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Help? Kay Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jimmy Bones, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Hey guys.

    So, I managed to find someone who has a Kay bass for sale, $1000. He says, and I quote, "It needs fret work." I don't notice any frets, honestly, so not sure what he means.

    Anywho, I'd like to know what you guys think of Kay Basses, and this one in particular - whether or not I ought to try to make an offer on it or forget about it.

    Attached are the photos he sent me. I want your opinions before I go see it physically.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Actually, couldn't attach them all, too big. Gimme a few to get them on photobucket.
  3. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Ok, here we go:

  4. TPugh


    Apr 8, 2006
    Jackson TN
    If you do a search for Kay's, your gonna get a truckload of opinions. I'll give you mine on this particular bass.

    Unless I'm seeing it wrong, it appears to have a neck repair that is pretty common with old Kay's. Have someone who is experienced with these instruments check it over real good. Have them look at that repair and the fingerboard that was referenced (I think). If they give you the thumbs up and if you like how it plays and sounds, then $1000 for an old Kay ain't too bad a deal at all IMO. Heck, for that matter, offer him less. Long term, if you don't want to keep it, you'll likely get your money back and then some.

    Also, that bass has plain gut strings on it. Keep in mind that it would likely sound different with a different type of strings. I'm not saying in a good or bad way. Just different. You may prefer plain guts.

    Check the label on the inside and make note of the serial number. Someone on here can date it for you. I had one that looked similar that was made in 1940. I sold it for much more than $1000. At the time, I thought I was nearly giving it away.

    Good luck,
  5. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Thanks a lot. I know literally nothing about double basses, so anythin you have to say on the matter is my basis of knowledge.
  6. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Is that a blonde "Orchestra" model? Not too many blonde gamba Kays out there.

    Honestly, it's worth the grand even if it needs work, IMO. Just figure that it'll need a fingerboard planing and be ready to pay for that also.

    I am hoping some day to find a nice Kay that I can actually afford. I missed one last year being practically given away ($300!) and am still bummed out.

    With prices on good to excellent Kays running well into the $3000s nowdays, if you can get a good deal on one in good shape with no major issues I would snatch it.
  7. TPugh


    Apr 8, 2006
    Jackson TN
    FWIW, the one I had was labeled a C-1. Number 6620. It was almost the same shade as this one, maybe a tad darker. Mine didn't have purfling either. I miss that bass.

  8. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings, Aguilar Amplifiers
    Even if it needs work, it's probably a good deal. I imagine that there are fewer Kays to be found in Hawaii than you might find elsewhere. That could make it a better deal yet. As another poster mentioned, even if you don't keep it, you'll have little trouble selling it for more if you get any issues taken care of. Get it checked out for sure, but if you think you want it jump on it. Best of luck with it if you do.
  9. tomersg


    Aug 6, 2007
    check this site
    lot of info and serial/date
    this blond finish look awesome!
    i have 63 Kay myself. i bought it for much less then 1000$..
    nice bass but i'm not playing upright professionally. i have spirocores on it. i wonder how it would sound with guts.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    He means that he's an idiot.

    Looks like a nice C-1.
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    That looks pretty nice, Jimmy... see if you can lowball him.... right before his rent comes due.
  12. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have an '38 Orchestral Model Kay.. good ol' gamba blonde, sn 3033. Mine was in worse shape when I got it (neck had to be replaced). Like the others said, have it looked over by a quality luthier (specializing in basses, of course). Fingerboard planing, a new bridge and basic set up would run you some extra bread, but you'd still be getting a good deal.
  13. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Well, we'll see what happens. I don't have an extra grand lying about just yet, so I'm gonna have to figure out what I can pawn off to pull it together.
  14. ctregan


    Jun 25, 2007
    Syracuse N.Y.
    The bass looks like it was in a time capsule. Original stand, tailpiece, and the old gut strings. Good deal at $1000.
  15. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    I agree. That looks like a heck of a deal for $1k. The only thing unusual about it is the fingerboard was changed out, and why they didn't use ebony is anybody's guess. What is that, ash?
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I had a Kay M-1 that had a rosewood fingerboard, most of'em did. What makes you say the fingerboard was "changed out"?
  17. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Buy it.
  18. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    I said it just because the FB is not ebony. I guess I haven't seen enough Kays in my life. I didn't realize they made em with rosewood FBs.
  19. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    I had an O-100 with a rosewood board but it was darker than the one pictured - much the same as the Brazilian rosewood being almost black on many of the pre-CBS Fender slabs - if one had oiled it, it could probably fool people into thinking it was ebony.
  20. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Buy it.

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