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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups

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Glenn F.

04-13-2014 16:32:58

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I have a 1960 model Kay electric guitar I paid $15 for about forty years ago. All indicators are, two if the three pickups are dead. Are pickups prone to failure? Are new ones still available for this near 75-year-old guitar?

Guitar hasn't been played in years.

Thank you,
Glenn F.

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04-15-2014 09:29:45

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
I would agree with John T. - Pickups should work basically forever, but the wiring/volume potentiometers will fail.

not to hijack your post, but I'm going to hijack your post! I used to teach CAD (computer aided drafting) at a vo-tech, and I was into big projects - one of which was building guitars. Design them, then build them, see what your drawings are really used for, that was the idea. We had a GREAT time, and my students really LEARNED something, even when they didn't realize they were learning.

Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, my program was axed. Good old New York State.

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04-14-2014 13:53:01

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
I have a non electric Kay 12 string. It is a flattop Jumbo body with a fixed bridge and a concert head.
The color is a light blonde. I bought it new in 1967 from a music store in Connellsville Pa. If I remember right it was $200,without a case. That was a lot of money for a teenager back then. With that big body it had a real good sound. I miss playing, but these old hands don't work like they once did.

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04-14-2014 05:56:45

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  

Here's one place I know a few people have used to get old pickups fixed. I've got over a dozen of the old Kay "Pancake" pickups. Used to find them for $20 each. Not anymore, I guess.

Is your favorite pickup dead or weak sounding? Dead pickups usually have a broken coil winding and can be repaired. If the broken wire is undetectable, it's probably too deep to repair and would need to be rewound. In weak pickups the magnets may have lost their charge. Just send it to Smit's Pickups and we can fix you up. All pickups welcome, including bass guitar.

We can also soup up your thin/low output pickups. Say your Stratocaster® or Telecaster® bridge pickup is thin sounding compared to the others, which is not uncommon. Let us rewind it to a slightly hotter spec so you can finally use that position by itself, problem solved. We can also rewind or unwind to a lower output.

-rewind humbucker, P-bass, single coils- $40 per coil (includes re-potting)
-rewind Jazz bass, or oversized bobbins- $45 per coil (includes re-potting)
-vintage paper bobbin rewind- $60 (all sizes, the delicate condition of these bobbins requires great care and time when removing old wire and prepping for rewind)

-Schecter tapped single coil repair and rewind. These collectable pickups (usually in a sss pickguard) are notorious for having a bad bridge position. Sweat wicks down through the low E pole magnet and corrodes the inner coil or the polepieces slide and the windings get damaged, requiring the entire pickup be rewound. This service includes reinforcing the poles and flatwork(inside the pickup)w/epoxy, rewinding to 6k or 13k ohms, applying new copper shielding tape and potting. $65 SEE PHOTOS

-Gibson Ripper bass coil repair and rewind. These epoxy filled, dual coil pickups are fixable. We pull everything apart, rewind both coils (to approx. 6.5k total, or higher by request), reassemble and add a 4 conductor lead, wax pot to hold everything in place while reducing vibration feedback. $100 SEE PHOTOS

-Fender Wide Range reissue makeover. These newer Mexican made pickups are known to be splatty and lack definition. We will rewind both coils to your spec, change the magnet to one of our alnico 5's, and replace lead with a 4 conductor for more wiring options. Reviews on this mod are very positive as to the huge improvement in tone. $100 per pickup (not available on original WR pickups, only reissues) review

-single-coil reverse rewind + re-polarize magnets- $45 (includes re-potting) If you get 60 cycle hum in your Stratocaster® 2 and 4 positions the middle pickup can be reverse wound/re-polarized. Or your Telecaster® neck and bridge "middle position" is noisy, either pickup can be reversed to eliminate the problem.

-potting- $5 per pickup

-replace pickup leads on Strat or Tele rewinds - $5 per pickup

-replace pickup leads on Strat or Tele pickups - $10 per pickup

-add or convert humbucker lead to vintage braided or 4 conductor- $20 per pickup (includes re-potting if required)

-add tap wire to a vintage style humbucker- $15 (includes re-potting if required)

-re-polarize/re-magnetize magnet(s) including Peter Green/Gary Moore mod (change magnet polarity in your neck pickup, humbucker only)- $15

-complete humbucker re-work (disassemble, clean, rewind both coils to your spec, wax pot)- $90 (subject to additional charges with extensive modifications or when replacing missing parts

-rush service- any repair that requires a fast turnaround time(arrives here and is repaired and shipped back within 72 hrs.)- additional $50 (does not include express return shipping. TBD by location and shipping service)
-troubleshoot and repair- $40 hr ($15 minimum)

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04-14-2014 05:30:38

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
They can be repaired or replaced. I needed pickups for my Kay and also for two of my old Harmonys. I had no problem finding used original pickups on Ebay. Many of the older "el cheapo" guitars like Kay, Kent, and Harmony got scrapped for parts kind of like what gets done to tractors.

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Glenn F.

04-14-2014 05:25:24

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
Near 55-year-old..............


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04-13-2014 22:41:25

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
I haven't heard that name in years!

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04-13-2014 21:23:00

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  

Glenn F. said:
The pickup has a magnetic core with light gauge enameled wire wound around the core. Check wire continuity with an ohm meter. All the pickups should have similar resistance, the position of the selector switch/volume controls might make some variance between them. Unless they've been roughly treated I doubt if wire in the pickup is broken. My guess would be either the selector switch, if it has one, or the pots (volume controls). The pots have a carbon path that can deteriorate, or the sweep contact might be tarnished. I use to have a liquid treatment for pots, but I don't remember it's name. A lot of people are using CRC Contact Cleaner now (I have NOT personally tried it).
This post was edited by spacecadet9 at 21:23:33 04/13/14.

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04-13-2014 20:53:09

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
Try Porter Pickups in Boise. They hand wind them and can probably match what you need.

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John T

04-13-2014 19:17:39

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
While pickups can fail its often the light gauge wiring to them and/or the small wires to the volume controls and selector switches (and switches themselves) that go bad. It doesn't have to be exactly the same magnetic pickup ya know as long as it fits and looks good unless you want originality which I also prefer. Musicians Friend and Flea Bay ought to get you going.

John T

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dr sportster

04-13-2014 17:32:32

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 Re: 1960 Vintage Kay Guitar Pickups in reply to Glenn F., 04-13-2014 16:32:58  
Some on eBay . The whole guitars too. Not cheap prices though.

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