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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Old Kay Banjo - Eagle


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Paulso - Posted - 12/21/2007:  12:51:54


Greetings from Scotland! I am totally new to the banjo though have been playing guitar for many years. I have been given an old Kay banjo to practice on and see if I actually enjoy it and I was hoping that someone could tell me something about it.

It is a 5-string 21-fret banjo with a Kay tailpiece though no name on the headstock. The back is closed and has an eagle on the back which could well be a stamp rather than a carving which would cost far too much for this type of kit. Other than that it is very plain with no name on the skin.

Any ideas on when/where this was made. I can't seem to find anything about it on the Internet.

Thanks very much for any help.

Paul

letspick2 - Posted - 12/21/2007:  12:59:49


I have one of those only mine does say Kay on the headstock. My Parents bought it for me on my 16th birthday and that was in 1973.
They bought it through Sears. I dont know if this will help you any but my old banjo plays good it just does not have any sound to it. I have only played mine about a dozen times and the rest of the time it is in the case. If you find anything out about where these were made please let me know.

Jim.

Ronnie - Posted - 12/21/2007:  13:57:57


Kay banjos were made in Chicago until around 1968 when they sold out to a Japanese concern. They were marketed by Sears usually under the Silvertone brand.

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

JSabastian147 - Posted - 12/22/2007:  19:34:53


can you send me pictures of this kay?

i believe that i have the SAME banjo. Pictures would be greatly appreciated

Hope you have a Gooden'
*********************************************
_Jordan
Even a Blind Squirrel Gets a Nut Every Once in Awhile .

don72129 - Posted - 02/07/2008:  01:00:30


Hello

Paul and I must be long lost brothers. I'm too a long-time guitar player who is new to banjo playing and I have also been given an old Kay banjo. I would describe mine exactly as He has described His.

[font=Andale Mono]"It is a 5-string 21-fret banjo with a Kay tailpiece though no name on the headstock. The back is closed and has an eagle on the back which could well be a stamp rather than a carving which would cost far too much for this type of kit. Other than that it is very plain with no name on the skin."[/font=Andale Mono]

I'm also looking for info on my banjo.

Thanks
DONNY


Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/09/2008:  00:25:40


Anything with an eagle on a resonator back is Asian and, in terms of the Kay brand, a "new" banjo. "Old" Kays would be those from before about 1950-55. U.S. Kays built after that essentially were unchanged until the company's demise. And there was little change other than peghead design even going back to when Stromberg-Voisenet became Kay in 1931. The giveaway is the coordinating rod with the giant nut, the adjusting shim between neck and pot and the megascrew in the heel. Any zinc reso flange with alternating oval and circular holes is a Kay.

Bill

Reneker - Posted - 02/10/2008:  10:39:51


Welcome Paul!!!

sonofjabba - Posted - 02/10/2008:  23:27:51


I can't wait for my Kay Tenor to come in.. Should be tuesday or wednesday.... Unless some unforeseen terrible event prevents it from reaching me...

A mistake played with conviction is an interpretation.

Hey this is My Tenth post.


Edited by - sonofjabba on 02/10/2008 23:28:56

walt - Posted - 10/15/2008:  08:34:04


I lso own a kay banjo it ha s a 21 fret neck, the kay logo and a picture of a music stand ' the body is open backed and bmade of wood it is 11 1/2 inches and looks like the skin is a plastic of some sort. what can you tell me about this banjo?

mikehalloran - Posted - 10/15/2008:  08:54:54


>The giveaway is the (threaded) coordinating rod with the giant nut, the adjusting shim between neck and pot and the megascrew in the heel.<

All USA made Kay banjos have this feature. The last ones were made in 1968. Those from the '60s have particle board pots -- yes, made of sawdust and glue. Mine are still quite playable and show no signs of deterioration, BTW.

Anything made later -- including all with an aluminum pot -- were made overseas and there is little information on them. I don't know who currently owns the name but instruments still show up from time to time.

Mike Halloran

walt - Posted - 10/29/2008:  07:28:03


thanks mike
since the neck has a picture of a music stand and the body is wooden can you give me an idea of the year of the banjo.

mikehalloran - Posted - 10/30/2008:  06:46:24


quote:
Originally posted by walt

thanks mike
since the neck has a picture of a music stand and the body is wooden can you give me an idea of the year of the banjo.



Not without pictures.

Mike Halloran

Texas Chuck - Posted - 11/21/2008:  21:12:23


Bill, Im new here.. I am looking to buy a new banjo but a friend has a Kay for sale. Its for sure antique. It has Kay stamped in the tailpiece with what looks like a ruler and a boomerang. It has a decal of a ROSE in gold detail on the resonator back. 5 string. It has a dark brown headstock. The neck is painted black. I want to see what its worth. I dont want to mess him over on price. He is 37 and said he bought it at 16 years old from a pawn shop. Its in fair shape. Needs some spit and polish..can you help?


quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Anything with an eagle on a resonator back is Asian and, in terms of the Kay brand, a "new" banjo. "Old" Kays would be those from before about 1950-55. U.S. Kays built after that essentially were unchanged until the company's demise. And there was little change other than peghead design even going back to when Stromberg-Voisenet became Kay in 1931. The giveaway is the coordinating rod with the giant nut, the adjusting shim between neck and pot and the megascrew in the heel. Any zinc reso flange with alternating oval and circular holes is a Kay.

Bill



Big Bully Chuck

Bill Rogers - Posted - 11/22/2008:  01:07:47


If it has the zinc resonator flange be sure it's sound. If one of those is cracked or missing pieces, then the banjo's on the way to oblivion. A playable Kay that has working tuning pegs you can use is, to my mind, a $175-$200 banjo. A retailer would want more. You have to compare the particular instrument with a modern low-end banjo like the Gold Tone CC-100 and the Deering Goodtime. Figure out the dealer cost on those (it's 50 percent of full list price) and I'd say that's a fair price for the Kay.

Bill

Texas Chuck - Posted - 11/22/2008:  08:05:58


Thanks for the advice Bill. I will check those things out. I thought maybe that the banjo would fetch more money than 200 bucks due to being antique but I guess not...



quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

If it has the zinc resonator flange be sure it's sound. If one of those is cracked or missing pieces, then the banjo's on the way to oblivion. A playable Kay that has working tuning pegs you can use is, to my mind, a $175-$200 banjo. A retailer would want more. You have to compare the particular instrument with a modern low-end banjo like the Gold Tone CC-100 and the Deering Goodtime. Figure out the dealer cost on those (it's 50 percent of full list price) and I'd say that's a fair price for the Kay.

Bill



Big Bully Chuck

kevinpaul - Posted - 02/19/2009:  11:45:15


A good friend came over with an old banjo for me to repair. No name, just an eagle with open wings on the head and on the back.. I think it is old.
Looking close at it I think it is junk. Might be a Kay.

DR Kevin P Moore

vrcoolb - Posted - 05/12/2009:  15:50:16


I just bought one of these old Kays off of E bay it is an open back banjo and I just tore it down to redo it. It also has a particle board pot and a metal tone ring under the head. I want to know how to adjust the neck to lower the action of the strings. I tried to losen the coordinating rod nut then thightn the meagascrew but could not adjust the neck action any help would be greatly appreciated. The banjo is painted black and has the kay logo on the head stock with decreasing stars and a small kay logo at the bottom of these lines.


Edited by - vrcoolb on 05/12/2009 16:07:47

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/12/2009:  17:33:34


The Stromberg-Voisonette adjuster, found on all SV and USA made Kay banjos is very easy to adjust.

1. There is a big screw through the heel. Do not touch it. Loosen the strings till they have some slack -- no need to remove them
2. Loosen the big nut on the neck side of the long threaded rod. If there is a small jam nut in front, loosen that first.
3. Rock the neck in that curved plastic or pot metal sleeve. You can also slide the neck and spacer up and down a bit.
4. When the angle and string height appear right, tighten the big nut. Do not overtighten or you will break the neck heek. Snug is all you need.
5. Tune to pitch and check your adjustment. If not correct, try again.

Mike Halloran

1four5 - Posted - 05/12/2009:  17:42:26


they show up at goodwill quite often.
http://www.shopgoodwill.com/viewIte...emID=4769150

Dean

dmiller - Posted - 05/12/2009:  18:37:37


quote:
Originally posted by beegee

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Anything with an eagle on a resonator back is Asian












stelling man - Posted - 05/13/2009:  05:46:38


NOT EVERYTHING..

STELLING MAN

Ronnie - Posted - 05/14/2009:  04:33:28


The CF Martin/ Vega V76 also had the eagle on the resonator. They made 76 of them in 1976.

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

beegee - Posted - 05/14/2009:  04:48:41


quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Anything with an eagle on a resonator back is Asian...


Most of the time...
All-American

RB-350


Fender Concert Tone Deluxe


__________________________
"It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing." -Seneca


Edited by - beegee on 05/14/2009 04:59:42

beegee - Posted - 05/14/2009:  04:51:11


If anybody has a cheap Asian banjo just like any of the ones pictured above, I'll give you $50.00 for it

__________________________
"It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing." -Seneca


Edited by - beegee on 05/14/2009 05:00:09

fgleich - Posted - 07/05/2009:  15:55:09


I just bought one ( Kay Asian banjo ) a few days ago for $25.00. What a steal ! Here's what one sold for recently:

http://www.shopgoodwill.com/viewIte...emID=4769150

ps I ain't sellin ( yet )


Edited by - fgleich on 07/05/2009 20:02:47

beegee - Posted - 07/05/2009:  20:57:33


Ohhhhh-Kaaay, then.

__________________________
"It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing." -Seneca

spiderwebb - Posted - 07/25/2009:  23:31:44


Greetings All
I am hoping someone here will let me pick their brain. I have an old Kay banjo that belonged to my father that I believe is in need of a head replacement. The head has never been replaced and my dad died over 22 years ago. And yes I am aware that the banjo is not worth a mint, but it does have sentimental value to me and I'm gonna fixer up. Anyway, I'm trying to figure out the size of head needed to replace it. The resonator has an outstretched eagle on the back...looks to be burned into the wood. On the peghead, theres a "goldtoned" medalion with a K. Oh yeah, and a made in Korea sticker on the back. I know the banjo is at least 25-30 years old, and cannot be any more accurate than that. I was hoping to buy a replacement without dismantling it first. It's still playable and i'm trying to teach myself a little clawhammer. If I measure the diagonal across the top to the outside of the stretcher ring/holddown ring...whatever it's called...I get 11 10/16". Does that sound about right? I've noticed it seems most newer banjos are either 11" or 12". the music store in town doesn't stock a wide variety of sizes so I'm going to have to order. Can anybody out there throw this newbie a bone? Thank you in advance for your help


bw



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