The Kay-built "Aristocrat" archtops were available in the Sears catalog for five years of the '50s, but they were always advertised as "new." What made them "new" was the first appearance of a cutaway archtop, an exciting new stylistic and musical development. At 17" across the lower bout, these monstrous archtop Silvertones certainly captured the right look and the right feel, but unfortunately, they were never built to be functional instruments that would last.
Fortunately, Scott Baxendale and his team of luthiers in Athens, Ga., recognize the potential of these over-the-top archtop guitars and regularly remanufacture them. In doing so, they totally, re-build, re-brace, and re-voice these instruments, giving them new life and world class tone with no shortage of authentic mojo. These inspiring instruments are an exceptional value, and they're an incredible way to recycle and repurpose old axes.
This Baxendale '50s Silvertone 17" Aristrocrat Archtop Conversion was completed Sept. 11, 2018. Its massive solid Spruce top has been re-braced with proper parallel tone bar archtop bracing, and its top has been refinished in a beautiful sunburst that perfectly accents its vibe-y Aristocrat peghead overlay. It also features a new bone nut and new rosewood bridge, and thanks to new frets, its chunky, C-shaped neck plays beautifully all the way up the fingerboard. It also sports Baxendale's original mini-humbucker pickup/pickguard design. Dig that chicken-head volume knob, too! Setup with .013-guage flat-wounds, this jazz box is ready to keep the club bumping all night.
Every Baxendale Conversion includes a hardshell case and a lifetime warranty.