Orpheum Archtop Model 837 1950's Natural

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This 1950's Orpheum 837 archtop has a great cutting sound, a killer look, and is a true vintage player. It's a tight-waisted jumbo body with original white celluloid pickguard and adjustable rosewood bridge. The neck is in good shape with plenty of wear left in the frets. It has the thick baseball-bat neck profile you expect in a 1950's Kay-style guitar (Orpheum was made by Kay during the 1950's), but it's easy to play all the way up and down the neck.  

This Orpheum has striking jumbo pearloid fret markers, with double dots at the 5th and 9th frets, which is a common 1950's style. Tuners and other hardware are original. The Orpheum 837 is similar to a Kay K42. Orpheums are less common, though (this is the only 837 I've ever held). The only non-original piece of hardware is the trapeze tailpiece, which is stickered Gibson and appears to have been added sometime during the 1960's.

A bit of history: Orpheum guitars (and mandolins) were originally a brand of Rettberg and Lange, starting in 1897 when they bought the facilities of New York banjo-maker James H. Buckbee. Orpheum went out of business in 1942, but in 1944 New York's Maurice Lipsky Music Co. bought the brand and had Orpheum guitars made by Kay, Regal, and others (that period is when this Kay-produced one was made). In the 1960's Lipsky used the brand on Japanese and European imports and dropped the brand by 1972. Between 2001 and 2006, Tacoma Guitars made a series of Orpheum guitars. 

It's in good shape given its age. There's some wear around the binding, especially on the back, and on the headstock, as shown in the photos. No case, although I've found that it fits in a dreadnought gigbag. Most importantly, it plays well, to the point that I haven't been able to put it down around the house and even used it for a few songs at a recent gig. Yep, this one needs to be played. If you're looking for a classic Kay-style 1950's guitar with great looks, an unusual brand, great sound, and mojo to spare, this is your guitar!

  • Make: Orpheum (by Kay)
  • Type: Archtop acoustic
  • Model: 837
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood, height-adjustable
  • Frets: 19

Product Specs

Good (Used)
Archtop Model 837
Made In
United States

About The Seller

Vintage Soul Guitars
Joined Oct 2014
Pflugerville, TX, United States

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Shipping Policy

Ships from Pflugerville, TX to:

Continental U.S.

We want you to love your instrument out of the box, so we pack it carefully according to industry best practices to ensure that it arrives safely. In most cases you'll just need to tune it back up and start rocking.

If there are items that need to be removed for safe shipping (tremolo arms, for example), we'll include a note on how to properly reattach it. We set our guitars up carefully before shipping. If anything shifts in transit or needs readjusting, just let us know and we'll talk you through any needed tweaks.

We ship all orders within 1 business day after full payment has cleared in most cases. If anything delays that, we'll let you know.

Continental USA, aka the Lower 48:
We ship UPS, USPS, or Fedex Ground (our choice) at $49 for acoustic and electric guitars, fully insured. If you prefer a specific carrier let us know, as that can increase shipping charges in some cases.

Alaska, Hawaii, or non-US locations -contact us for a quote.

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United States - WA
Calculated at checkout

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Return Window

This product can be returned within 7 days of receipt.

General Terms

Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging and no signs of use. Buyer assumes responsibility for all return shipping costs unless the item was not received as described.


Buyer receives a full refund in their original payment method less any shipping costs.

Vintage Soul Guitars

Pflugerville, TX, United States
Joined: Oct 2014

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