I have never seen anything like this before and thought I would post it here for your perusal.  I have had this axe for almost two months, and ,though I know that the fretboard had been worked on sometime in the past, did not look closely enough, because the  guitar played just fine. All of the frets have been taken off the fretboard, and some kinda dark brown glue used to raise the frets up off the board to about half again as high. The following photos were done on manual setting on my new 1k Canon, and I just had my first lesson with that setting this last weekend. You can (clearly?) see the diamonds of the fret tang through the glue under the frets. ... So have any of you seen or heard of this before. 

Views: 374


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Better shot from my Manual camera teacher RedRaster.
Are there fret slots?
Wow - those are high frets!
A couple of thoughts come to mind. Maybe this was originally a Hawaiian (slide) guitar with no frets and a really high action. These bar frets might have been added later and glued on top of the fingerboard rather than slotted in (hence Tom's question - any slots?). Alternatively, this approach of raising the height of the frets might have been seen as a cheap-fix alternative to doing a neck reset in a guitar with unplayable high string action.
Interesting. I haven't heard of this before.
Well, this is a Kay Kraft two point guitar from late 1931. There ARE fret slots, and these guitars never need a neck reset because the neck is attached with a large wing nut that is through the sound hole and into the end block. curved shim on the outside of the guitar that has a rail down the centre, and a slot for the rail on the neck. These also are regular guitar frets too....
Here we go..
Still more amazing. We think of adjustable neck angle as a new discovery and there was the same technique in the 1930s. I wonder why it didn't catch on? Anyway, that blows my theory for the tall frets out of the water. Clearly this was a guitar with some out-of-the-box thinking in its design (perhaps some of it a bit whacky?!)
Mark, it is obvious, when I have the guitar in my hands that the fret thing was done long after it left the factory. The OTHER quite odd thing about the way these frets were installed? At the headstock end, there is only a small amount of glue under the frets, and as you get higher up the neck the frets get steadily higher!!! The way the neck attaches is, in real terms, not super solid. The shim is made out of mahogany, or sometimes spruce, and because there is SUCH a huge bolt and wing nut inside the guitar, it does not make for good sound transfer. The neck also moves easily. I have LOTS of ebony here, and if it were possible, (and I could figure out how) I would make these insert/shims out of that and reinstall them in all my Kays. I finished all the work on it this weekend and finally strung it up. Sounds pretty good too. It's a 14 fret rosewood body , and while they say ALL these guitars are rare (mahogany two points are everywhere) this model IS rare. I have a Facebook 'Kay Kraft Guitars' tribute page if you are interested. For some reason, this Ning site will not let me post a link. I hate Ning...
Finished pictures. I did'nt say before, but the neck is actually quite comfortable to play with the frets like this.
Here are the bridges I am building for these also.
I may have to steal that shape for a Mandola!!!Love it....but IMO the bridge does not
look like it will produce the best tone due to how detached from the wood below and it almost looks unstable.I'd use the ajustable to make a nice 1 piece 'cause the tone will be better or consider a Brekke ajustable w/ the adjusters on the side for a more
natural wood tone.
For what it may be worth, I've seen frets raised in that way before, and I've done one or two myself to correct individual low frets on really cheap guitars. Clearly not ideal work. . .

As to the neck adjustment, it's a standard item seen on some guitars and all Kay banjos from the 1930s to the demise of the company. Here's a little piece about one of the last of those banjos:
Thanks for that Frank.


© 2024   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service