft
Vitak-Elsnic co
Y
1933-1937
Armstrong
Y
1940s
Barclay
Unity Buying Service
Y
Beltone
Sorkin Music Co
Y
kayvintagereissue.com claims distribution by “Monroe or P&H”
Biltmore
Vitak-Elsnic
Y
Broman
Broman
Y
1940s
Bruno
Y
Buckeye
Y
Carelli
Y
Catalina
Abercrombie and Fitch
Y
Not to be confused with the Harmony Catalina model archtop
Columbian
Selmer UK
Y
Commander
Aldens
Y
Continental
Continental Music Company
Y
1929-late 1940s
Coronado
Gamble-Skogmo
Y
1960s
Crest
Sears
Y
Late 1930s
Custom Kraft
St Louis Music Co
Y
Y
1930s-1968
El Rancho
Sorkin Music Co
Y
Late 1950s
Western motif
Encore
Y
1940s-1950s
Esquire
Selmer Indiana
Y
Y
1938
Fascinator
Y
Fender
Y
1970s
Fischer
Carl Fischer Catalog
Y
Y
1929-1936
1950s
Also seen branded “Carl Fischer”
Franklin
Franklin Music House
Y
1930s
Futuramic
Y
1950s
Space age motif
Gagliano
Y
Y
Galaxy
Y
Galiano
Y
Y
Y
Gaylord
Y
Gretsch
Y
Y
Wartime 1940s
Groehsl
1918-1921
Absorbed by Stromberg-Voisinet
Heath
Heathkit
Y
Primarily electric
Holiday
Aldens
Y
Y
1960s
Hollywood
Schireson Brothers
Y
1933
Commonly mispelled as “Shireson”
Jay Johnson
Y
Kamico
Kay
Y
1947-1951
Budget line of Kay instruments
Kay Kraft
Y
1927-1937
Venetian style
Kaywood
Y
1934
Wooden resonators
Lark Jr
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Music-note inlays on the Harmony models
Lee Gibbs / Concertone
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
1914-1930s
Liberty
Y
Post-War 1940s
Patriotic red-white-blue motif
Lombardi
Y
1930s-1940s
Also known as Nobility
Manhattan
Selmer Indiana
Y
Marathon
Southland Musical Merchandise Co
Y
1950s
Marvel
Peter Sorkin Co
Y
Y
1940s-1970s
Marveltone
Y
Y
1930s
No apparent relation to the ‘Marvel’ line
Marwin
Barth-Feinberg
Y
Possible
1940s-1950s
Master Art
Y
Mayflower
Stromberg-Voisinet
Y
1920s
McKinney
Y
Melody King
Bronson Music Co
Y
Y
Post 1931
Minerva
Eaton’s Canada
Y
Mitchel
Y
Montclair
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
Nobility
Y
1930s-1940s
Also labelled as Lombardi
Oahu
Oahu Publishing Company
Y
Y
1927-1938
Old Kraftsman
Spiegel
Y
1942
Opus
Y
1974-1975
Orpheum
Montgomery Ward
Y
1930s-1950s
Paramount
William Lange Banjo Co
Y
Y
Penncrest
J.C. Penney
Y
1950s-1960s
Playtime
Sears
Y
1940s
Prairie Voice
Calgary Stampede
Y
Premier
Y
Y
Regal
Y
Y
Y
Kay-built in the 1930s
Harmony-built post 1954
Rex
Gretsch Catalog (1948)
Y
Y
1930s-1940s
Rhapsody
Y
Royalist
RCA Victor
Y
Serenader
Buegeleisen and Jacobson
Y
Y
S. S. Maxwell
Y
Y
1930s
Sherwood
Montgomery Ward
Y
1940s-1960s
Sierra
Y
Silvertone
Sears
Y
Y
Y
Most common brand.
Italian-built models exist from the 60s
Sonata
Y
1940s
S. S. Stewart
Buegeleisen and Jacobson
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Sterling
Tonk Brothers
Y
1930s
Stromberg
Y
1921-1932
Supertone
Sears
Y
Y
1914-1941
Suprema
Eaton’s Canada
Y
Y
1930s
Supro
Y
1960s
“P.S. Supros were only built by Kay for about 2 years at the very end of their existence.” - Greg Z
Sylvia
Y
Telleno
Y
Tone King
Y
Tonk
Tonk Brothers Co
Till 1938
Tower
Y
Truetone
Western Auto
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
Vega
Y
Vibratone
St Louis Music Co
Y
Y
Resonator models exist
Vita Uke
Y
Roy Smeck endorsement
Wabash
David Wexler Company
Y
Walters
Y
1930s-1950s
Ward
Montgomery Ward
Y
1925-1961
Webster
Y
Y
1940s-1950s
Weymann
Y
Windsor
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
Wizard
Y
References to these instruments only appear from South Africa