Kay was a large guitar manufacturer in the US in their own right in the 50s and early 60s. In the late sixties and seventies, they transitioned to importing Japanese-made American guitar knock-offs. The Japanese guitar makers started by making their own distinct guitars, and then by the seventies, Japanese manufacturers were making excellent copies of Les Pauls, SGs, and more. The Kay K-1, first produced in the 1960s, is an obvious knock-off of the Gibson SG. However, it has its own distinctive sound and several design choices that make it visually unique.
Later, these Japanese knock-offs would become complete copies that were nearly identical in look and sound of their American-made counterparts. They lost the unique character and cool factor of Japanese guitars as they became more similar to the guitars they were imitating, but the overall quality and consistency of the guitars improved. If you want a more unique looking and sounding Japanese guitar, then look at mid and early sixties. If you want a guarantee that it is a better and more consistent playing guitar, then look at the 70s and 80s.
Features & Specs for the Kay K-1
- Faithful recreation of Gibson SG body design
- Dual pickups with tone controls for each pickup
- Toggle switch for easy switching between pickups
- Roll-a-Matic bridge with Bigsby-style vibrato system
- Rosewood fingerboard and cherry red finish