Kay has made some weird-looking guitars over the years, and this Solo King is also known as the “Map of Ohio” model because its shape is reminiscent of the Buckeye State. These guitars were made from 1958 until 1960, and featured a Masonite body, an uncomfortably fat set-neck, cheap hardware, and a “Gumby” headstock. The one-pickup models originally sold for around $75, and the two pickup versions went for $95.
I definitely wanted one of these bizarre beauties, but it bothered me that this auction was presented by an eBay newbie who had zero feedback. I knew that would keep down some of my competition, but I also needed reassurance that the seller wasn’t going to take my money and run. So I e-mailed the seller, and asked for a phone number.
Usually, crooks and deadbeats won’t give you any way to contact them, but the seller got back to me immediately, and, after talking to him, I felt it was safe to bid for the Solo King. When the end of the auction came around, I sniped during the last five seconds, and won the guitar for $107 plus $25 shipping.
Although I bought the Solo King more as a collector’s piece than as a serious player’s guitar, it actually sounds very cool and retro when plugged in. And there’s no denying that it’s a unique-looking axe. They just don’t make guitars like this anymore. There are laws, I think.