Kay Musical Instrument Co., est. 1931

Kay ukulele

Museum Artifact: Kay Ukulele, c. 1960

Made By: Kay Musical Instrument Company, 1640 W. Walnut St., Chicago, IL [West Loop]

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

3 thoughts on “Kay Musical Instrument Co., est. 1931

  1. Kay is alive and well and still in production. They have reissued many of the popular electric guitars and electronic bass guitars from the 1950’s including an authorized model of the Barney Kessel models “Pro”, “Artist”, and “Jazz Special” including the “Kessel signature autograph”
    Many models have been chosen as Best Bass by Bass Player Magazine and the website shows artist from Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Grammy award winners T-Bone Burnett and Gaby Moreno. Featured on TV shows “Nashville”, The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brian, etc. Kay is located in California and produces USA and imported models sold in most major retail stores and Amazon.

  2. The laminated Kay upright string bass still maintains a following to this day among folk, bluegrass, jazz and rock musicians. Probably the most famous of all Kay basses was originally owned by Bill Black, Elvis Presley’s bass player and is currently owned by Paul McCartney. The Kay basses were produced from the 1930’s until about 1969, when the manufacturing equipment was sold to Englehardt which began producing their own line of laminated cellos and basses based on the Kay models. Englehardt ceased production around 2020 or so.

  3. Whole site very well done. Don’t forget Valco, that made guitars and basses right in there with Kay and Harmony.

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