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An old kay bass from the forties. should i buy?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by JoeFern, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. JoeFern


    Mar 15, 2009
    well ive been on a search for a cheap and durable upright bass to start learning on for a few months now and at a local shop i found this:

    its a kay bass from the forties and its obviously been through alot of gigs and has scars all over the woodwork. its been repaired many times, most recently its been almost entirely reworked by the guy whos selling it. the sound is great to me and though the action was a little high, the dealer had fitted it with an adjustable bridge, so i figure i can just lower it a tad.

    The price is 950 including a bow and gig bag and i frankly couldnt find anything wrong with the whole thing.

    what pitfalls/problems should i look for in an old kay bass like this one?
    Is this as good a deal as it seems?
  2. Joe,

    If at all possible, I would try to arrange for a good bass luthier to check it out before you buy. At that price it could be a steal. But if it has issues that will require costly repairs, the bass could end up costing you a lot more.

    One thing to look at is the neck. Many old Kays have broken necks. Some are expertly repaired, some not so.

    Good luck.
  3. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Kays in good shape regularly sell for 2500-3500 bucks, so if it's in playable shape and sounds good I would go for it.

    Finding even a beat-up Kay for anything close to that price is unheard of in my area.

    If you can afford to, having the bass looked at is a good idea, but just try and find a luthier you can trust first.
  4. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    "If at all possible, I would try to arrange for a good bass luthier to check it out before you buy."


    You should also be aware that delamination is not uncommon in vintage Kays and can be quite expensive to fix.
    Good luck with it!
  5. JoeFern


    Mar 15, 2009
    well see, the difficulty is that this guy is a retired luthier and hes got the best reputation in my area as a school instrument/beginner instrument provider. so actually it was repaired BY a luthier before being sold lol
  6. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Sounds like you've already made up your mind.
  7. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    Sounds like you found a great deal if the neck is uninjured.

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