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Kay S-51 5 String-Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Leftymusicman, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Leftymusicman

    Leftymusicman

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    Hi all,

    I am primarily an electric bass player, though I have owned a kay S-51 5 string for a long time which happened to 'fall into my lap" about 10 yrs ago, when a co-worker said 'I don't have the space for this. You play bass. You can have it."

    I have precious little time to learn a fretless instrument, but I have always held onto it thinking that after my kids grow up I will dedicate time.

    I guess my question is: how rare are these suckers? I am torn between liquidating it for equipment I WANT and NEED, or keeping it.

    The condition of the instrument is 'fair' with some roughed up trim/edges that would need some work. It has a light blonde finish and a few blemishes to the body, but it appears to be good otherwise. Currently it is strung lefty for when I DO use it.

    Thanks for any suggestions or advice. I figure, if it is only worth $600-$800 I would rather keep it. I found some in mint condit. that were listed @ $5000, but, of course that is an ASKING price, and who knows how realistic that is?

    Thanks for any advice in advance.

    LeftyM
  2. coldtrain

    coldtrain

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    I bought mine used for $3000 in good condition. Sounds and plays great.

    Any pics?

    If you want to part with yours for $800 let me know!

    Fabio
  3. Leftymusicman

    Leftymusicman

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    CT,

    You have that 5th string set up as a high C? when I got mine it was used previously as a low C. I tuned it to B, but then what do I know I am a rock/roots player.

    Is it uncommon for a Low B and standard to have it EADGC?

    thanks

    LM
  4. coldtrain

    coldtrain

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    I believe originally the S-51/"Chubby Jackson" models were intended to be used with a high C string. I've had a low B on mine at times as well (Obligato) and it sounded great. Right now I like having the high C. But it should be fine either way.
  5. Leftymusicman

    Leftymusicman

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    Thanks for the $800 offer.

    I think it is worth my while to see what i can get for it, and I am thinking it will be more than $800.
  6. Rocky

    Rocky

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    I'm a little confused. You say you have it strung up for a left handed player. Is it a left handed bass? If you have a right handed bass strung up left handed you may be ruining the bass as the bass bar will be on the wrong side of the top plate. The bass bar should be under the side of the E string.
  7. SmallMouthBass

    SmallMouthBass

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    I have a 1938 Kay S-51 in good to very good condition. I bought it for $2500 back in 2005. I set it up with a new adjustable bridge and adjustable end pin. I should be able to get $3K or more for it.
  8. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

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    Hi all,

    1938 is quite early in Kay's production, something that collector's seem to value. If it's in good to very good condition, you might get that much for it.

    The OP doesn't say which year his is - this info can be found at Roger Stower's website.

    Cheers,

    Paul (Eh_train)
  9. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

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    What you say has value, but you could almost park your truck on the top of an old Kay 5 string and it would still sound like an old Kay.....

    What is my old Kay worth? The guys who are advertising these on ebay for $5000- a couple have been listed there for years with no sales, so they are just dreaming. For a more accurate price appraisal, here you go:

    http://kaybassrepair.com/what-is-my-old-kay-bass-worth/


    Cool old bass. If you don't have a need for it, put it out on the market for someone else to enjoy and you can get on with other more important things in life.

    Let's see: friend's old unused bass taking up space in my closet....or wintertime surfing / bikini watching trip to warm and sunny Nosara, Costa Rica to escape record icy cold winter here in the US. Easy choice for me!

    j.
    www.condino.com
  10. mtb777

    mtb777 Supporting Member

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    It's strung lefty. Did you change the nut/bridge on it or is it an original lefty?

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