Do you have an old Kay guitar lying around your house that you don’t know how to play? Maybe it was a gift from a loved one, or perhaps you just picked it up at a garage sale. Either way, you’re probably wondering how old your Kay guitar is.
Determining the age of a Kay guitar can be a difficult task, as the company did not often place serial numbers inside its instruments.
One way to determine the age of your Kay guitar is by checking the stamps on the Kay guitar. Alternatively, you can submit photographs of your Kay guitar to a professional appraiser to get an idea about its manufacturing. You can also use books and online resources to know how old your Kay guitar is.
Following are a few ways that you can try to figure out the age of your Kay guitar.
1. Check Stamps on Your Kay Guitar’s Pickups
If you’re looking for a way to determine the age of your Kay guitar, checking the stamps on its pickups might be the best place to start. Pickups are the devices that convert the strings’ vibrations into electrical signals, which are amplified through an amplifier to create sound.
If your Kay guitar has stamped pickups, it was likely manufactured after 1964. That’s because Kay began stamping its pickups with a distinct font in the MMDDYY format that year. So, if your Kay guitar does have stamps on its pickups, the date stamped will likely be the date of manufacture.
2. Submit Photographs to a Professional Appraiser
If you want to get a more accurate estimate of your Kay guitar’s value and age, you can submit photographs of it to a professional appraiser. Paid appraisal services such as Vintage Guitar Pro can analyze your guitar’s value and age based on the photos you submit.
To get the most accurate appraisal, be sure to send them five clear photos of your guitar, including shots of the fretboard, headstock, and bridge.
3. Use of Books To Determine the Age
While there are several ways to determine the age of a guitar, one of the most reliable methods is to consult books that focus on obscure models. These books often contain photos and dates for different guitar models, allowing you to cross-reference and identify the age of your instrument.
In addition, books can also provide valuable information about the history of the guitar, which can help determine its value. While these books can be difficult to find, they are worth the effort for anyone serious about learning their instrument’s history.
For example, the book “50’s Cool: Kay Guitars” by Jay Scott is an essential resource for anyone interested in determining the age of Kay guitar obscure models from the 1950s. By consulting this and other similar books, you can better understand your guitar’s age and value.
4. Make a List of Features and Use Online Resources
For inspecting the age of your Kay guitar, start by making the following list of features.
- First, decide whether it is a hollow body, acoustic or electric guitar.
- Analyze the number and types of pickups.
- Examine the type of tuners.
- Check whether your Kay guitar has a single or double cutaway.
- See if the guitar has a pickguard or F-holes.
- Determine the shape of its headstock.
Now that you know pretty much about the critical features of your guitar, it’s time to use online resources to help you determine its age.
We recommend going to KingofKays.com or Harmony Central to compare the photographs and information about your guitar’s parts to the already available data out there. You will soon reach out whether your guitar was made before the 1960s or in the late 1970s.
Kay guitars are fantastic instruments known for their historical craftsmanship and beginner-friendly budget.
Trying to determine the age of your Kay guitar can be daunting, but using one or more of the methods we’ve outlined here should give you a pretty good idea of when your instrument was manufactured. You should
Once you know the age of your guitar, you can begin to research its value and history, which can be a fun and rewarding process. We hope you enjoy learning more about your Kay guitar!