Museum: Electric Guitars

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1966 Kay K-403

The 1968 Kay Instruments catalog says it best when it describes the K-403. “A new concept in solidbody electric guitars... designed to meet the exacting requirements of the Space Age Set.” What is there left to say??

Well, here’s a dashing three pickup K-403 in ‘Soft Teal Blue’ finish. One of the most expensive Kay offerings in the day, this model featured a solid body with bolt-on neck, bound rosewood fingerboard, bigsby-esque tremolo tailpiece and a factory original Melita bridge (weird, huh?) It’s an incredibly cool looking guitar, and with the exception of an added string ground it’s completely original. The pickups are single coil units with adjustable pole pieces and resistances in the 10-11 kOhm range. They have a clear and fairly dark tone, and are surprisingly jazzy. Volume and tone for each pickup, and 4-position switching (N-M-B-All). The guitar has been set-up here at Folkway and plays well.

And while you’re at it, have a look at the matching K-5918 Bass.

With hardshell case, possibly original.

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