Preliminary Announcement - showing photos of the guitar, prior to restoration, as it came to me.
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, which usually don't hang about long at all - with excellent feedback from buyers! Availability of the Stella Tenors is also limited, and I generally don't manage to get more than 2 or 3 a year, and they are usually pre-sold. The same is true of most of the types of tenor guitar I have sold. Most of these have been the various ones made by Harmony....as I say, most frequently the Stellas, followed by the H1201TG Sovereign, and the two archtop models, the H1215T Archtone & the H950T Monterey. In addition there has been a more limited number of Kay tenors.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including one restored as a private project for the well-known Midlands-based Bluesman David Bristow. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored was sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...this time a Harmony Sovereign H1201TG from me, and again I have been in touch with Richard recently, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement. Amongst others tenors sold are the Archtop H1215Ts to both Steve Harrison & Graham Legge.
Many of the restored vintage guitars I sell are now "pre-sold" - their restoration is completed for a particular buyer who has enquired from previous sales.
Stock Numbers: VTG1089.
There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence of production of Tenor guitars, in limited numbers, by the makers in Chicago, i.e. Harmony & Kay, in the 1950s & 1960s, but by the end of the '60s this had petered out completely as the "folkie" boom, gave way to electric rock. Hence the supply of all types of tenors from this period is pretty small, and some models are now becoming very hard to get hold of.
The Kay Company's guitar-making in Chicago ceased in 1968, several years earlier than Harmony, and in identifying Kay USA made guitars generally, we do not have the excellent facility of the The Harmony Guitars Database to assist. There are some online catalogues available via the Kay Vintage Reissue website, but not all years are available...for instance 1961 & 1962 are there, but then a gap until 1966 & 1967/8, when Kay USA finished. However, like Harmony, in this era, as throughout from the 1920s/1930s onwards, Kay made many guitars for various distributor/store/mail order companies, like Sears, whose post-war in-house guitar brand went by the name of Silvertone. None of these guitars are in the Kay Catalogs!
Various online information suggests that this model is the Silvertone 661, only available for a short period from 1964 to early in 1966...rather a late-in-the-day response to the early 1960s folkie boom, I'd have thought! It seems very similar to the Kay K3900 which appears in the 1966 Catalog, but that model has a Mahogany top, rather than Spruce...I sold one of those 4 years ago.
Into the 1960s, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still in demand, but production had dwindled to a few manufacturers. In recent years the use and demand for Tenor Guitars has revived strongly, with some prominent players.
This Silvertone Mod. 661 tenor, and the similar one I have still available for reservation, are roughly the equivalent of Martin 000 or OM body-size....approx. 15"/38cm. wide, approx. 19"/48cm. body length, 23"/585mm. scale length, with a typically slim 29.5mm./1.15" nut width fingerboard. The top is Spruce, with tortoiseshell edged, cream & black binding to the sides and soundhole and teardrop-shaped tortoiseshell colour scratchplate. The Back & sides are Mahogany, again with tortoiseshell binding.
This guitar is all original, and is the one on the left-hand side of the photo showing the pair of Silvertone 661s in the workshop at the moment. Cosmetically it does show a somewhat greater degree of marking, compared with the same model VTG1088, which has already been reserved, but no signs of structural issues.
The guitar has been checked over with the luthier I work with and the neck joint will require re-setting, and the original Rosewood bridge will require either re-fixing, or as it has some chipping damage, possibly alternatively replacing, with a new bridge we would individually purpose-make. Although the original frets are not as worn as on VTG1088, again I expect that we will probably be re-fretting this one also, as part of carrying out the full restoration needed to again restore & correctly set-up the guitar as a professionally restored player's tenor guitar.
On completion of the restoration, we will be looking to achieve a 12th. fret at approx. 2.75mm./3mm. It will be strung with Bronze 12 gauge strings, although, in view of the variety of tunings available for tenor guitar, and the range of string gauges to suit, I would expect the buyer to settle on their own preference.
There is no case included with the guitar. I may have an contemporary pressed fibreboard case to fit, but old cases of this type, are not generally very robust or well-fitting. However, if you would be looking for a hardshell case, offering better protection, I may have a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite case to fit at modest additional cost.
*** YOUTUBE ***
I have failed to find any demo clips of similar Kay/Silvertone tenors, but meantime have provided a couple of videos sent to me at one time or another by friends and customers. Firstly I have embedded a YouTube clip titled "Hard Luck Child" by "gadaya", sent to me by the customer who bought a Stella Tenor I'm restored. Although played on an older 1920s/30s Stella, to me it is a great piece of Tenor Guitar Blues playing.