This is a Kay model: 1961 Value Leader, it formerly had a shaded walnut finish/tobaccoburst finish but has been repainted black with a “splatter-paint” finish. It is a light-weight, semi-hollow body, single pickup electric guitar made by Kay of Chicago, IL in 1962. This is a player’s grade guitar or collector’s model who wants a one-of-a-kind. It works and sounds great but shows its age with lots of years of playing wear. Did Jackson Pollack paint this guitar??? (absolutely not). Could Lee Krasner have painted it, unlikely yet possible. But it’s still pretty cool and fun to play. This Kay guitar is for someone looking for a truly unique look and tone.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
This Kay 1961 guitar is mostly original (aside from paint) and in good condition. One screw has been replaced on the pickguard. The photos really tell the story. Someone painted it a psychedelic splatter finish. It shows plenty of playing wear, scratches, and dings from the last 60 years of use but overall it’s in nice playing shape. It has a laminated maple body with celluloid bound endges. The pickup is strong/loud and has a more muted, Jazzy tone. The tone control when all the way down gets very muted and throaty. Both the tone and volume controls work well. It includes a gig bag.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
It has 3×2 strip tuners with white plastic knobs. One tuner is bent but still works fine. Black headstock with no logo but has been painted over with splatter paint.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
Bolted-on neck (3 bolts), fully bound rock maple fretboard with 18 frets. It has circular plastic inlays for fret markers. The action is medium-fast. The string height at the 12th fret is 0.0787 inches. The neck is straight. There’s no fret buzz anywhere on the neck. The back of the neck has nominal playing wear for a 60 year old guitar. The brass frets have minor wear with plenty of playing life left.
One single coil pickup that is super strong. There is a one tone and one volume control; which both work very well. The pickup is definitely Bluesy or Jazzy sounding with a rich, strong tone that can easily work for Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country, etc.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
The Dimensions are:
Overall length: 39.5″Description from VintageSilvertones.com
Body width: 13.5″
Body thickness: 1.73″ (2.2″ with the neck)Description from VintageSilvertones.com
Scale: 24″Description from VintageSilvertones.com
Width of the nut: 1.67″
String height at 12th fret: 0.0787″Description from VintageSilvertones.com
Weight: 4.6 lbs
Here’s the original description from the 1962 Kay catalog:Description from VintageSilvertones.com
In the early 1950’s, Kay pioneered the thin, semi-solid electric with the revolutionary-and very successful-“Thin Twin”. Now, we feel we have perfected the semi-solid electric with the “THINLINE” ELECTRICS-instruments made expressly for today’s people, to express today’s music. In sound, they combine the pure, brilliant tone of the electric, with the rich undertones of the acoustical guitar. In looks, they’re an eyecatching, beautifully proportioned design-lightweight and slim (18″ long, 13 1/2″ wide, 1 3/4″ slim). In playing quality, they give you a new, short (24 5/8″) pro scale, for faster-than-ever fingering…a cutaway shape that makes the high ones easy to reach…and the most responsive electrical equipment. In value, they are unbeatable.
THE VALUE LEADER combines the best of our craftsmen’s skills, technicians’ know-how and designer’s flair that 50 years in the music business have taught us. Result: a superb instrument at a top-value price.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
The body is of laminated, crack-proof maple, and the slim neck is steel-reinforced. The fingerboard is made of hard “rock” maple, and the five large position markers are hand-inlaid. There are professional frets, and extra-wide white celluloid binding on the top and back edges, and the adjustable bridge is “rock” maple. There are a shiny, nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece, and fine electric guitar strings. The finish is dark brown, with a shining sunburst on top and back.
Magnetic pickup units, newly designed, give great power and a truer-than ever brilliant electric tone.
The chrome-plated guardplate has an exclusive design. Covers of the pickup units are chrome-plated, and the knobs are a contrasting jet black.Description from VintageSilvertones.com
#1961 has one single powerful pickup unit, tone and volume controls. $69.95Description from VintageSilvertones.com