View Full Version : Show us your Kay style mandolins!

May-10-2006, 4:33pm
I'm a big fan of old Kay style instruments and I hope some of you are as well. Don't make fun, not everybody can afford a Gibson master model.

May-10-2006, 6:26pm
I had a pumpkin-colored one not too long ago that was my first serious player. It appeared on the wedding cake.. I should find photos of that http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jim Garber
May-10-2006, 8:07pm
I always liked that shape. Years ago, I attended the one and onloy Jethro Burns weeklong mandolin workshop in Elkins, WV and one of the attendees had a handmade Kay-shaped mandolin that was very sweet. I think it might have been made of koa also. I wish I could find that class photo. Maybe that person is still playing and a Cafe member. I have no idea who made that mandolin or if he/she is still building.


Jason Kessler
May-10-2006, 8:18pm
I love those.

May-12-2006, 1:56pm
the Kay line

Mar-25-2008, 10:37pm
I have the third mandolin form the left, top row of the picture posted by bluesmandolinman... What do you think this instrument is worth? I cannot find any serial number or label other than the metal KAY label on the headstock.


Mar-25-2008, 10:50pm
I've never seen another Kay with the headstock shape that the electric has. Is that neck bolted on by any chance?

Mar-25-2008, 11:05pm
Not sure. I'm new to all this.

The headstock looks more like this image I found on an Ebay posting...
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Kay-Mandolin_W0QQitemZ120229684937QQihZ002QQcategoryZ1 0179QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1Q
QcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage....iewItem</a>

The rest of the mandolin looks more like this pic:

Mar-25-2008, 11:10pm
That is a Kay Kelvinator headstock and it's cheaper painted on cousin. I was referring to the one in original post on the right.

Mar-26-2008, 4:55am
Well, since you asked...

Mar-26-2008, 4:56am
Close up of that decal...

Mar-26-2008, 4:57am
Mother of toilet seat peghead...

Mar-26-2008, 7:23am
Lovely one Hans. I like shape of those old Kay mandolins. Since I've not played one, would owners say they have a sound similar to a Stradolin or a unique voice their own?


Mar-26-2008, 7:34am
The first thing you need to know about Kay mandolins is that most aren't all solid wood and that goes way back. They had to be in the laminated top and back game early. The second thing you need to know is that out of all the inexpensive mandolins I've dealt with, they have possibly the worst neck joints I've seen. The most apparent thing when you open one up is that the dovetails were very sloppy and they attempted to reconcile that fact by adding more hide glue. It generally didn't work. They are hit and miss. There are good and there are bad. You can guarantee anything made in the 50's and the 60's is laminated. Anything after the 60's is imported and isn't in the same league as the US made models. With that said, they can be fun. The one that Hans has is a wonderful example of an early model with it's decals and MOTS appointments.

Mar-26-2008, 9:27am
Mike's right about the dovetails...this one had a big screw through the joint with putty in the heel. Sides were delaminating at the bass point, neck had to be reset, the fingerboard was shot, pickguard was abused, needed a new bridge and I had to reinforce the soundhole. Took some work to get it back to playing. Sound is thin, but old timey and pleasant.

Mar-26-2008, 10:03am
I had expected we'd see a Brentrup with that body shape by now http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-26-2008, 11:52am

There she is! My first mandolin also happened to be a Kay!


Mar-26-2008, 12:09pm
I have an arch kraft that I love, but the head broke off due to a hairline fracture when I bought it. #I would like to repair it/get it repaired as I love that thin yet resounding sound. #Any leads on how to get this done?

Also, I have a Kay tenor banjo that I adore. #I will get some pics up!