Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about Kay and Kay Vintage Reissue guitars.
If you don't find a suitable answer to your question, feel free to contact us through our contact page.
Where are Kay Vintage Reissue guitars made?
The short answer...
The guitars and basses we have listed are made at a factory in China owned by a Korean and overseen & run by an American guitar manufacturer. They have been making hollow and semi-hollow body guitars for many high end guitar companies for decades.
All the wood is imported from the US.
Essentially, they are made in China but under very strict US standards. Our factory has been making high end hollow and semi hollow body guitars for a number of companies.
We can have all our models made in the US though. We have a custom shop in Alabama run by luthier Roger Fritz (former Gibson guitar custom shop builder) who will make your guitar or bass for you. These instruments start at around $3000.00 and have a 3 month build period.
The precise answer...
That's a great question. The only reason the reissue project was started in 2008 was because of Roger Fritz's involvement. Kay have been considering reissue for over 20 years but did not want enter a this endeavor with making absolutely sure the instruments would be of the quality and professionalism of the 1959's original models. Kay teamed up with Roger Fritz to make USA made models as a professional Luthier and a studio musician player.
The cost was fair but limited as the cost was starting at $3000 and most of the parts that needed to have molds and special designs it would be impossible to produce enough to justify the $250K parts mold cost. To make the instruments we needed to get the price to a more affordable under $1000 street market value. Roger Fritz and Kay teamed up to create the instrument for labor saving production off shore.
Kay, who has been making guitars since the 1890 and switch manufacturing to Asia in 1970 new how to make the guitars, but needed to not just assemble but to reproduce all the nuance of the warmth and charm of the original coupled with the fact that certain processes of manufacturing have evolved-namely adjustable set necks compared the beefy necks needed to prevent warping. The warm sounding blade pickups needed to be reproduced from that hand wound coil sound, and materials that no longer can be used with chemical and wood restrictions. So Roger oversaw every aspect of creation and decision to construct the Reissues, he is paid a royalty and as a tribute to his efforts his name was added to the truss rod cover. Tony Blair, the CEO, knew that if Roger's name was on the instrument it would need to be good or he would damage his reputation. Unlike Harmony, when owned by Charlie, who had released replicas to look like the originals and immediately brought out a dozen models all at once, using available common Asian parts out of existing stock.
Kay on the other hand custom made, knobs, pick guards, baseball bat switch covers, pickups, inlays, unique body molding forms, pickups, bobbins, tailpieces, the K-Kelvonator Chevron logo, etc. Even the case is Super cool and high quality, each Kay Reissue has a serial number plate that also had to be designed. To two this correctly Kay needs to make at least 1,000 instruments. And, unlike Harmony, created and designed only 2 instrument spread apart over 2 or 3 years. As a result, based on the limited quantity actually made limited to Advertising and Artist Give-always. Even without advertising the Magazines and Reviewers have given us awards and very high quality reviews. Due to the limited production and difficulty to market the line as needed we have a limited stock available and are not discounting or "give away prices” and NO Artist that is playing a Reissue got it "donated" and paid fair market price.
So, yes Roger has his name on each as homage to his efforts, not to confuse the market, as there are USA made model made buy Roger starting at $3,000 made in Alabama. What model can we start production for you, as it take a minimum of 90 days for custom made USA Roger Fritz models.