Kingston and Kay

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Skel, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I might have the names mispelled, but I remember as a kid having a "Kingston" bass. Also, I had a "Kay" guitar - I noticed somebody had a "Kay" upright.

    Were these brands made in the USA, and what exactly was the deal with these - they seemed like junk, but were they?

  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Don't know much about Kingston, but Kay is sort of the icon of American-made factory upright basses. There are still plenty of them out there. They are highly sought after on the folk and Bluegrass scene, but you see them everywhere from jazz to student orchestras.

    The very oldest Kays are from the 30s, and they ceased production in the late 60s. The plant and company was based in Chicago.

    And yes, guitars were sold labeled as "Kay" but I am unsure if they were produced in the same plant. Kay also made a bunch cellos of a similar design which you still often see, but their legacy is the double bass.

    When Kay went under, the remnants of the company were purchased by an investment group and a new company called Engelhardt-Link was formed. You can buy a bass today labeled Engelhardt that is nearly identical in design and construction to the old Kays. How well they compare to an actual Kay is arguable. Engelhardt also sells cellos of the same ilk.

    For more info: