A Very Rare & All Original Acoustic Guitar, Excellent Restored Condition, Fingerboard Re-levelled & Re-fretted, Original Kluson Single-line Tuners, Newtone Heritage Strings.

Available & Ready to Go!

- A Returning Favourite Guitar, I Initially Restored & Sold a Couple of Years Ago!

Entirely new set of current photos now uploaded!

There is limited information to be found on the internet, either in respect of the "Marveltone" brand, or this particular design model, but it was clearly made by the Kay Company in Chicago.

However the Jedistar Guides website..... that the brand name was owned by Tang & Dinner, musical merchandise distributor....

Many of these companies flourished during the inter-war years, and often had their branded instruments made by various of the established guitar makers in Chicago & elsewhere, including Kay, Harmony & Regal.

Further information is available from Jake Wildwood's splendid "Country Guitar Doctor" blog, where in the "Museum" section is a page detailing the identical model guitar that he worked on, but under a "Lyra" brand name....
Stock Number: VTG1584.

This is a rare, 17.25" (43.8mm. body width) jumbo, roundhole archtop, with longer 26"/660mm. scale, most definitely built by Kay in either the late 1930s or early 1940s. In truth it should be named an oval-hole archtop...something like a cross between a petite-bouche & grand bouche in Maccaferri/Selmer/Gypsy Jazz style guitars.

All original with a nice Spruce top, augmented ladder-style bracing, true Sunburst finish, Maple back & sides, original Kluson Single-line enclosed 3-on-a-plate machines, Rosewood floating & adjustable bridge of typical Kay design, nut appears original bone, original metal tailpiece. Fingerboard is Ebonised Maple....see "Condition" notes on re-levelling & re-colouring.

Comfortable, quite full volume, "C" profile neck, a little slimmer in fingerboard/nut width than contemporary Harmony guitars, with their standard 1.75" nut width, and again a little narrower than the modern standard 43mm., measuring approx. 42mm., which is a bit of a puzzle as it converts to the rather odd imperial inch fraction of 1 & 21/32"? Radiused fingerboard may have around 12" radius.
As far as I can tell, this guitar is all original, and I maintained this originality in the restoration process, except of course for new frets, and a couple of additional screw mountings needed to secure the pickguard. The overall condition is really quite exceptionally good for an approx. 80 year old guitar. Inevitably there is cosmetic wear and ageing, including various scratches & knocks, but only a little in the way of loss of finish/colour, including small patch of capo wear on the neck. The original raised pickguard is intact, but has become slightly curved, and I have added a couple of further fixing screws/spacers, in order to both avoid it rattling on the body & to better align & secure it so as not to obstruct playing.

Original floating adjustable Rosewood Bridge is intact and operational; the original metal tailpiece likewise, with just moderate surface disclouration commensurate with age. As have the original 3-on-a-plate enclosed Kluson Single-line Patent Applied tuners, which work fine, and although the buttons (possibly not the originals?) show some mis-shaping & one has a small split, they are otherwise intact & operational. I have fitted new, larger type, vintage bootlace type ferrules, to fit the larger shafts on the Klusons & aid their operation.

I re-levelled the fingerboard....although previously the guitar actually played all the way up the fretboard as it was, but not only were there wear grooves in the open chord positions & flat, low & grooved frets, but the fingerboard did have a little more relief than it should. On completing this the Ebonised Maple fingerboard was re-coloured and then re-fretted, so it should be as near as you can get to playing a new guitar. The original Bone Nut was re-fitted & adjusted.

On this return, the guitar has been back in the workshop, thoroughly checked over and re-strung.
Action, strings & cases
Following completion of the fingerboard re-levelling & re-fretting, 2 years ago, the set-up & action has not changed, and the guitar plays well with excellent 12th. fret action of around 2.75mm./3mm. on a straight fretboard.

Two years ago I replaced the strings with Newtone Master Class 11-50 gauge Phosphor Bronze strings....going down a gauge from the 12 gauge I usually fit, in response to the higher tension of the longer 26" scale.....but now having just received 2 sets, I have fitted Newtone Heritage 12-51, also Phosphor Bronze, the lower than standard tension of which will do the same.

The is no case included, but I do have an old, but useable Hiscox GJ/Jumbo size hardshell case....please enquire if this would be useful.
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**** YOUTUBE ****

I haven't yet found a clip of any type of Marveltone guitar on YouTube yet, but having widened the search for demos of similar roundhole archtop guitars from that era, I have embedded & linked 3 clips of '30s Roundhole Archtops, also from Chicago makers. Firstly the ever reliable source of James Ralston, the USA pro-guitarist & vintage guitar restorer with the embedded clip below...."1930's May-Bell Round Hole Archtop. 14 Fret/Solid Mahogany. Restored." by James Ralston, and additional link #1, with a further nice clip from Lothar Dornieden for the second additional link.

In addition to these, and the Jake Wildwood Blogspot feature on the identical guitar to this, but branded "Lyra", which confirms all the identical construction features of this guitar.... should also pick up on Jake's YouTube contribution ........
......entitled "1930s Kay-made round-hole archtop guitar" - Jake which he comments "Real long 26" scale (which it shares with this Marveltone!), very punchy, very loud for its 00-ish size. This could easily kick-out gypsy-jazz."
Useful links
1930's May-Bell 0-size Round Hole Arch-top. by James Ralston
Vintage Supertone Roundhole Archtop (ca. 1936) by Lothar Dornieden
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