I believe this is a 1961 model based on what I've read elsewhere - it's certainly in that ballpark, possibly late'50s but more likely early'60s I think. Like Harmony (also a Chicago-based company back then), Kay made many guitars for these stores, often stamped with different names such as Silvertone and Airline. This one would I think have been badged as a Kay (rather than an Old Kraftsman which is the other possibility) but sadly it is missing the headstock logo (though it does have a Kay sticker in its place and is stamped with'6535' if you look inside the F holes). Everything works as it should for a guitar of this age and design. It has double pancake pick-ups which I believe were Kay made (later they used Valco, particularly for Airlines, which were also used on a lot of National electrics) - the front one on this guitar is punchier than the rear, but both are operating fine and between the two of them and the two tone dials you can do most of what you want with an amp on it in terms of effects, gain, clean rhythm vibes, mellow jazz / Chicago blues vibes etc.
Acoustically it sounds pretty good too. The action is comfortable - it goes up slightly because, as with many archtops, the higher bridge is compensated for by a slight arc in the neck. You could reset the neck if you wanted the action lower, but it is perfectly playable as it is, with only two dead spots on the entire fretboard that I can find not bad for a guitar that's nearly sixty years old! There is some slight wear to the low end of the fretboard from use over the years, and the occasional scuff and check here and there, plus the patina you get with old wood veneer anyway - nothing that affects playing and absolutely no cracks. There is also a slight depression to the body around one of the F holes by the pickguard.
This does not affect the sound at all as far as I can tell. The guitar has a strap button on one end but not on the other, but this could easily be replaced if you plan on gigging with it (when that's even possible again). Other than the aforementioned sticker, the guitar is all original except for the fact that one tuning knob has been replaced at some point with one that is so similar I didn't notice at first.Overall, a very desirable vintage player, and a real piece of guitar history from a bygone era when America was top dog in the market, with companies like Kay and their rival Harmony hand-making many of even their low-end guitars well into the'60s before the arrival of cheaper factory made Asian imports began to undercut their prices, ultimately leading to the closure of many of these guitar giants of the twentieth century. The guitar comes with a free gig bag. Any other questions please feel free to ask. I'm not currently taking offers on this one, but do get in touch if you have a query or want to know more.
The item "Kay 6535 1961 Tobacco Sunburst Archtop Guitar with Double Pickup & free gig bag" is in sale since Wednesday, November 25, 2020. This item is in the category "Musical Instruments\Guitars & Basses\Electric Guitars". The seller is "ricba-9165" and is located in Bridgwater. This item can be shipped worldwide.