Silvertone Aristocrat 1959

Silvertone Aristocrat 1959


Manufactured in the USA by the Kay company for the Sears catalog, the Aristocrat is essentially one of Kay's high end Upbeat models (very similar to Kay's Barney Kessel in fact), yet featuring the "Speed Bump" chrome topped pickups popular on many of Kay's other models. This archtop features a full 17" lower bout, spruce top and figured curly maple back and sides, with a gorgeous, unfaded red sunburst finish. The tone is nuanced and warm, with a percussive quality that adds definition to single note lines and complex Jazz chords. The balance between the volume of the two pickups is great, and both Speed Bumps have strong output. The bridge pickup can twang and jangle, while the neck position is warm and full, with very round bass notes. 

The neck has a generous chunky C shaped profile with 1 11/16" nut width, and the profile is firmly in "baseball bat" territory, filling the palm and chording very comfortably. The rosewood fretboard sports pearl block inlays and original frets that show very little wear, with their full original height and well rounded crowns. Kay used a surprisingly robust fretwire for a guitar made in the '50s, and these particular frets have a bit more width than you usually see in this era, playing cleanly up the neck with no buzzing or dead spots. 

On the body, all of the electronics work as they should, with individual Volume and Tone controls for each pickup coupled with a three-way pickup selector lever with a heavy duty metal tip. The original nickel trapeze tailpiece is present, along with the carved rosewood bridge. Even Kay's signature flag pickguard with etched Silvertone "S" is intact and in fantastic shape with the stock mounting bracket. The original creme bakelite "cupcake" knobs are present as well.  

Comes with original case that is missing the handle. 

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