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Engelhardt/Kay are no more :-(

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by DoghouseKyle, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. DoghouseKyle


    Mar 1, 2019
    Wow - end of a great era, per Gollihur newsletter. Out of business, sure hate to hear this...
  2. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Can you link it here or share the article?
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  3. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    Yes - I would like to read it. It’s a sad day for sure.
  4. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    It’s a good newsletter. Signing up is painless.:):)

  5. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    'Calling it honest: it should not be any surprise. For years they have been slowly circling the drain, no matter how much positive support, feedback, and suggestions for improving their products were sent. I found them pretty much impossible to deal with and when they did get something here, it was almost shamefully unprofessional junk. Any manufacturer can only rely on same old same old philosophy for so long before they become a memory.

    I tried for ten years to get them to offer me the option of buying the original tooling and jigs to carry on the tradition of restoration with the original factory molds. All I got was crickets from their end, so I moved on and made up my own using modern digital technology that likely far exceeds the tolerances on the worn out originals.

    I'd almost guarantee that some corporate entity will resurrect the old Kay brand with Cheap Chinese bass shaped object manufacturing and bottom feeder quality before long.

    That said, I wish Tom and crew the best in their next adventures or retirement.
  6. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The unverified reports name Upton Bass as the buyer, which leads to some interesting possibilities. I think we should be open to the idea that good things will come of the change.

    From the info we've been able to gather it's never been clear to anyone, including Kay employees who continued working for Englehardt-Link, exactly why Bob Englehardt and Allen Link chose that particular piece to save and continue when their company went down. Neither they nor Tom Link would ever talk openly about what happened before, and it's got to be an interesting story. That they were able to make a 50-year run of it, with designs and methods essentially unchanged for over 80 years, is remarkable to me, whatever you think of the products.
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    As someone who doesn't have one, but has a lot of friends who do, I would find it at least a little promising if Upton were to acquire the names involved and whatever legacy equipment is still around... And esoecially if they were to commit to pick up support and supplies in a professional manner. Not that James and Steven and whoever else is doing excellent boutique work on these old basses couldn't handle that level of support, but just to have some large-company commitment and financing behind some of the more difficult to find parts.

    And, to be honest, I really wish Alcoa's aluminum musical instrument production had lasted this long. But perhaps the time for that ended appropriately in late '34. Oh well.
    unbrokenchain and 210superair like this.
  8. 210superair


    Sep 10, 2019
    Well that's interesting. I'm not much for holding on to brands just because personally, but it would be nice to see something good happen with it. I've seen companies in other areas get sold to see their product become Walmart junk (Mongoose bicycles is a good example), and others that they take the name and build a really great product around it. Hopefully Upton is involved and something good will come out of it.

    I'll go home after work and give my Kay a big hug, and we'll have a shot of whiskey each for the wake. I suppose I'll have to drink the one for my bass too, but I'm willing to do that, anything as long as she feels better. #fatheroftheyear And my Eastman will roll its eyes and be like (I hate that Kay....I play better anyway...)
  9. DoghouseKyle


    Mar 1, 2019
    Screen shot of newsletter section attached. Real bummed to find this out, as an Engelhardt owner :-(

    Attached Files:

  10. DoghouseKyle


    Mar 1, 2019
    Interesting to hear of Upton rumors. I hope that’s the case (Kayse? ;-).. Don’t know where ea company is located or if they are in proximity to ea other, but i hope it’s promising news. You guys seem to know more about the company than i do - mine’s an ‘83... wondering what y’all think of that era for their build quality & playability? Mine’s a tank, heavier than my Christopher, but has nowhere near the boom & thud of old Kays. Have considered parting w it for that reason... but she has been Old Faithful, & recently blew over from its stand via wind gust @ outdoor gig, face-planted, & was back in service in minutes
  11. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    C'est la vie.. I'd think the street value of a used Englehardt just went up though..

    The biggest reason why we love ply basses :D And why being able to get replacement parts is a big part of the reliability-draw of Kay/Engle. Whether there are new basses made in that pattern or not I don't really have an opinion, but I do hope that someone picks up making replacement parts.. maybe better ones. @james condino did you ever make any of those spruce-ply replacement tops you mentioned a while back?
    dhergert and 210superair like this.
  12. I remember watching the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood segment taped at the Link factory and thinking that those rib forming jigs were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Upton has been an advocate for laminated ribs, even on carved instruments. Wouldn't be surprised to see new UB carved models with laminated ribs based on those Link forms. It'll be interesting to see what transpires.
  13. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    From all of us at CSC Products and Shen Musical Instruments, congratulations to Tom Link and his crew for their many years of success, giving players young and old a vehicle for musical expression. You are a true musical icon. Enjoy your retirement!
    JKos, rickwolff, Matt Ides and 12 others like this.
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Just stumbled across this thread while looking about for Engle info. Sad to hear it.

    Just got my '96 EC1 back this week from a year-plus loan to a friend of mine. I know they get almost no respect around here, but I've had this one for near 20 years now and aside from a full setup and dressing immediately after I got it, it has required no maintenance or repair of any kind. Sounds good enough for the country and folk stuff I've periodically used it for and not bad with a bow either.

    For me, there's real value in a no-frills upright that does what I need to and can be set aside for long periods of time without worrying about humidity and such.

    I hope some Upton or someone keeps it up. Would be a shame to loose this particular niche of an affordable USA plywood bass.
  15. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    I don't know if there are any facts behind these comments, but it seems to me that no matter what becomes of EngLink, Upton has already established a solid brand with American made ply basses of superior quality.
    james condino and Keith Rawlings like this.
  16. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    You'll get no argument from me about Upton quality, However, starting at $2500, they're not exactly hitting the same price point as Engels.
  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    I have I huge collection of all the original internal company documents form 1928-1934 and can tell you privately exactly why they stopped building the ALCOAs if you want to chat it up one day.;)
    Keith Rawlings, dhergert and Inky13 like this.
  18. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    My first bass was an Engel and was a great entry point to start playing DB.
    WillieB likes this.
  19. I phoned Engelhardt -Link many years ago when I was re-furbishing a 1949 Kay and needed a couple of peghead volutes. Tom Link answered the phone and said he would put the volutes in an envelope and send them to me. When I asked him how much I owed him he told me to wait until i got them and send him something. Can't remember how much I sent him but I'll always remember his easy going approach.:)
    Winoman and AGCurry like this.
  20. Englehardt is very much alive and well in Elk Grove Ill. At least that is what the local dealer told me. :thumbsup:

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