Used from to , this headstock was named after the brand of refrigerator that looked quite similar. Use a book such as "50's cool: Kay Guitars" by Jay Scott to cross reference the features of your instrument to those pictured. Many obscure Kay models are listed with photographs and dates they were built. Fiestad to determine the value of your Kay once you have identified it from a photograph. Use a paid professional guitar appraisal service such as Vintage Guitar Pro.
Take five photographs of your guitar as indicated on the "appraisal" page on the Vintage Guitar Pro website. Ensure you photograph the guitar in a well-lit room and that the closeup headstock photographs are clear and in focus. Click on the "Attach photos link," upload your five photos and click "Purchase Appraisal. Kay manufactured guitars under several different brand names depending on the store that was selling them and the year they were manufactured, so they may be listed under names such as Sears. Can we determine the approximate date of manufacture from this?
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How to Determine the Age of a Kay Guitar
They owned the company for two years and sold to Valco guitars. Enterprises Tony Blair purchased the Kay trademark. Kay was best known for its mid-priced guitars, i. They also sell the Chicago Blues line of inexpensive harmonicas. One of the best known Kay electric guitars during the s was the K " Thin Twin " , most visibly used by blues artist Jimmy Reed.
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This instrument debuted in , and featured a single cutaway body, a distinctive "fire stripe" tortoiseshell pickguard , and a pair of thin blade-style pickups that gave the guitar its name. Also in , Kay introduced the matching K " Electronic " Bass , which was the first commercially available thinline- hollowbody electric bass guitar , and the second production electric bass guitar after the Fender Precision Bass debuted in These instruments [ clarification needed ] are believed to be the first semi-hollow electrics [ citation needed ] i.
Their unique design [ clarification needed ] featured a flat top with no f-holes, a free-floating arched back, and two braces running along the top. The result was a semi-acoustic instrument that was feedback-resistant while retaining natural acoustic resonances. In , Kay added the K bass to its catalog with baritone tuning, according to the catalog, [ citation needed ] " tuned like the first four guitar strings but one octave lower.
In the late s, various guitars in the Kay line were assigned new model numbers; according to the catalog, the Thin Twin became K and the Electronic Bass became K However, there were truss rod and neck issues. Gold models had single coil pickups with clear silver plastic covers and phillips head bolt adjustable pole pieces.
The Upbeat model came with an optional transparent black plastic cover. Valued among collectors, the headstocks from featured a reverse painted plastic overlay similar to the Kelvinator logo.
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The guitars featured art deco patterns. Kamico guitars were lower-priced versions of Kay's original guitars. They were among the first guitars to use a humbucker type pickup, predating Gibson by some few years. The most recognizable model is the Jumbo Jazz. Kay also made banjo's under the kamico name. Like their guitar manufacturing, the basses were hand crafted by skilled craftsmen using special ordered machinery. They even had a hot stamping machine that could emboss the trademark KAY cursive script.
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Manufactured in Elk Grove Village, Illinois , Engelhardt basses and cellos are sturdy instruments, widely used by students and touring professionals. The ES9 Swingmaster bass formerly the Kay S9 Swingmaster , is highly thought-of by jazz, swing, and bluegrass musicians. Kay flattop guitar played by Deacon John Moore. K parlor guitar c.
Dating an old Kay guitar
Kay Wah Wah 1 c. Style Leader c. Value Leader K 6-string Bass  .