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Thread: Kay mandolins?

  1. #1

    Default Kay mandolins?

    who here is the wizard of all things Kay(mandolin wise)? Just scored an old one from flea bay, just the husk basically. Trying to determine age, although it is not really all that important. Just curious. Seems to have had one of those foil logos which is mia. No numbers visible. All laminate but will make a good player I think.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    I'm no wizard, but I am somewhat familiar with that particular mandolin.

    This was the Asian (Korea?) made instrument that was branded "Kay" and a whole bunch of other names since the 60-70's at least. Pressed top, etc.

    Many folks detest them ( Hi Mike!) , but I found with a good setup it is a decent beater/campfire instrument if you aren't to picky, so to speak.

    It needs strings, a bridge, tailpiece, and I can't see the nut and tuners. The parts may cost more than the value of the instrument on today's market.

  3. #3
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    This is not an import, but a US-built K68 or K465 (depending on the year). The non-segmented f-holes date it to 1955-1968, though a foil logo most likely means it's a K68 from the early '60s.

    I do agree that it's probably not worth the cost of restoration, though.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    I got it for 32 bucks plus shipping...it's OK....and I agree with the bit about value. I will just Stew Mac tuners, make an Ebony bridge and if anyone has a pickguard template that would be neat.....thinking Tortoise Shell......will probably give it away to a kid at some point in time. Plus I have an F-2

  6. #5
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    This is not an import, but a US-built K68 or K465 (depending on the year). The non-segmented f-holes date it to 1955-1968, though a foil logo most likely means it's a K68 from the early '60s.

    I do agree that it's probably not worth the cost of restoration, though.
    HA

    see what I mean about not being an wizard?

    If it is a US Kay it's a better instrument than the Asian ones that imitate it.

    I forgot that the Asian ones have a straight end on the fingerboard.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    Check out Red Henry’s bridge making pages - they are easy to make and sound a lot better than ebony bridges!

  8. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    I'm going to guess that the top isn't laminated and that you're probably seeing the reinforcement veneer they glued around the inside of the F holes. Look inside with a dental mirror. As for the sides and back it's pretty regular for them to be laminated as Kay was selling laminated backs and sides as a "feature" very early.

    When you find these stripped generally somebody bought them for the tuners and the Waverly cloud tailpiece. I used to sell the carcasses the same way. The neck joints on these are notoriously bad.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  10. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    These are on eBay regularly. They aren't the cooler logo but it's a logo. It may have had Kluson tuners on it. That's why I bought the last one I owned. I needed them for a more expensive mandolin. There are reproductions here. The Waverly Cloud tailpieces are found on eBay now and then or you can use this one from Stewmac. There are the fatter Kay style bridges available on eBay, you just have to look for them. When you're done you will have spent more money on it than it's ever going to be worth but you will have fun.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    Hey thanks folks, I will check that bit about the top soon, and the page for bridge making is WAY cool, thanks for that.

  13. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    If you bring it back to playing life, post a pic or two.
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    Does anyone know of a case that fits these old Kays? They are too deep and wide to fit in any case I've tried. I've got one with the RARE painted on flame.
    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

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  15. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    If they came with a case generally it was a big old over-sized chipboard case. I don't know of a modern case that would fit but I'd be looking at rectangular cases and not fitted cases.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Kay mandolins?

    Mine fits nicely in a good hard-shell case a neighbor was throwing out because the lock didn't work. I can't find the manufacturer's name on it but it does say "Made In Canada on the pocket tab"

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