Project 'Pheonix' - 1960s Kay ET200 Project

This is a guitar I've had a great deal of pleasure piecing back together. Although initially a little apprehensive, (you'd understand if had seen the first photo of it that I did!) but I was 100% intrigued!

(sorry for the bad phone photo but it's all I have of it's original state)
Kay ET200, in a bad way!

What is it you ask? Well it's a 1960s (can't date it precisely as there aren't any serial numbers) Kay Guitar, from some research it appears to be a variation of the 'ET200' model. These we your text book 'budget', but quirky and cool in equal measure, Japanese student guitars. Short scale length, funky trem system and originally two pickups with slide switches selecting them. Although not on this guitar! It had been under a lot of rubbish, stowed away for a long long time. It had all of it's pickguard, pickups and electrics missing. All that was left was i'ts body, bridge system, neck and it's very rusty, very seized tuners. Although not worth much, even in original condition, something made the owner not throw it in the skip that day, and I'm glad he didn't! Basically, without going into a lot of detail, this guitar was found after a long year or more of stress and difficulty. The guitar was found, and the customer felt it would be a real positive off the back of a bad time, if the guitar was restored and enjoyed. I thought it was a great thing to be a part of, so after an initial inspection, I took the job on!

It needed a bit of attention to the neck and fretboard, which was resolved with a little reseating of a fret end, and general work to tidy it up. It's a reinforced neck, but no adjustable truss rod, so luckily it was straight enough to not worry about that side of things. The tuners were completely seized, and I knew I wanted to try and source the same style white button, open back tuners, and somehow I managed to! The tuner post spacing was very different to most modern day tuners, but I managed to find a 6 in line set which fit the bill and they look great! All other hardware was removed and given a serious clean up, they came out great! Which meant I was able to re-use the original bridge and trem. 

The main work was with the body, plate and electronics. Due to the lightweight, small body and general vibe of the guitar, I suggested to the customer that I route the body out and stick a McNelly P90 Soapbar in the bridge position paired with Les Paul Junior style wiring. He was game! So the body got routed out to suit, and I began to shape out a pick guard out of a nice satin black blank sheet. I did a lot of google research to try and be true to the guitars original design, but tweaked it here and there to better suit the outer body lines and burst. Then the fun bit! Bringing it all together. for the wiring I used CTS 450 series 500k Mini-Pots, due to space, a .022uF Orange drop cap, Switchcraft jack and of course the McNelly P90. 

All strung up, it blew me away! The thing is awesome fun and sounds incredible! I'd happily have this in my rig, that P90 is so sweet and detailed, yet raunchy in a split second with a change of pick attack. As ever, a description I feel every McNelly Pickup model seems to posses, dynamics!

I'll film a quick demo video of this guitar to showcase the McNelly P90 Soapbar, as the customer has given me the nod to do so. Really looking forward to how great this thing sounds with you all. This guitar has so much character, and now a positive story to tell. Lovely to be a part of it.


graham debenham

graham debenham said:

looks great ive got three of this guitars and theyy sound pretty good in original form but your has given me an idea

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