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48' Kay C-1 glue is deteriorating...Is this unfixable?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassCanadabass, Apr 1, 2009.


  1. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Greetings Bassland,
    I recently perchased a 48' Kay C-1 that is a real fixer upper. It has gut strings, original wood stub end pin, and the fingerboard needs to be plained. The worst of it is that the glue is falling appart. I took it to a local repair guy and he said that he would not be able to take the top off on a plywood bass and if anything needed reglueing on the inside it would rattle. He said that he wouldn't be able to get inside the bass and it would always rattle. Is there anything I can do or is it junk?
    Thanks!
     
  2. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I suggest you take the bass elsewhere.
    A proper luthier should be able to take the top off a plywood bass as well as a carved bass.
     
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The guy has no idea what he's talking about. If you fill out your Profile including your location we'll be able to point you in a better direction. :)
     
  4. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    I am located in Toronto.
     
  5. ctregan

    ctregan

    Jun 25, 2007
    Syracuse N.Y.
    Is it the glue between the laminates of the top that is falling apart? If so, than it could be trouble.
     
  6. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Yes
     
  7. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Bass:

    Owning an old Kay is a lot like owning an old Volkswagon; you'll need to be a decent mechanic to own one for very long. I've had many of both and love them both. Get yourself a copy of Chuck Traeger's Book, The Setup and Repair of the Double Bass. It should help you through many or most of your current issues and will set you up for a lifetime of understanding of your bass, for less than the price of one good string.

    You can also look forward to an upcoming article later this year in American Lutherie magazine on overhauling a vintage Kay and everything you are likely to run into, written by some nerdy luthier who posts here too often and writes for them on a regular basis....

    j.
    www.condino.com
     
  8. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    My luthier has fixed that problem on basses by injecting superglue to fill the gaps between plys.
     
  9. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Did it get rid of all the buzzing? Also, was it expensive?
     
  10. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I have never had this done so I don't know the cost and this would really depend on the luthier. My luthier said it took care of the buzzes on the basses he repaired this way and that one in particular took an unbelievable amount of glue, but the bass sounded great when done.
     
  11. scotty77

    scotty77

    Jan 31, 2008
    Victoria, B.C.
    James,
    Any idea what issue that's going to be? Looking forward to it. Might have to see if they can send me a couple of copies....
    I do have Chuck's book, but it would be nice to have something specific for the Kay.
    Scott
     
  12. Mike Magee

    Mike Magee

    Apr 5, 2009
    Slippery Rock, PA
    doublebassist and luthier
    I'm a luthier and bassist and have repaired many basses over my career. Plywood basses that are delaminating can be easy or difficult to repair due to the amount of 'delaming' that is happening. If it's just near the edges ( 1-2", even the edges of the f-holes) it can usually be repaired pretty easily. My suggestion is to NOT use cyano glues ie Crazy Glue. Use good hide glue.
    If the delamination is further in from the edge there are other options.
    The suggestion to take it to another luthier is best.
     
  13. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Scotty:

    It will probably be the fall or possibly winter issue; difficult to tell. Once things get into the editorial process you never know how long it might take. I wrote and article for Fine Woodworking a few years ago that was stuck in the whirlpool for two years. (They are great folks, just don't be in a hurry...) With other publications, it can hit the streets three weeks after it gets submitted. One thing is universal, none of them are in a hurry to get the checks out, regardless of when they get the article...(AL doesn't pay for articles; they consider themselves more of a peer review journal).

    As to the original post, hide glue, hide glue, hide glue. Many Kays have a poplar layer for the inside ply and some of the middle ones. That stuff usually wants to soak up about a beer can worth of hide glue whenever you do a repair on it. I can't imagine how much CA glue it would soak up.

    Taking this bass to an experienced bass luthier is always a good idea, but....some of them seem to have a thing for Kaybashing (Kayphobes?). From the condition of it, you probably got a good deal. It is just an old beat up Kay. Learning how to fix it and using this one as your starting point will empower you as a player and teach you some great life skills; it may even set you on a new path (plywood restoration engineer...). I'd say give it a try.

    j.
     
  14. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    any other thoughts?
     
  15. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    Contact MollyKay and have a look at their website bassmonkey.net I am NOT implying that she and her husband will do this work for you, but they've got a LOT of knowledge when it comes to basket case Kays! They're very knowledgeable and VERY friendly to boot!
     
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Call around until you find a DB repairman with Kay experience - go and see him/her and get it repaired - enjoy your bass! :)
     
  17. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Thanks!
     
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There are several options to deal with de-laminating plies. But there are fewer options about who can handle it in Toronto. The obvious choices are the Sound Post and Heinl's. There are other (harder to find) options in Toronto. But don't settle for anyone who says it can't be done - it's been done on my '47 Kay.
     
  19. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Where was it done on your '47 Kay?
     
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I did it. I injected some hide glue and pressed with hot cauls.
     

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