1st URB....Engelhardt vs. Kay

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by stgmnobpf, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. stgmnobpf


    Aug 12, 2001
    I'm looking for my first URB after ca. 30 years of EBG. My interest is in bluegrass and old-time (espc. Appalacian) music.

    What are the relative merits of Engelhardt and Kay basses? Is the C-1 the instrument of choice for these genre? ...or the M-1, or S-9, etc...

    What are the most common mallidies of well used Kays? Are Engelhardt replacement necks (or other parts) on Kays ill advised (or even possible)?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.:)
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Any of the Engelhardts would be suitable for bluegrass, blues, etc.; the differences between the models revolve around maple, rosewood, and ebony fixtures (fingerboard) and different grades of wood, mostly selected for appearance, as you move up the model line. See http://www.bobthebassguy.com/engelhardt.html for details on each.

    I've seen some pretty poor Kays of late that still command heavy prices- just because it is a Kay doesn't automatically make it a great bass; you have to be careful since repairs can be expensive. However, some old Kays can be quite a catch and be great sounding basses.

    Things to look for are poor repairs (amateur, out of whack neck joints, etc.), a loose bass bar, etc. Your best bet is to have someone who knows basses check any prospects out.

    Engelhardt or other replacement parts in a Kay shouldn't automatically disqualify it; there stuff is good quality.

    Hope this helps.
  3. stgmnobpf


    Aug 12, 2001
    Thanks, Bob.

    I think I'll leave the vintage bass shopping for those who know the subject. Someday I'll probably have a 'vintage Englehardt'.
  4. bobaloo


    Aug 26, 2001
    Newport News, Va.
    A little history: Kay went out of business in the 60's and Englehardt supposedly bought out all the molds, eqpt. etc. and made what is essentially a Kay copy. Roger Stowers has an excellent website on this. I tried some new Englehardts a couple of years ago and they were HORRIBLE! JUNK!! I found an old Kay that needed some work and still came out about the same price but with a good bluegrass bass. Keep Bluegrassin!
  5. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's all in the setup. When I bought my M-1, I tried too M-1s at different shops in Chicago. One was unplayable, the other sounded great. The difference was the setup work done at the shop.

  6. Hankie


    May 19, 2001
    Engelhardts are really good basses to use for bluegrass or any style music you play. I have a EM-1. I had it set-up to my liking.... I love it. I also have a 51 Kay, C-1 .I have it set up just like the EM-1 and it sounds warmer because of it's age maybe??? I played as many Engelhardts as I could before I picked my EM-1. The construction ,the necks and woods used for the plys, for the tops and backs are all the same quality. the only differance between the ES-9 and the EM-1 are the finish and the ebony fittings vs Rosewood , they are the same bass in the production line. D
  7. larryj904


    Aug 3, 2007
    with a biesele pickup--i'm told it is 1/2 size?-- did they make 1/2 size and what is a fair price for it--thanks
  8. larryj904 - grab a flashlight & look inside through the "f"-hole at the label which should give you a model number as well as a serial number . . . take that info to: http://www.kaybass.com which should provide an answer(s) for ya . . .
  9. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I love my EM-1.... plays and sounds as good as I can make it sound (I've only just started URB after 27 years on electric!)
  10. ctcruiser


    Jan 16, 2005
    West Haven, CT
    I have an ES-1 that I bought in 2005 and I think it sounds better than some of the Kays I have played in my luthier's shop. I guessed I lucked out!

    Like everyone says on this board, you have to play the instrument before buying it. Don't buy on name alone.

    Good luck!
  11. mefloyd


    Jul 31, 2007
    Saint John, NB
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    try that!

    Mine came way of another TBer bought from Bob in 2005.