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This was all done in October of 2018 and I've only just now gotten to writing about it. It was 2:30pm when I stumbled across a neat Kay ...

A Kay K6100 Story

This was all done in October of 2018 and I've only just now gotten to writing about it. It was 2:30pm when I stumbled across a neat Kay project guitar on Reverb that the seller claimed was X-braced. That, of course, piqued my interest and so I went to check out the other photos. That is when I stumbled upon a label in the soundhole.

Image Credit: Reverb - Lost Art Vintage Instruments


The production number is L2834 6100

The Research

I contacted the Reverb seller about the label and they responded "Can’t read it" so I set out to use image editing software to try and decipher it....

I returned with:
Stuart M. Klavens
3704 Rosedale Rd.
Baltimore MD
2-22-68
By using the magic (and relative creepiness) of public information, I managed to locate a relative of the owner and some possible contact information. After a couple flops and a talk with a Hispanic lady, I had reached a man who claimed to be the brother of Mr Klavens. I explained what I had found and what I was trying to learn and he said he would pass my information along.

A couple days passed and then as I was driving to work on the 10th of October, 2018 I received a phone call from a gentlemen who claimed to be the owner of the instrument. He had been going by a new name, that I have since forgotten, but explained to me some of the instrument's story. Our conversation was brief and my notes incomplete but this is what I know.

The Owner

He was born in 1938 as Stuart Klavens and picked up this guitar in the mid 1950s.

As a banjo player, he was accustomed to the layout and tuning of a banjo so he drove a screw into the bass side somewhere between the 6th or 9th frets and strung it with banjo strings.
Image Credit: 1959 article reprinted in The Bluegrass Reader 

He started playing in night clubs in 1962, changed his name to Stuart Clay in 1964, sold the guitar at some point, and changed his name again in 1984. He did play out and did play a plectrum-style banjo cover of "Wildwood Flower" as this 1959 article reprint illustrates.

He no longer plays but seemed thrilled that I had contacted him about his old instrument and mentioned that he was going to go and tell "all of my friends" and that was good enough for me.

The Conclusion

He had played and owned a lot of guitars and this one had gone and lived it's own life and he was curious to see if I was in possession of it. Unfortunately it was bought up before I could purchase and restore it so it is now off somewhere in the US living a new life and hopefully being rebuilt and played again.

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Be excellent to each other dudes