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Thread: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

  1. #1

    Default Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    Anyone with any info as to quality, value, etc. of a vintage Kay Model 515 Tube Amp? Thanks!

    Listed on Ebay Item#:

    112543749113
    Last edited by Philemon; Aug-29-2017 at 9:29am.

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    That amp is listed as a project and that price is way beyond Hollywood.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Kay-...gAAOSwe09ZpJU7

    If that actually sells I'll kick myself for throwing out some stuff I used to own.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
    Registered User Grizzly Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    That amp is listed as a project and that price is way beyond Hollywood.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Kay-...gAAOSwe09ZpJU7

    If that actually sells I'll kick myself for throwing out some stuff I used to own.
    Hmmmm..me too! So what's the attraction for these old tube amps?
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    This amp has a nice tube selection, but like the Fender tweed amps they won't sound the same as they did when they were made. Voltage off the outlet was 110 volts then, now it is 125 in most places. Since the power transformer takes that like times 4, that changes the plate voltages on the power tubes. Since they are cathode biased to keep them in dissipation range for power current has to be less since voltage is much more. Sound is sacrificed. When I was building tube amps I used specially built transformers that kept today's wall voltages to yesterday's plate voltages. I had a 56 tweed deluxe, the one's I built sounded better so I sold the old one. Something to think about when buying old tube amps. A Fender tweed deluxe is more like a blackface deluxe when plugged into today's wall outlets and sound is not the "desert amp" that most think they found.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    Sold! The attraction to these old tube amps is like the attraction to anything else that is old! Old (and some young) folks like old stuff! Anyway, with a little work these still sound pretty good to me with an old acoustic plugged in!

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    I had a similar aged Gibson tube amp I had trouble getting rid of.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    The attraction is the tubes are usually mounted to the chassis whereas new amps they are PCB mounted. The PTP wiring makes fixes and updates much easier and the cabinets are usually plywood, which are lighter and more durable than MDF used for most modern amps. Most of those older models are between 10 and 25 watters that can have a great blues growl when pushed.

    That one looks cool, but I wouldn't pay that much.
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    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    750$ for a broken amplifier? I don't think so
    "Give me a mandolin and I'll play you rock 'n' roll" (Keith Moon)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Polecat View Post
    750$ for a broken amplifier? I don't think so
    Amp repair can get expensive. Tubes, speakers, reconing, electrolytic capacitors, etc. are all expensive parts and add up quick. Plus finding a good repairman can be tricky depending on your location. I've ran into many who just change out all the tubes as the first step in servicing ($150 or so), when many 50-year old tubes can still be good -- they just need to be tested under a load. Other amp repairmen I have run into think of themselves as an "amp designer" and think in terms of how they can "improve" on classic amp designs, adding this circuit or feature -- something to avoid, IMHO.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Kay Model 515 Tube Amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Other amp repairmen I have run into think of themselves as an "amp designer" and think in terms of how they can "improve" on classic amp designs, adding this circuit or feature -- something to avoid, IMHO.
    That is not necessarily so. When old amps were made and the sound revered the wall voltage was 110 volts, now it is 125. The difference off the wall times 4 in the power supply can bring plate voltages up 60 volts. Other voltages change also and that changes the sound. If someone is knowledgeable they can modify to recreate the original sound. I would not change tubes first,l but look at filter caps as they go bad simply from age whether they are used or not.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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