Kay Dreadnought
(used in The Trouble With Girls)


Original 1-sheet for MGM's The Trouble With Girls - 1969
courtesy CineMasterpieces

The 1969 release of MGM's The Trouble With Girls (and How to Get Into It), Elvis' thirtieth film, cast him as the head of a traveling Chautauqua circuit show as it sets up and performs for several days in a pre depression era Iowa town.  Chatauqua gets its name from the lake in New York state where the first one started in 1874. The film, initially titled Chautauqua after the book it was based on costars, among others, Marlyn Manson, Sheree North, Dabney Coleman, Joyce Van Patten, John Carradine, Vincent Price and even Anissa Jones who played Buffy on television's program Family Affair.


Supporting cast with the dreadnought used by Elvis in The Trouble With Girls - 1969
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Filming for the movie came in 1968 on the heels of Elvis' 1968 NBC special as he wrapped up his contractual movie obligations and returned to live performing.  In the movie he is seen playing a dreadnought guitar reminiscent of a Gibson as he performs Clean Up Your Own Back Yard composed by Billy Strange and Mac Davis.


Supporting cast with the dreadnought used by Elvis in The Trouble With Girls - 1969

Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

I've called this guitar a Kay because it has features very similar to other Kay products made in the 1960s but it could just as easily be a Harmony or manufactured by either under another brand name or by any other manufacturer of inexpensive acoustic guitars available in department stores and catalogs of the era.  Given at this point it is unidentified I'll simply refer to it as a Kay.


Elvis playing open chords on the dreadnought in The Trouble With Girls - 1969
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Elvis with the dreadnought capo'd and a different strap in The Trouble With Girls - 1969
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In an obvious mistake in continuity the scene is composed of several shots showing the guitar with two different straps and with and without a capo on the first fret. With a nod to Gibson, the headstock is similar to many models made by both Harmony and Kay with no truss rod adjustment or cover and features inexpensive side by side tuners with no post ferrules.


The dreadnought in
The Trouble With Girls appears to have painted binding on the body
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


pinless bridge on the dreadnought used by Elvis in The Trouble With Girls - 1969
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

This guitar had painted on binding and was also equipped with a screwed on pinless bridge where the strings loaded through the front of the bridge under the saddle, wrapped around the back and then over the top of the saddle.  Pinless bridges were fairly common on inexpensive steel-string guitars made by Harmony and Kay in the 1950s and 1960s, but have since become standard on several high-end brands.


Elvis with the dreadnought used in The Trouble With Girls - 1969
Screen capture Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

This page added August 15, 2010 is part of the section The Movie Guitars of Elvis Presley.

 

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