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Got a Kay in an unexpected way...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bpclark, Dec 28, 2005.


  1. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    I was minding my own business today when my cousin shows up and gives me a Kay bass complete with wooden mute and some kind of wooden bow. My aunt had gotten this bass for my cousin from a school that was disposing of old student instruments. Since my cousin is really a cello player and didn't play it much, it has been sitting in the corner of a room in my aunt's house for probably ten years or so. There was a huge cloud of dust when I took the cover off of it.

    My aunt told me that she had this bass last summer and that I could have it since she didn't use it, but she didn't know what kind it was. I figured it was going to be a near unplayable completely beat up instrument and I didn't really think she was serious because she never gets rid of anything. Wrong on both counts. It is beat up and needs some work, but it plays really well and sounds much better than my Engelhardt of the same model (C1). Based on the serial number, the bass was made sometime in the middle of 1954.

    Kind of completes my Christmas. The next best present I got was pajamas.

    Brett
     
  2. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    nice! clean it up and post pics!
     
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Of the bass...
     
  4. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Sorry the picture isn't too good. I don't have a digital camera so I used the photo feature on my camcorder, which obviously isn't too good.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    NYC
    What kind of Fingerboard is that....? Birdseye?
     
  6. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    According to kaybass.com, the bass's fingerboard should be Hard Maple. The same material was used for the tailpiece. It's a darker color than what the picture shows. The odd thing is there are black marks in places that don't look natural to the grain of the wood. I'm wondering if the fingerboard was ebonized at some point or whether it's just dirt that embedded in the wood.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    For a 50s Kay? I had an early 60s M-1, the fingerboard was Brazilian rosewood. I thought they didn't start using "ebonized" hardwoods until the cheap corporate days?
     
  8. dvmweb

    dvmweb

    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    :)

    Cool. Isn't it great that every once in a while something nice and unexpected happens. Good Luck with your new bass. Keep us updated.

    Happy New Year;
    Walt MI/US
     
  9. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I once had a C-1 c.1950 with a painted fingerboard. The M-1 probably was a more upgraded model. Could be a light rosewood though to match the tailpiece. Good way to end the year, with a free Kay. Enjoy.

    Ike
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Ayup. Nothing like a free bass.

    Wait, that didn't come out quite right...
     
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'd heard that the maple fingerboards were a WWII thing.
     
  12. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    My first thought when I saw it was "wow, rosewood", but then I didn't think the color was quite right. I really don't know my woods, though. I'm gonna get it to my friendly neighborhood luthier soon for an evaluation and repairs that are needed (not a completely free bass). I'm sure he can sort it out for me. And then I'll report back.
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I wouldsay "There's no free bass", but that wouldn't sound quite right either...
     
  14. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Dropped off the Kay at the Cincinnati Bass Cellar today and for those who were interested the fingerboard is .... maple. And hooray, no nasty suprises as far as the condition goes, mostly good news as a matter of fact. The bridge is salvagable, getting a used Gotz endpin to replace the thing that was in it, the top needs glued back to the side in one spot, and they'll be putting varnish on the chipped edges so the lamination won't separate. The only disappointment is that I can't have the fingerboard profiled the way I would like as it would take off too much material. I was very happy to learn that the repairs would cost less than I expecting. So much so that I left my Engel there to get it's fingerboard worked on as well.

    The work should be done in about a week. In the meantime, they gave me a loaner they call "Big Red". It's kind of an interesting bass in it's own right. Carved, flatback with reddish varnish and it looks like it's being held together solely by willpower (actually it's epoxy). I've been warned that it could "explode" at any time.
     
  15. I'd like to see a pic of 'Red'. :)
     
  16. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Use this link Big Red Pics
     
  17. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Ah, that's a lovely thing when serandipity comes along like that. Sounds like it should be a standard...

    "Got a Kay,
    in an unexpected way..."

    wasn't that Mel Torme?
     
  18. bpclark

    bpclark

    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Picked up my Kay from the Bass Cellar today and whoo hoo!!! Kudos to Chris for the job well done. She needs new strings yet, but it is sure nice to have back.

    Sidenote: I had all sorts of intonation problems (beyond my regular ones) with the loaner "Big Red," so I figured maybe they were different string lengths. I measured the Kay tonight and the string length is just shy of 42", vs. 41" for "Not-So-Big-After-All Red". I guess I can look forward to another week of intonation adventures as I transition back to the longer scale.