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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Roscoe Holcomb’s Kay Kraftsman - What Pot?


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/378315

The_Fox_Den - Posted - 10/12/2021:  11:33:37


I was given a banjo off a buddy’s wall recently to do with what I will more or less, and my friend recognized the flange as the same as the Kay Old Kraftsman that Roscoe is holding in the picture below. This one seems about a decade later and I don’t expect it’ll effect the value much, but I thought it would be worth noting if Roscoe played on this same style cast metal pot with integral flange (before he was gifted his Vega). Apparently there were at least a couple different style pots with this flange, including a wooden pot with rolled tone hoop that someone just listed in the Classifieds. I couldn’t track down another thread on which pot Roscoe used so I thought this would be a useful reference.

Thanks all!

PS. Does anyone have a date for when “Steel Reinforced Neck” starts showing up? Would make a handy rule of thumb.










Alvin Conder - Posted - 10/12/2021:  11:52:01


I may be wrong, but Ive been told the one he used had the wooden slip rim with the integral flange on it.

No idea of the model number or name of model but a good friend of mine who would be “in the know” told me his banjo was just like RH’s and that was the configuration.

The_Fox_Den - Posted - 10/12/2021:  12:26:45


Excellent, thank you! Here is a picture of that configuration from the classified I mentioned, just so this thread can be useful in the future. (Hope it’s ok to reproduce!)



 

Alvin Conder - Posted - 10/12/2021:  13:25:11


That’s the type pot I’m talking about.

Banner Blue - Posted - 10/12/2021:  13:44:43


If I wasn't looking at a clearly US made Kay pot and only the neck, the plasting bushings, and the style of "steel reinforced neck" label would have me guessing 1960s Japan.

tdennis - Posted - 10/12/2021:  14:39:04


Roscoe Holcomb played a gumby peghead Kay. The instrument has a plain headstock w/ no name , & looks like an early 50's K-52. (I've also seen it identified as a 50's Kay "Silvertone" ? )


Edited by - tdennis on 10/12/2021 14:40:07

The_Fox_Den - Posted - 10/12/2021:  16:19:45


quote:

Originally posted by Banner Blue

If I wasn't looking at a clearly US made Kay pot and only the neck, the plasting bushings, and the style of "steel reinforced neck" label would have me guessing 1960s Japan.






You can almost see the "Made In Japan" sticker on it right? It might be some transitional unit with imported neck, or perhaps the tuners & bushings (which I think are replacements based on extra screw holes in the peghead) might be throwing off the ballpark just slightly. I'm not opposed to the hypothesis.

The_Fox_Den - Posted - 10/12/2021:  16:29:29


For reference



 

mikehalloran - Posted - 10/13/2021:  08:51:51


There's more than one version of that flange but all were made by SV or Kay. Without looking at and pulling the resonator and counting the brackets, you aren't going to know one from the other. Sometime between 1931–'33, Kay switched from a dowel stick to the Kay neck adjuster. 



There is no such thing as a 'Kay Old Kraftsman' or a 'Kay Silvertone'. Sears did sell Silvertone banjos made by Kay — and Harmony and Regal and Asian factories. Likewise, Spiegel Catalog sold Old Kraftsman banjos made by the same companies. Montgomery Wards (Airine and other brands), Aldens (Holiday & Futureamic) and other music and department stores had their own brands,



The headstock shape, like the brand names, is meaningless. The 'Gumby' shape was available to private labels into the late '60s when Kay went out of business.



Kay did sell some of their top end banjos under the Kaykraft brand.

mikehalloran - Posted - 10/13/2021:  09:20:28


quote:

Originally posted by GranaryTreeMusic

quote:

Originally posted by Banner Blue

If I wasn't looking at a clearly US made Kay pot and only the neck, the plasting bushings, and the style of "steel reinforced neck" label would have me guessing 1960s Japan.






You can almost see the "Made In Japan" sticker on it right? It might be some transitional unit with imported neck, or perhaps the tuners & bushings (which I think are replacements based on extra screw holes in the peghead) might be throwing off the ballpark just slightly. I'm not opposed to the hypothesis.






