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Apr 20, 2024 - 9:48:09 PM
609 posts since 1/8/2005

Came across this interesting early Kay Kraft Five String with an arch top tone ring and geared tuners. Any comments appreciated


Apr 20, 2024 - 9:54:07 PM

609 posts since 1/8/2005

It has a resonator as well, but without a flange.

Apr 20, 2024 - 10:53:33 PM
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3022 posts since 2/4/2013

Why would this be a Kay? The zero fret suggests European made. The archtop thing is typical of the Musima made banjos some which were rebadged as Kay in the 60s and 70s but other European makers may have used that as well.

Apr 21, 2024 - 4:23:23 AM
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609 posts since 1/8/2005

Yes, interesting. They apparently borrowed the peg head design from Kay, it is a East German Cold War banjo. In sound, it is somewhat comparable to my circa 1960 circa Gretsch folk banjo. I's say the quality is low middle, perhaps a little better. Better than one might expect, having geared tuners and a tone ring.

Apr 21, 2024 - 6:40:17 AM

4180 posts since 5/1/2003

How is the rim? Kay’s from that era could be pressed board or could be plied.

Apr 22, 2024 - 8:51:37 AM
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2436 posts since 2/9/2007

East German. Better made than a Kay of a similar (~early 60's) vintage.

Apr 22, 2024 - 1:23:46 PM
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13128 posts since 10/27/2006

Originally posted by Ks_5-picker

How is the rim? Kay’s from that era could be pressed board or could be plied.

Not a Kay. As others have posted, this is an East German made Musima. The zero fret is the big tell — lots of German makers used it but combined with an imitation Kay headstock, the maker is well known.

Although plentiful in the EU, many were also found in pawn shops near US military bases in the States.

Apr 30, 2024 - 6:42:09 AM

609 posts since 1/8/2005

The extension on the fretboard, as well the fact that the fretboard is higher than the banjo head, makes it difficult for clawhammer banjo.

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