A just born McKay Sunrise, and a beauty it is! The Sunrise guitars were designed over a period of months with several mock ups and changes...
A just born McKay Sunrise, and a beauty it is!
Sunrise and Sunrise 16 overview
These guitars were designed over a period of months with several mock ups and changes. Holding each guitar feels similar, in a way, because they have the generous "upper half." Both guitars have a longer upper horn and deeper cutaways in the treble end for better balance and access. Playing the "16," your left hand reaches out to play the "cowboy chords" and finds them close to the body, while diving in to the high frets, the thumb conveniently hits the body at the 16th fret, with plenty of space in the cutaway, unimpeded, up to the 19th fret. Playing the Sunrise, you will find the access to the upper frets very nice with the longer shaft and 19 frets on the bass side and 20 on the treble. The "cowboy chords" are a bit farther out though. Choose your poison.
Those players who are familiar with McKay guitars will know Ken McKay is fond of laminated construction to create a semi-hollow guitar. This is opposed to carving solid wood to make the plates. Ken has done both and is not an advocate of either one over the other but he does advocate using materials to get the sound desired. Ken laminates his own plates using custom sliced maple veneers of different thicknesses to engineer the stiffness across and along the plates. This helps him get a guitar that can go to 10 with a Marshall stack and sustain a note from now 'til sunrise. Ken incorporates high grade wood because he feels it is important! This includes straight grained spruce for contour bracing, soft, light maple for the center block, old growth mahogany for the neck, Brazilian rosewood for fingerboards, holly headstock veneers, and mahogany kerfed linings and blocks.
The Sunrise 16 will have a shorter neck that joins the body at the 16th fret. This is the familiar single cutaway feel where the "cowboy chords" are reached closer to the body than the Sunrise, which joins the 19th fret. This of course gives a few more frets clear of the body for the Sunrise model which is also similar to many semi-hollow guitars and one very famous ones designed by Ted McCarty in the late '50s. Also, there is a size difference between the two, with the Sunrise being longer behind the bridge and a bit wider too. The two guitars are adorned differently, but on purpose. The Sunrise has distinctive "dots" inlayed into the fingerboard while the "16" has oval, yet vintage inlays. These guitars will be made to be as lightweight as possible, around 8.5 pounds or less, and will take a leap backwards for pickup and wiring schemes. Of course, anything can be done as Ken is a custom maker. He prefers Seymour Duncan to make his pickups as well as some of the other great pickup makers who can replicate a good PAF.
A look ahead
These designs appeal to many different players. Ken McKay wanted guitars that look and play in a familiar way yet have some fresh ideas that distinguish them from the crowd.
SPECS FOR THIS GUITAR:
- Build number: 002
- All handmade
- Non-equal horn design
- Semi-hollow thinline construction
- Tobacco sunburst, nitrocellulose lacquer
- 7 lbs. 15 oz.
- Mahogany neck
- Brazilian rosewood fingerboard
- Pearl shield headstock inlay
- Holly faceplate
- Ivory colored binding
- Vintage wiring
- Seymour Duncan Antiquity PAF style pickups
- Lightly aged nickel hardware
- lightweight tailpiece
- Kluson tuners