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Kay Les


ourtang89

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Have any of you guys ever heard of Kay guitars. Read some stuff on them last night. Traded a guy this morning my yamaha for a Kay LP style guitar.. From what I've seen on the inter net they are selling for around 5-600 dollars. If I am wrong please correct me. And any more info on this company/guitar would be nice. Would post pics but I've reached my limit on the site.

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I had a Kay as one of my first guitars... looked like this..

 

Kay-Through-Neck-pound375-ELG12_zpsc927e86b.jpg

 

The electrics and pickups on it were terrible.. BUT it was a nice guitar to play. If I still had it id change all that stuff out and I bet it would be a great guitar.... But it cost me £100 so not exactly expensive...

 

As has been said it sort of depends on the age of the guitar.. the above one was probably made in Asia somewhere in the 70s (I may be wrong on that)... But some of the old original ones can be really sought after guitars as they have a good rep. (didn't some of the Beatles play Ks at some point?)

 

Ohh and by the way.. If you want to post pictures... Use http://www.photobucket.com upload to there and then click on the image you want to show and copy the IMG link it gives you in to your post (max 10 per post).

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My recollection of Kay was that their heydays were the 50's-early 60's. They were known more for their jazz/hollow body guitars and were on a level with, or just above Harmony. I've seen a few of their jazz boxes go for four figures, but those were their top-of-the-line guitars. Then again, I see Harmony Rockets going for $800, so who knows. I think Wiggy is right, if it's an older one, might be a good deal. If newer, say late 60's, on, maybe not.

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I'm glad you opened this thread. My first new guitar was a Kay. When I started taking lessons, my dad bought me one. I was just a kid and I was over the moon with it. Then one day I changed teachers because he lived right around the corner from where we lived and I started a friendship with his son who was learning to play as well. He had a Gibson Les Paul Jr. His dad, the teacher, had a big electric archtop. I preferred my friends Les Paul, but my dad and my teacher talked me into getting a Gibson similar to the teachers. But it wasn't long after that my eye caught an Epiphone Coronet that I ended up trading for. Both the teacher and my dad thought I was crazy, especially my dad who got rather upset with me. But I enjoyed it and my friend and I got together a lot to play and we got to the point where we could do a lot of rock-a-billy stuff which drove my dad out of his skull. Well at least we had my firends basement and our garage to retreat to. Man I miss those days so much.

 

Here's a Kay very similar to the one I had. I didn't like the pick guard on it. Reminded me of a running board on a pick-up truck.

 

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Cheers

Wayne

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Kay's Chicago roots go back as far as 1890. The company started using the Kay name around 1931, utilizing the middle name of the fellow who took over the operation at the time.

 

Kay made mail order guitars for Wards & Sears, and were jobbers for many other companies over the years. In the '30s they had some nice archtop guitars & mandolins using solid woods. These older Kays usually sported fairly chunky necks which were not adjustable, as Gibson held a patent on the adjustable truss rod. There are some archtop electric Kays from the late '50s to early '60s that have considerable value, in particular the Barney Kessel Jazz Special.

 

Back in the '70s, I'd occasionally find decent old Kays at flea markets for around $10-$20, including a fairly ornate Kay Kraft mandolin from the '30s, and a solid spruce archtop from the '40s.

 

The original company went out of business in 1968, and since then the name has been sold multiple times, ending up on import instrument from various sources. Value of these import models is generally rather low.

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Going to meet a guy tonight to trade the Kay LP for, yep youi guessed it, a Epi SG in worn cherry. That will make 1 Epi LP Special II Ltd., and two Epi SGs', one in ebony and this new one in worn cherry. The guy is coming 3hrs. away to get the Kay.

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I've had few Kay guitars. I restored one and gave it to my nephew for a wedding gift (he presently resides in Chicago, and was quite happy)

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Those look very nice. I traded mine for a Epi SG never been played with amp, gig bag, tuner, erni ball strap. The SG is a glossy black and it looks like the paint is still wet. I traded my toolbox for another Epi SG in worn cherry with amp and strap. No scratches or anything, the serial number on it reads I

S10502602, can you see where it was made at, THANKS. I was a les paul guy until I held the SG in my hands and simply fell in love with them. I want a SG Bully now.

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I bought a used Kay 5 string banjo at a pawn shop in about 1968. Very well made and very playable. It was probably made in the late 50s, and customized a bit (Grover tuners). Hate that I sold it. A clearly better instrument compared to other pawnshop fare (Harmony and Silvertone). Seems like it would be a nice fixer upper.

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