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1944 Kay Bass is an "Ugly Duckling"

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Randy Shelton, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. 1944 Kay M-1 Bass, "The Ugly Duckling"……Renamed "BOOMER"

    Here's the deal. This bass is setup well, plays and sounds like a Kay. It is just plain UGLY!

    The overall condition of the bass is wonderful with one exception. In the past someone refinished it, possibly using a chainsaw and a propane torch. It appears that the entire first layer of veneer has been sanded completely off. Yes you read it right, the face veneer is gone! The grain is butt ugly and is parallel to the floor. There are sander marks everywhere. The finish appears to have been sprayed on in a dust storm. Then wiped down with a dirty burlap sack while still tacky. Just kidding, it's not that bad.

    I have considered several options from replacing the face to painting or staining it with tinted lacquer to leaving it as is. I have the ability and know how to do any of the above but am looking for suggestions from the pros here. I am aware that the value of my 1944 Kay has been considerably reduced by some previous owners lack of care.



    Randy Shelton
  2. NickTej22


    Feb 17, 2013
    Largo FL
    "We don't make ugly bass threads here wahhhh"
  3. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I've seen MUCH worse. If it plays well and sounds good, leave it alone. If anyone makes a snarky comment, tell 'em to listen with their ears, not their eyes.
  4. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    That's character, brother - leave it! If it bothers you too bad then I'll trade you my "nicer" looking EC1 for it (as long as the tone and playability are at least comparable).
  5. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Where's the ugly bass in question again? I'll second what bssist said.. character! I'd give that bass a compliment rather than diss it.
  6. I think it looks awsome!
  7. The 1944 Kay is done. Thanks for the words and encouragement. What Salcott had to say……."Listen with your ears, not your eyes" made the most sense to me. I repaired the neck, replaced the bridge, nut, saddle, sound post, refinished the neck, pegbox and fingerboard that were painted with thick dark brown sticky paint, planed the fingerboard and installed new Spirocores. What a great bass it is now. The sound is amazing and is way better than it was pre setup and repair. I'm one happy camper!!! It's off to a bluegrass open mic tonight. It's new name is "BOOMER".
  8. mmoehring


    Jun 25, 2012
    East Texas
    Leave it leave it! I think the top is one of the most interesting Kay tops I've seen.
  9. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    I'm a little disappointed. Are you sure you wouldn't prefer something that "looks nicer"? ;)
  10. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.

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