Lightnin' Hopkins Kay Guitar
Like most professional musicians, Lightnin’ Hopkins played on several instruments throughout his career. According to Lightnin’ himself, his first guitar was self-designed and constructed from scrap wood, wire and a cigar box. Fortunately, he was able to upgrade, and like most professional musicians he played on several instruments throughout his career.
This particular guitar was manufactured by the Kay Musical Instrument Company, which has made guitars since the 1890s. This model dates from 1951, shortly after the company began to add electric elements to their acoustic guitars. Kay guitars were popular among blues musicians: in addition to Lightnin’, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, and John Lee Hooker are on Kay’s list of players. The instruments appeal to contemporary musicians too: Bruce Springsteen, St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy and Taylor Swift are just a few names from the company’s lengthy (and still growing) list.