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Kay M1 question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by lorianb, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. lorianb

    lorianb

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    I know I might get a few guffaws for this but... How is an M1 under bow? I'm looking at a first instrument and was leaning towards Shen but then this 1940's M1 pops up out of nowhere. :smug: By my unlearned estimation, I'll be playing 70% pizz to 30% arco with some communi orchestra playing.

    Thanks in advance and haters, please be funny about it.:meh:

    l...

    PS - the reason I ask instead of just trying it out : a 90 minute drive that I can avoid if this DB is just not made to be played under bow.
  2. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

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    Feb 8, 2002
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    I had a '51 C-1 that wasn't bad under the bow with the right setup and soundpost tweaking. That bass had been to hell and back by the time I got it, though, and I believe stringed instruments generally improve the more they are played.

    Anyway, like most or all plywood basses it will probably be peaky and nasal compared to a decent bass with a carved top. Which model Shen are you considering? The 150 I had was nice.

    And a 90 minute drive is not much here in DB land. Over the summer I drove 90 minutes each way to pick up an old German flatback, with my wife and daughter along for the ride.
  3. lorianb

    lorianb

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    I'm looking at the 150 although I made the potentially fatal and expensive mistake of spending half an hour with a Willow. It wasn't heaven but it must have been close.

    ;)
  4. Jsn

    Jsn

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    Oct 15, 2006
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    In an era when we have Shens and other quality hybrid basses available at affordable prices, I find it hard to recommend a Kay for even 30% arco. We just have better options these days. Also, since this is a first instrument you'd be better served by something other than the thin Kay neck.

    If it's an incredible deal and other basses are thin on the ground where you are, then by all means check it out. But you asked for opinions in the abstract, so there you are. (And note I say this as a proud Kay owner.)
  5. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

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    Sep 30, 2007
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    If it is a factory stock Kay M1, the neck angle / overstand will be a little low for your 30% arco. They tend to make the bridge height around 135mm; 150+mm works a lot better for arco. The basic translation of this is that the bridge height is a little low, so you'll hit the C bouts a lot if you are not very delicate with your technique. Hence the common heavy "mojo" or wear from impact in this area.

    j.
    www.kaybassrepair.com
    www.condino.com

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