A Briefcase Full of Blues

Kay 704A Guitar Amp with Tremolo

1965 Kay 704 Vanguard Vibrato

Find the full review here: Kay 704 Review

The Kay 704 Vanguard with Vibrato was the world’s first all transistor solid-state guitar amp, introduced by Kay Musical Instruments in 1962. Based on traditional tube amp design of that period, the vacuum tubes were replaced in the hand-wired circuits with seven germanium transistors and four diodes.

I bought this from a guy on eBay. According to the date codes found on the potentiometers, it’s a 1965 model. Completely original. A 5-watt wonder. A single front-loaded 8″ Oxford Alnico speaker. Not a whole lot of lower mid-range. But then again, no low end speaker flab either. The tone of this amp makes me think of Led Zep. Mild overdrive at full volume from my Gretsch 5120humbuckers. Fantastic OD howl from my Silvertone 1445 with its Teisco single coil pickups. The solid-state vibrato circuit is simply amazing! The vibrato effect alone was worth the price.

See more photos of the Kay 704 Vanguard Vibrato here.

Comments

tomas March 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm

glad you are enjoying it!

nice site, added it to my RSS reader….

REPLY

alex March 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

tomas, thanks for visiting the site! ~alex

glassdog March 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I have the same vanguard amp was wondering Its worth having someone look at it. It has some issues with the sound. It mostly crackles It was given to me by a relative. thanks

REPLY

alex March 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

@glassdog, thanks for visiting the site. Personally, I like these amps a lot, and they are getting much harder to find. I do my own repairs to save $. I would definitely recommend having someone look at it to at least estimate the damage and repair cost. But I wouldn’t recommend spending very much to repair it. $75 to $100, max, and that’s pushing it. Unless yours is in pristine physical condition – and most are not! Good luck! ~alex

 

 

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