Want more info about your Kay instrument? Read the following:
Q: Can you tell me more about my instrument?
Answer: We can provide a list of individuals that specialize in appraisals and historians that for a fee (usually $75 to $1,000), can give you a written appraisal and some more detailed background about your instrument. Kay Guitar cannot research, appraise or review an instrument, it’s history or it’s market value. Please do not provide pictures, descriptions or model numbers, as we are not able to identify the seven plus million instruments produced over the past 125 years. Most instruments were mass-produced without serial numbers or model numbers and are difficult or impossible to accurately identify. 1950-62 Barney Kessel electric guitars and electric bass guitars increased value and Kay has reissued these models. Go to www.kayvintagereissue.com for dealers and purchasing information. We are not collectors and do not buy vintage instruments. Most information about an instrument can usually be answered by browsing our History and Vintage Catalogs pages in the "ABOUT" section of our main menu.
Q: When was my instrument made?
Answer: Kay instruments were made in Chicago under Kay and about 30 other brands. The Kay Instrument Company traced origins back to 1890, mostly made in Chicago.
Kay closed its doors in 1969 due to higher USA labor cost and the manufacturing of instruments moved to Japan. All Kay instruments sold and distributed in the USA after 1969 were made in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China or Indonesia. Note: Kay Instruments also set up distribution in Europe after 1969, often manufacturing their own designs to cater to the European Market and were made in both East Germany (GDR) and Asia.
For the record, all Kay instruments manufactured before 1968 were made in Chicago, Illinois. After 1969 all Kay instruments sold and distributed in the USA, Canada and Mexico, had a country of origin label. Instrument sold in Europe, and other countries were not required to label country of origin.
Q: What’s my instrument worth?
Answer: We have absolutely no idea. The only way to know for sure is to take it to a professional guitar appraiser and for a fee would be able to see the instrument and condition and give you a written evaluation. We do not provide this service at this time. Most of the “7,000,000 plus” Kay guitars made from 1890 to 1968 were mass-produced and made at the Kay Guitar Factory in Chicago, Illinois and have only sentimental value, those that are collectable are often sold on eBay or Reverb.com.
In 1968 the Chicago based Kay Instrument Company closed production and the machinery, molds, parts were sold off at auction and the records and most files were trashed, and no longer available. We would appreciate any vintage Kay brochures or catalogues prior to 1952 so we may scan them and display them on the website.
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