1963 Kay K627 Swing master (Custom Diamond)
You know, the more I do this, the more impressed I am with the instruments from Kay. Martin and Gibson were obsessed with making the best instrument possible while Kay just wanted to make the best instrument for a particular price, which I think might actually be harder to do. (You can read more about Kay’s history here.)You have to balance function, tone and cosmetics and more often than not, Kay came up with something the balanced all three very nicely. The more I see them and play them, I get the feeling that the higher end models like this are better than they needed to be. That’s not say that Kays are perfect. The factory fret jobs usually aren’t very good and the set up leaves a lot to be desired. But if you are willing to put the work into them, that can really shine. Happily for whoever gets this guitar, that work has already been done by Folkway Music. It was just refretted, which I am sure great improves the playability.
I’ve played quite a few of these over the years and the pickups have a clear, ringing tone that sounds similar to Gibson’s P-90s. The scale length is 25.7-inches, which is little longer than Martin standard and about an inch longer than the scale length of a Gibson ES-175. The guitar has a 1 11/16″ nut. I’ve been referring to this guitar as a Kay even though the headstock clearly says Custom Diamond. As I mentioned in this post about an Airline P-5 Mandolin, Kay made instruments for lots of other companies. I have to confess I have no idea who Custom Diamond was. This Kay K627 is priced at $1299 and it’s for sale at Folkway Music.
Clcik here for the original listing.
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