Recently, I bought an old Kay electric guitar. It’s a Style-Master – from 1959 (the same year I was born). Today I disassembled the guitar, and now I will proceed with the restoration. The wood body and neck are going to need very light fine grade sanding, and a clear coat of lacquer. It’s a blonde wood with no stain, so it won’t change the appearance, but should help preserve it. The pickups are a problem. The chrome covers are pitted a little. They used to be a sort of gold tone, but are mostly silver now. They are also riveted to one of the pick-guard plates, which also have some light corrosion and discoloration. I have to figure out how to fix them.
There is some corrosion around the potentiometers that manage the tone and volume – this guitar has three each of tone and volume, and then one that changes the pickups. I have to find a small tabbed knob for the top control, which is the pickup selector. The “V” and “T” is faded on some of the knobs, but I can use a tiny bit of white paint and fix those. The electronics, I’m afraid, I will have to replace, but it’s a simple wiring project, and I did this for 20 years in the US Navy – that part I can handle. The bridge is in great shape. The tuning pegs are functional, but the chrome is a bit rusted and pitted (see pictures) so I may replace them. The tail piece is copper or brass – it’s a little worn, but I think it will stay (after a polishing. There’s a white peg that goes through the bottom of this tailpiece and into the wood (looks almost like the pegs that hold strings) except the top of it is broken off (where a strap would connect) so I have to find one of those. I will keep you all posted as I go – but here’s what I could use… someone with experience to tell me how to handle those riveted on Pickpups. I guess they could be drilled out and replaced…? I need to figure out how to buff out or clean out the corrosion on the pick guards and then fix the finish (sort of a copper or gold-tone finish that looks as if it was lacquered over (again, see pics). I need a vintage K control knob with a single pointed tab on one side to point where it’s selecting.