Guitar ID: 1950 Kay Truetone Speed Demon? (pic)

I noticed someone IDed a Kay Speed Demon before and was hoping they might help me out. There's absolutely no markings on the thing and the guitar looks exactly like a 3 pickup Kay Speed Demon except for the fact that there's no truss rod adjustment and it has the old bakelite volume knobs (do they call them muffintops or something). Do you think that means that it's not a 1960's version, but rather something older, or did Harmony also have a similar model?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Harmony did do a three-pup, single cutaway semi, but there are noticeable differences. I reckon yours is a Kay K573, but it might have been made for sale by Silvertone or Truetone. The headstock shape is similar to the early 60s type (rather than the mid 60s odd headstock with inline tuners) but I've not seen one with no trussrod before.

We have a contributor by name of SB who can help more than most can. Have a look at his website, vintaxe.com

Cheers on that, you've given me more for my search string. I've had the thing for about 15 years and I'm now curious just what it actually is so I can record it on there.
For a moment I thought the neck might be a replacement; no binding on the fingerboard edge, softer wood on neck and fingerboard and lack of rod adjustment, but looks and wear fits the rest of the guitar and doesn't show any signs that it's ever been removed.

Quote:
For a moment I thought the neck might be a replacement

That crossed my mind also. The K573 has a pretty unusual neck-bolting arrangement. If you undid yours and found no additional holes, then that'd suggest an original neck. Otherwise... (gets can'o'worms opener) :)

Well, beyond the neck, I passed it by the Vintaxe site and another unusual aspect that I didn't pay attention to was the rounded off point on the cut away vs. the usual pointed ones on most Speed Demons. So I guess I'm wondering which feed store/gas station/shoe store might have contracted out for their own brand.

You may no longer be interested in this; but, the guitar pictured in your entry from last year was probably built by Kay for sale by Western Auto or Penney's. I have a 1963, Western Auto "TrueTone" which looks just like yours (except for knob and switch color). I even have the Western Auto catalog from that year...picturing the guitar at $95. I paid a lot more!

Big Daddy

bigdaddymkg wrote:
You may no longer be interested in this; but, the guitar pictured in your entry from last year was probably built by Kay for sale by Western Auto or Penney's. I have a 1963, Western Auto "TrueTone" which looks just like yours (except for knob and switch color). I even have the Western Auto catalog from that year...picturing the guitar at $95. I paid a lot more!

Big Daddy I have a Truetone Speed demon too. Does yours have two large notes on the pickguard and one note has a crown in the center while the other note has an arrow pointing upwards? Mine does and I don't know exactly what year it is but never paid a dime for it. It is all origional except for the 4 way switch knob and I'm not sure about the bridge because it is wooden with small wheels to raise and lower it. pretty cool guitar though.

Thanks for your note.

Although the bridge, etc., are exactly as you describe, mine does NOT have the musical notes on the pick guard, something that I've wondered about. So, you may truly have the 1963 Truetone Jazz King picture in my catalog (with the "decorated" guard); and, I may have a slightly earlier or later model of the same guitar. I have scanned the 1963 Western Auto catalog page which shows your guitar and it is very clear. If you want to e-mail me at bigdaddymkg@tx.rr.com, I will share it with you.

It has the famous Kay "tissue box" pickups, but what seems out of place is the cutaway "horn". All of the Speed Demons I have seen, including the private label models, have a pointed cutaway horn like what is found on the Gibson ES 175. Yours is more rounded. A lot of stores would make special requests to make their model different from competing stores models, so that's probably what happened. In all other respects it does appear to be a Speed Demon private label of some sort, I'm just not sure who might have specified a reshaping of the horn.

Hello,
I was looking at your guitar and I have both a Kay and Trutone version. I'm not an expert, but the fretboards on both of mine have large dot markers and only 5. Yours has 6. FYI
Another clue may be the frets. Both of mine have brass frets.
Good luck.

I own this exact guitar. We just picked it up at a yard sale, and it literally looks identical. White bakelite knobs, no identification anywhere. I've come to the conclusion that it's definitely a variation on a Kay Speed Demon for a department store, but I can't figure out which one.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

This site is published by Hitsquad Pty Ltd. Copyright © 1999 - 2018 , All Rights Reserved.