1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

D-flat neck, '56 Kay

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Steve Freides, Apr 3, 2018.


Tags:
  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    OK, so if you search on Db, you also get DB. :(

    Anyone have experience or an explanation for a Db neck on a 1956 Kay? The bass belongs to a friend and colleague for whom I'm subbing, and it's just odd. My theory, based on my admittedly meager knowledge of these things, is that the bass is old enough that it might have had some 43" or longer scale length and, at some point, someone reset the neck and/or chopped it down somehow. I haven't, and likely won't, have a chance to examine the bass closely because it's in the orchestra "pit" but could investigate once the show's run is over in a few weeks.

    One other Kay question, since I don't own one and never have - every Kay I've run across has a flatter neck profile than I'm used to, and as a result, the bridge isn't as curved as I'm used to, and as a result, it's a little harder to bow just one string. It's by no means impossible and I adjust in a few minutes, but I'm still curious to know if my small sample size is representative. The one I'm playing for this show has a non-ebony fingerboard - rosewood, I'm assuming/guessing.

    Thanks in advance.

    -S-
     
  2. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Kay bass necks were cut to uniform specs throughout the production years, so a longer neck would have to be a non-Kay, non-Englehardt replacement. Can you share photos and a serial number? I'll check it against the database.
     
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I'll try to get that information, will post here again when I have it.

    -S-
     
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    (Kay Bass 1954)
    M-1-B 36088

    Label (M-1-B 36088)

    M1 is model, B = blond, says my friend

    -S-
     
  5. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Your friend is correct. This is from 2000, when it was registered. It's not really detailed enough to determine whether the neck was replaced, but I see no indication in that direction either. Current, detailed photos will help.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Kay necks are indeed thinner than the current orchestral standard. They were built to MENC standards (Music Educators National Conference, now National Association for Music Education) for students, so smaller average hand size may have been a factor. That said, I've found that neck depth including fingerboard varies somewhat, as more expensive models tend to have thicker fingerboards. The M-1/M-1B was the flagship model. I've seen quite a few with fingerboard shims to address the thickness issue for many players. Many others comment that they prefer a thinner neck.
     
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I said that the wrong way. I had, indeed, noticed the thinner neck, but what I meant to ask about was what I guess is the nominal radius of the fingerboard - it's flatter, less curved, than I'm used to. The thinner neck is, for me, noticeable but not objectionable. But since I grew up a guitar player and generally feel less at ease with things bow-related than I do with my left hand, the closer tolerance to for being to bow just one string is both noticeable and a little objectionable although not a show-stopper.

    -S-
     
  8. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The fingerboard radius was also standard from the factory, and it being flatter is probably consistent with lower cost of production. There's enough meat on the rosewood and ebony fingerboards to plane them rounder, but I don't see a lot of that happening.

    What show are you doing? I'm working with a road company doing Forever Plaid in a couple of weeks.
     
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Guys and Dolls for the local community college theater department. A decade or so ago, I taught there and my wife was MD for these things but haven't been around in a while, and also haven't played a show since then - I'm having a good time!

    -S-
     
  10. Looks to me like the bridge is riding a little forward on the table. Don't know if that would make the neck a D-flat though.
     
    VictorW126 likes this.
  11. It seemed to me the same.
     
  12. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    The bass has been worked on, and I assume any error in bridge placement was corrected, but I'll look when I see it next, tomorrow night. Thanks for the thought.

    -S-
     

Share This Page