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We’ve installed the tuners correctly, however there are left-over screw holes and minor impressions on the back of the headstock. Styled after Gibson’s K-2 Mandocellos built two decades earlier, we suspect this instrument was commissioned by a musician who couldn’t find a Gibson K in Wartime Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Playability is excellent despite moderate fret wear, and the instrument is lively and even-toned. The last Gibson mandocellos were shipped from Kalamazoo in the late 1920’s, and certainly few, if any, voyaged northwest to the Canadian prairies. Elchuk appears to have been an experienced and gifted builder.
However Mandolas and Mandocellos are quite rare, and this example is the only of its kind that we’ve as yet discovered.
The instrument features a long 18.25” scale, arched spruce top and mahogany back.
Built by Stromberg-Voisinet in the late 1930’s, the Kay Kraft line included guitars, mandolins, and banjos.
Over the years we’ve encountered many four and six string guitars, tenor and 5 string banjos, and a number of mandolins.
Low C tuner worm gear was replaced years ago, but with a reverse gear – it tightens counter-clockwise now.
Long sustain, excellent volume and cut, but mostly a whole lot of richness in tone.With a tone somewhere in between a carved and a flat-top instrument this Kay Kraft Mandola offers something pleasantly unique. Pennsylvania-based Weymann & Son were a smaller-scale manufacturer of fretted instruments operative between 1864 and WWI.We infrequently stumble upon their guitars, banjos, and mandolin family instruments of many varieties.There is minor finish deterioration adjacent to the nut on the headstock face due to a strap that must have reacted with the shellac in that area.The nut is a vintage reproduction made in our shop, and the original tuning machines were installed backwards when we received the instrument.
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It’s entirely original but for newer Schaller tuning machines and is well set-up.