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Thread: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    This is the Venetian model that debuted in 1960 but is a few years later as it has the Japanese tuners- not Kluson units.

    This mandolin has suffered from pickguard deterioration- it may be an easy fix- it might not be.

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    It looks rough. The pickup, if working, would be worth $200 to someone with a Kay Jimmy Reed guitar or Howlin' Wolf bass needing a pickup. Even if it worked, it still has A LOT of rust. Knobs and logo might have a little value to someone. Otherwise, the price....if it goes for the minimum plus shipping, it still might be overpriced, IMHO.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    Jeff, you may be right but I think there will be those prepared to take a chance on it being a reasonable challenge- rather than a mission impossible. These mandolins have the same electrics as the earlier pear-shaped examples, so a wrecked one of those might be a donor for some components, if necessary. Funnily enough my example had pickguard rot- this came in a plastic bag in about 50 pieces of celluloid but it did not appear to have damaged the instrument as it degraded. The mandolin's bridge and tuners are okay, and I assume the body is, likewise, so I think it will surprise us at the close of the auction. It would be good to see the case- it will be the same as mine, and see if that is damaged.

  5. #4

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    Just for fun I followed this auction. It sold for $146.94 plus $43.49 shipping. So, a few people thought there was hope. The big IF for me was not knowing if the pickup worked. The seller mostly dealt with flea market items and had no way to test it. So, it was a gamble, IMHO.

    I noticed two eBay sellers were selling this model, in better condition, with asking prices of $1275 & $1350, although I'm doubtful if one has ever sold close to that. I'm guessing that's why someone was willing to take a $200 gamble on it. For that kind of money, probably less, you can get a Harmony batwing -- which I think looks cooler. (looks being the only appeal, since both are basically mass produced junk!) And, I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course...

  6. #5

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    I was not surprised that it went that high. I took a closer look at mine as it had suffered from the pickguard degrading and there on the right of the pick up was the tell tale sign of corrosion to the chrome plate- it had clearly rusted but there were no other signs of damage on the mandolin or case interior.
    I think as old electric mandolins are quite rare, the vintage Harmony and Kay examples are now popular and we have recently seen how much a Mandocaster can cost. The other route is to buy the Japanese version of the Kay and that will not cost a small fortune.
    Here is a 1984 concert of the McGarrigle sisters, Linda Ronstadt and Maria Muldaur. The mandolin player is Chaim Tannenbaum and I cannot tell if his pear-shaped mandolin is an original Kay electric or one with a pick up added -or possibly a Korean model made after Kay folded. From the point of view of the performance, it is not relevant!

  7. #6

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    Thanks, that is a nice song. The mandolin is in the background, but it is there. Guitarist seems to be using a mandolin tremolo technique.

  8. #7

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    I think this is the same mandolin- $775 BIN:

  9. #8

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I think this is the same mandolin- $775 BIN:
    Interesting.....good catch! I think you are correct. New pickguard, cleaned up corrosion on pickup, missing tailpiece cover would lead to this conclusion. I still think he took a gamble that the pickup was in working condition. And, I haven't seen a lot of these sell in that price range, even though he is under what some are asking. As we all know -- asking and getting are not always the same thing...

  10. #9

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    And for good measure, he's selling the case on its own for $149!

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  12. #10
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Warwick,New York

    Default Re: 1960s Kay Electric Mandolin

    Good thing he states that is faux .It looks so real.

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