Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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60s Kay Headstock - Image Credit -  Reverb - Chris Robinson's Gear Galore Info from the US Patent and Trademark Office Introd...

1930s Custom Kraft Guitar Models

60s Kay Headstock - Image Credit - Reverb - Chris Robinson's Gear Galore
Info from the US Patent and Trademark Office


Custom Kraft instruments were produced by a variety of manufacturers and distributed through the St Louis Music Supply company. The logo for the brand was a heraldic lion with two tails and wearing a crown. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Custom Kraft logo was first used commercially on September 1st, 1938 [2].

Guitars during this era were built primarily by the Harmony Company from Chicago and assigned numbers; this page attempts to catalog all of the known models and their corresponding Harmony guitar.

Update: March 2019
I obtained access to a 1939 St Louis Music Catalog through the St Louis Public Library and took photographs, I cited their website below as [3].

Update: October 2020
I now own a 1935-36 St Louis Music Catalog thanks to the amazing Tony Hendrix and can confirm that the Custom Kraft line of instruments was not explicitly listed in this catalog. They used the "Century" and "Artist" brand names. However, there is an illustration of a guitar where "Custom Kraft" can be seen on the headstock so the name must've been in the works 

Update: December 2020
Custom Kraft "bass viols" built by Kay were apparently distributed by Hershman Musical Instrument Co in New York in the late 40s. Identical logo too. Bizarre

Contact me if you are interested in selling your Custom Kraft

Model 12

Image Credit - AcousticGuitarForum - Slyfox00
Similar to a Harmony h-974
Seen on a 1935 National Music Catalog pg.4 (Paywall)

14 fret to the body archtop acoustic guitar. Stenciled fretboard markers using a common Harmony design. 3 on a plate tuners (very common for the era) with black knobs. Segmented F-holes. Stamped tailpiece.

Model 18

Image Credit - Mine
Likely a Harmony Marquise H1390 as seen on the DeMont Harmony Database

Has 3x3 single tuners. Steel frets on a Brazilian Rosewood fretboard with the alternating 1-2 fret dot pattern. This guitar has an intricate marquetry binding. Solid maple top and solid back and sides which I assume to also be maple. The guitar has a black painted center-line dividing the burst on the back which might indicate that the back is two pieces but it is in fact one piece.

Deluxe 22

Image credit: mine
Like a Harmony Monterey H1327 as seen on the DeMont Harmony Database

This specific example has a mangled headstock but just barely readable underneath the black paint are the words "-stom Kraft" and "Deluxe 22". I could not find a date stamp within this guitar but the design heavily suggests late 30s and early 40s.

Model 23

Image Credit - Heritage Auctions

Like a Harmony Monterey H1327 as seen on the DeMont Harmony Database

Same headstock design as the Model 18 with tuners that have the same plate style. Herringbone style binding. Treble clef design inlaid into the pickguard. Pearloid headstock veneer.

I did locate a Youtube video of someone playing a 1935 Custom Kraft Model 23

Model 1134

Archtop seen in 1939 St Louis Music Catalog.


Tortoloid-bound mahogany back and sides, spruce top bound with black and white blocks. Steel reinforced mahogany neck [3].

Model 1136


"Extra Auditorium size", solid mahogany all around with a "dark wine red shade", patent tuning machines, pickguard has a female archer with a bow and arrow engraved on it [3].

Model 2248

Southern Illinoisan - December 1972

Model 3314

Image Credit - Ebay - Elrey James
14 frets to the body flat top acoustic guitar. The treble clef design returns again on the pickguard of this guitar. The movable bridge suggests that this was a cheaper model. 314 is also the area code for St Louis which may or may not be intentional. 

Seller claimed it was built in Kalamazoo by Gibson though there was no evidence to back up the claim. My initial thought is that because it does not look like a Kay or a Harmony that it might be a Regal constructed instrument.

Model 3317

Image Credit: Mark S
Appears to be a Harmony H-950 "Monterey Leader" with a pearloid headplate and a black pickguard with an engraved treble clef.

Model 3320

Image Credit: Instagram @wesleygarrard

Model 4413

Archtop seen in 1939 St Louis Music Catalog.


Slotted headstock, single fret markers on 5, 7, 9, and 12, tortoloid pickguard inlaid with rhinestones, white binding on the top [3].

Model 4420

Mentioned in a St Louis Post Dispatch classifieds section from 1946

Model 6615

Archtop seen on (and then promptly refinished by an ill-advised owner)


Model 6616

Flattop seen in the 1939 St Louis Music Catalog.

Aftermarket bridge and tailpiece [4]
Flat-top headstock with emblem in center, single fret markers on 5, 7, 9 and 12, pyramid rosewood bridge, mahogany back and sides, spruce top, two screw pickguard with four notes on it [3].

Model 6617

Archtop seen in the on Jake Wildwood's blog.

"While the "binding" is painted on, this guitar has nice solid mahogany back and sides, a maple neck, ebony fretboard, and spruce top."

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood