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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: History and age of my Kay


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/374800

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  13:15:00


Thank you for allowing me to join. Im new at banjo and have the Kay banjo which belonged to my deceased oldest brother. Can you guys give me any info on it.


Edited by - retiredcop on 05/04/2021 13:21:45


overhere - Posted - 05/04/2021:  13:35:47


I had one exactly like that I bought brand new around 1963. I paid 75 dollars for it. After around 6 months I had lent it to a friend who disappeared and I never got it back.......never saw the exact thing again until you posted a picture.

tdennis - Posted - 05/04/2021:  13:58:49


kayvintagereissue.com/index.php



Check out the catalogs from the 50-60's, & you will find the model & description.


Edited by - tdennis on 05/04/2021 14:04:18

Red Squirrel - Posted - 05/04/2021:  15:29:50


Model 52 I Believe. Got one just like that.



Don't know the exact dates they were made, but it was1950's or early 1960's.



I know they went through several logos in that era... Figuring that out may help to get a more specific date.


Edited by - Red Squirrel on 05/04/2021 15:40:16

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  15:47:51


quote:

Originally posted by overhere

I had one exactly like that I bought brand new around 1963. I paid 75 dollars for it. After around 6 months I had lent it to a friend who disappeared and I never got it back.......never saw the exact thing again until you posted a picture.






 

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  15:50:47


Thank you guys. Im the baby of nine and we all play but oldest brother Gary was our banjo player. Dad bought this one in the early 50s we believe. Gary went thru several but always kept this one. Id like to get it restored.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/04/2021:  18:46:09


quote:

Originally posted by retiredcop

Thank you guys. Im the baby of nine and we all play but oldest brother Gary was our banjo player. Dad bought this one in the early 50s we believe. Gary went thru several but always kept this one. Id like to get it restored.






Ok, I'll bite: restored to what? Seriously, it looks to be in excellent shape.



That said, lubricate the tuners and see if they turn without binding — if so, leave them alone. If not, show us the back of the headstock and we'll know which restoration set to recommend.



This has the Kay Neck Adjuster. Here's Frank Ford's page on how to adjust if necessary plus other tips on these:



Frets.com Kay Setup 



A couple things to know:



A big wrench can easily over-tighten the big nut and mess up the neck. Tighten till snug and the neck doesn't move—no more.



Also, sometimes, the adjuster plate is attached to the end of the neck—a factory mistake made some years. Back off the big nut till the neck comes off, remove any brads or screws and throw them away. The neck angle is supposed to rock in the adjuster plate.

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  18:56:44


quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

quote:

Originally posted by retiredcop

Thank you guys. Im the baby of nine and we all play but oldest brother Gary was our banjo player. Dad bought this one in the early 50s we believe. Gary went thru several but always kept this one. Id like to get it restored.






Ok, I'll bite: restored to what? Seriously, it looks to be in excellent shape.



That said, lubricate the tuners and see if they turn without binding — if so, leave them alone. If not, show us the back of the headstock and we'll know which restoration set to recommend.



This has the Kay Neck Adjuster. Here's Frank Ford's page on how to adjust if necessary plus other tips on these:



Frets.com Kay Setup 



A couple things to know:



A big wrench can easily over-tighten the big nut and mess up the neck. Tighten till snug and the neck doesn't move—no more.



Also, sometimes, the adjuster plate is attached to the end of the neck—a factory mistake made some years. Back off the big nut till the neck comes off, remove any brads or screws and throw them away. The neck angle is supposed to rock in the adjuster plate.






 

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  18:59:22


quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

quote:

Originally posted by retiredcop

Thank you guys. Im the baby of nine and we all play but oldest brother Gary was our banjo player. Dad bought this one in the early 50s we believe. Gary went thru several but always kept this one. Id like to get it restored.






Ok, I'll bite: restored to what? Seriously, it looks to be in excellent shape.



That said, lubricate the tuners and see if they turn without binding — if so, leave them alone. If not, show us the back of the headstock and we'll know which restoration set to recommend.



This has the Kay Neck Adjuster. Here's Frank Ford's page on how to adjust if necessary plus other tips on these:



Frets.com Kay Setup 



A couple things to know:



A big wrench can easily over-tighten the big nut and mess up the neck. Tighten till snug and the neck doesn't move—no more.



Also, sometimes, the adjuster plate is attached to the end of the neck—a factory mistake made some years. Back off the big nut till the neck comes off, remove any brads or screws and throw them away. The neck angle is supposed to rock in the adjuster plate.






 

retiredcop - Posted - 05/04/2021:  19:06:09


Thank you sir. Restoration may have not been the correct word. This banjo has been in the closet for at least 8 years and is in tune. However The 5th string nut will not move. The fret board has a pretty good dip in it due to wear. It does need a good cleaning. Maybe thats the better word. Thank you for the suggestions

cevant - Posted - 05/04/2021:  19:36:26


banjohangout.org/photo/27263

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/04/2021:  20:52:26


quote:

Originally posted by cevant

banjohangout.org/photo/27263






This has inaccuracies.:



"The distinctive asymetrical peghead identifies the banjo as a 1930s or '40s "Old Kraftsman" or "Kay Kraft" model -- made somettime after 1931, when the Stromberg-Voisinet Co. changed its name to "Kay". The flange is the same type used on the earlier Stromberg-Voisinet banjos, of the 1920s."



Ths banjo could have been made up to the day that Kay went out of business in 1968. The headstock doesn't tell anyone anything. "Kay Kraft" was a brand name that was used but it would be on the headstock.



"Old Kraftsman" on a headstock only means that an instrument was sold through the Spiegel catalog.



Spiegel Catalog



It offers no clue as to the maker, more often Harmony according to the instruments I've seen over the years but Kay, Gretsch and Made in Japan instruments show up. Still kicking myself for passing on a Harmony made Old Kraftsman branded long neck in a second hand store for $50 about 10 years ago.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/04/2021:  21:02:05


quote:

Originally posted by retiredcop

Thank you sir. Restoration may have not been the correct word. This banjo has been in the closet for at least 8 years and is in tune. However The 5th string nut will not move. The fret board has a pretty good dip in it due to wear. It does need a good cleaning. Maybe thats the better word. Thank you for the suggestions






I presume you mean the 5th string tuning peg. It's a friction peg. Loosen/tighten the screw on the top to adjust the tension. Geared 5th string tuners are inexpensive and installing one will not hurt the value of this banjo in the least. If planning to play it (highly recommended!) a geared 5th is a good idea. Frank's web site covers this and any repair person can install one for you.

Culloden - Posted - 05/04/2021:  21:41:11


One thing I can tell you is that the tailpiece is a real bear to change loop end strings on. Use ball end strings and it will be much easier. D'Addario and GHS both make them.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/05/2021:  09:18:26


quote:

Originally posted by Culloden

One thing I can tell you is that the tailpiece is a real bear to change loop end strings on. Use ball end strings and it will be much easier. D'Addario and GHS both make them.






Yes, that Kluson tailpiece is the big clue that this was made in the '50s–'60s. I don't like them either but, as mentioned, ball end strings make it easy to use.

overhere - Posted - 05/05/2021:  13:44:45


living in swampy new jersey I always had trouble with the old calf skin heads sagging with the heat and humidity. For me the banjo life saver was good ol' plastic......what a difference. Even a cheaper Montgomery ward plastic head banjo I had played better. Back then i knew a guy who sold Gibsons. He wanted 250 dollars for a RB250....stupid me bought the RB100 instead.....wish I had bought 10 250s and sold them in todays market...sighhhhh

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