No. USA neck with aftermarket made-somewhere-in-Asia replacement tuners that certainly outperform the original Kluson or Waverly originals. It's a Kay — replacement tuners will not hurt the value. 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 10/13/2021 09:20:54

The_Fox_Den - Posted - 10/13/2021:  12:55:25


quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

There's more than one version of that flange but all were made by SV or Kay. Without looking at and pulling the resonator and counting the brackets, you aren't going to know one from the other. Sometime between 1931–'33, Kay switched from a dowel stick to the Kay neck adjuster. 



There is no such thing as a 'Kay Old Kraftsman' or a 'Kay Silvertone'. Sears did sell Silvertone banjos made by Kay — and Harmony and Regal and Asian factories. Likewise, Spiegel Catalog sold Old Kraftsman banjos made by the same companies. Montgomery Wards (Airine and other brands), Aldens (Holiday & Futureamic) and other music and department stores had their own brands,



The headstock shape, like the brand names, is meaningless. The 'Gumby' shape was available to private labels into the late '60s when Kay went out of business.



Kay did sell some of their top end banjos under the Kaykraft brand.






Mike, thanks as always for your insight. Not to press the point, but I'd like to bank on your knowledge if possible: Is this one piece cast metal pot a later addition to the line, or was it an interchangeable option earlier on as well? Mostly curious about whether Roscoe and/or some of the other famous early Kay players might have used this cast metal pot, or if the wooden rim with this flange is the more "classic" configuration.



There's maybe more hubub in the banjo world about what pots famous players used than just about anything else; I'd like for the humble Kay to have at least one thread on record!

mikehalloran - Posted - 10/13/2021:  17:03:58


quote:

Originally posted by GranaryTreeMusic

quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

There's more than one version of that flange but all were made by SV or Kay. Without looking at and pulling the resonator and counting the brackets, you aren't going to know one from the other. Sometime between 1931–'33, Kay switched from a dowel stick to the Kay neck adjuster. 



There is no such thing as a 'Kay Old Kraftsman' or a 'Kay Silvertone'. Sears did sell Silvertone banjos made by Kay — and Harmony and Regal and Asian factories. Likewise, Spiegel Catalog sold Old Kraftsman banjos made by the same companies. Montgomery Wards (Airine and other brands), Aldens (Holiday & Futureamic) and other music and department stores had their own brands,



The headstock shape, like the brand names, is meaningless. The 'Gumby' shape was available to private labels into the late '60s when Kay went out of business.



Kay did sell some of their top end banjos under the Kaykraft brand.






Mike, thanks as always for your insight. Not to press the point, but I'd like to bank on your knowledge if possible: Is this one piece cast metal pot a later addition to the line, or was it an interchangeable option earlier on as well? Mostly curious about whether Roscoe and/or some of the other famous early Kay players might have used this cast metal pot, or if the wooden rim with this flange is the more "classic" configuration.



There's maybe more hubub in the banjo world about what pots famous players used than just about anything else; I'd like for the humble Kay to have at least one thread on record!






 



How about Earl? There are pictures of him playing a couple of Kays — one with the cast flange and one without.







There are Kay advertisements that do mention famous players but I'm not finding any at the moment. 



This pot—or a version of it—goes back to the Stromberg Voisonette days with dowel sticks. Though Henry Kay "Hank" Kuhrmeyer bought the company in 1930 (or 1928 or 1931 depending on whom you believe), there was a transition period before the Kay Neck Adjuster (patd. 1931) was incorporated and the Kay brand superseded SV (somewhere between 1934–35 when the new factory opened). One feature I aluded to was that there were different bracket counts. The 1954 catalog shows both the earlier 20 bracket and later 30 bracket versions. No doubt there are other changes but I don't have any to tear apart at the moment. Both of mine look like Earl's from the 1960s.



1954 Kay Catalog



 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 10/13/2021 17:05:52

Bob Smakula - Posted - 10/14/2021:  04:44:43


There is no doubt in my mind that the original poster's banjo is a Kay knock off made in Japan in the mid to late 1960's.

Bob Smakula

OldFrets - Posted - 10/14/2021:  06:11:38


It's certainly a Japanese-made neck, but the pot is a genuine Kay.

John Brinegar - Posted - 10/18/2021:  09:29:48


I have a Roscoe Holcolm type banjo made by Kay or Stromberg Voisonette . Five string with wood rim and cast flange. I think the pot is all original, but unsure about the five string neck. The neck has inlays at fret 3-5-7-10-12-15-17- 19 and 22 - nice original resonator and wood armrest . Comments ?

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