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» Economics » Instrument making enterprise » Topics begins with K » KAY (guitar)

Page modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 07:29:16

KAY is a label name, under which since 1934 guitars and other stringed instruments are produced. Although the instruments are settled in the entering inheritance realm by KAY, particularly enjoy the E-guitars from the 1950er and 1960er years with musicians Kultstatus, since many takeful artists on KAY instruments began their career.


The company KAY was created in the year 1890 in Chicago under the name "Goshel company" as a manufacturer of Mandolinen. The production of first guitars and banjos began in the year 1918. Under the name "current mountain" starting from the 1920er years guitars for mail-order catalogs and outside firms were manufactured; among them also some early E-guitars, with which a magnetic contact pick-up took up the oscillations of the Korpus. In the year 1934 the company was renamed after the owner Henry Kay Kuhrmayer in "Kay musical of instrument"; the instruments got the label "KAY". In the 1930er and 1940er years produced KAY both instruments under eigenene names, and for other manufacturers such as national and Gretsch. For the department store chain Sears appeared KAY guitars under the name "Silvertone". Into the 1950er years began the production of E-guitars on a large scale: The model pallet reached from different Archtop Jazzgitarren with up to three pick-ups over Semi Acustics in the style of the Gibson ES-335 up to different Solidbody E-guitars with failed Korpusformen. Into the 1960er years itself on E-guitars in the style of the Fender jazz masters and Jaguar, however the economic fall and several owner changes could not avoid shifted KAY any longer. Manufacturing plants in the USA were closed or sold; the name "KAY" exists for the 1970er years only as name for instruments, which are manufactured by different companies mostly in Asia.


Due to the situation, apart from which own line also supplier for department stores, mail-order catalogs and different subcontractors to be, are in the course of the years innumerable instruments under the name "KAY" appeared. Is common to all instruments, which they were conceived primarily for the entering inheritance realm and with the models of Fender or Gibson to measure both qualitatively and klanglich only rarely to be able itself. Nevertheless or straight therefore put the developers of the instruments particularly in the 1950er years to large value to give the guitars a wertiges appearance. The use of many chrome, Perlmutt and golden signatures should divert the viewer from plywood and plastic. Nevertheless isolates high-quality Komponentern such as DeArmond Pickups and Bigsby Vibratos blocked, which made the instruments interesting for professional musicians.

KAY in the music

Since KAY is settled in the entering inheritance realm concerning the price as qualitatively, there are only few professional musicians, who seize on the stage to this instruments. Only the jazz guitarist Barney boiler received a signature model to 1956 from KAY, which he played live one and in the Studio. Nevertheless the instruments of the 1950er and 1960er particularly enjoy year high reputation among musicians, since almost any US-American and many British guitarists played an instrument of KAY at the beginning of its career. Famous example is Eric Clapton, which played a KAY jazz II (a model with Bigsby Vibrato, leaned against the Gibson ES-335) in its first volume "The Roosers". Jimmy PAGE continued to possess different KAY and Silvertone guitars, which he inserted also still at his time with LED Zeppelin mainly to the Slidespiel. Today early KAY E-guitars is primarily with Bluesmusikern likes, there the hollow, easily metallic Klangcharakter of many KAY instruments for Blues and Slidestilistiken is ideal.


  • Tony Bacon/Dave Hunter: Totally Guitar - The definite guide. London 2004, ISBN 3-86150-732-3
  • Tony Bacon: Guitars - all models and manufacturers London/Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-552-0573-6
  • George Gruhn/walter Carter: Electrical guitars & basses - the history of electrical guitars and basses ISBN 3-932275-04-7

See also

  • List of guitar manufacturers

Related links

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