Help! Too good to be true Kay bass??

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mordechai, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. mordechai


    Dec 8, 2007
    *craigslist link deleted*

    Seller seems to know very little and all he could tell me is that it's a full size. I'm a bass guitarist looking for my first upright...
  2. Hi.

    Even in this economy, for that price I'd snag it as quickly as possible.
    If it's still there that is ;).

    No matter what the brand, You'll recoup your investment if you decided a DB is not for you after all.
    Even CCB's tend to cost more.

  3. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    buy buy buy
  4. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    not full size, 3/4,
    50s emblem, superficially looks good nick. Can never tell if its going to need major work, but $300 is not a bad start price for a rotting carcass of a Kay, pretty much...
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Pretty hard to lose money on a complete and playable Kay at that price.
  6. Agreed.
  7. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
  8. mordechai


    Dec 8, 2007
    Just picked it up. I'm giddy, I can't believe it actually happened. It's a Kay S-8, Serial number 19629. Looks like that makes it a '49?

    Man I don't even know what to do with myself. I'm going out of town for a couple days, but when I get back I'll get some glamour shots up here.

    Any interesting history on the S-8?
  9. Wow, that was fast! Congrats! Since the seller removed the listing, I'll be checking back for pics.
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    A '49 S-8 - Nice!

    I just finished restoring a '52 Kay S-8 and it has turned out very nicely. ;)
  11. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    Yes. Pics please.
  12. mordechai


    Dec 8, 2007
    Ok who am I kidding, I have nothing better to do than post pics right now. It's too late to play, and the screw to loosen the end pin is stuck.

    Here are a couple pictures and a link to the album. Just moved to a new home, hard to find a well lit spot without clutter right now! I have some questions below the pictures as well.

    IMG_0958_zps13231010. Kay S-8

    I should make clear that I've never owned an upright bass or violin family instrument. I've been a bass guitarist for about 15 years. I've also built a few electric basses and guitars and one acoustic guitar.

    The bridge looks kind of curved. Does this need attention?

    I also noticed the sound post is placed a few inches behind the bridge, closer to the bottom of the instrument. I always *assumed* it was placed directly under the bridge. Enlighten me?

    My plan to unstick the endpin set screw is to gently torque it with some pliers, being careful not to slam into anything. Maybe a little 3-in-1 or even WD40 to help it along? Anything to watch out for here?

    The strings have red silk at the ball end and kind of a gold at the tuning end. Any idea what they could be?

    Thanks for all your help guys, I'm guessing I'll be on this side of the board a little more now. I own Rufus Reid's The Evolving Bassist, so I plan to spend some time with that once I get set up.
  13. Fantastic grab. Congratulations. That bass could be worth ten times what you paid for it.

    The bridge is supposed to be curved on the top plane and flat on the back plane. Looks ok to me. Maybe a little thick at the top. No big deal.

    The soundpost should be 3/4" or so below the bridge foot and roughly in line with the center of the foot. If you don't know any good setup people in Maine, I know a few good people within a day's drive.

    The endpin was garbage when it was new, and now it's rusted to hell. Toss it. I like Ulsa endpins. The last one I bought was $89 installed.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm not a luthier, but... the bridge looks correct. It's not supposed to be symmetrical front to back. The apparent curvature should be carved in, and will help keep the bridge from creeping forward over time.

    A few inches below the bridge for the sound post may be too far, or maybe the bridge is sitting too far north.

    If you apply any kind of lube to get the endpin unstuck, make sure it doesn't creep into the wood. Use sparingly.

    It's been said many times, but worth repeating, that a few lessons will get you headed in the right direction towards years of playing without wrecking your body.

    Edit: I'd go with KFS on the endpin, though you might as well get it functioning. It has no notches, so it could slip, which can do a lot of damage.
  15. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    What an incredible find! I didn't think deals like this still existed in the days of the Internet. Congrats, Mordechai.
  16. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    Strings look like Spirocore Solos. Keep them. Good score!

    And you got a bag and a pickup too...
  17. crgaston


    Dec 23, 2005
    Chattanooga, TN
    Man, this is the best deal I have seen EVER. You could spend two grand on fixing this baby up and still come out good. Welcome to the world of Moving Big Air. Find some folks to play with who hate amplifiers... should be plenty of them near Portland. Come springtime, you could be playing all over the county fair scene. My family owns some land on the Saco in Brownfield. I'll be sure to look you up if I make it up there this summer!
  18. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62 Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    You, my friend, scored big time. Just a few hundred bucks investment and you will have a killer bass! As others have mentioned, I would get a new endpin (have a luthier help you install it if you're not comfortable re-routing the end-pin hole). I also highly recommend the Fishman Full Circle pickup. Looks like you have an older Fishman on there, but the new one is SOOOO much better; very full, round tone that doesn't require much EQ tweaking at all to sound great.

    I also found an old Kay several years ago for around $200 , but the neck had been snapped and it did require some extensive repair. I have never regretted it, and it has been a fantastic instrument. Again, congrats on a once-in-a-lifetime find!
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Very nice! As others have said, the bridge is okay except that its in the wrong place. Move it down to where its centred on the inner F-hole nicks.

    The endpin will have indents when you get it further out but you'd be better off with an Ulsa, as the GRASSHOPPER suggested. They work better and sound better, too.

    You'll need a bass luthier to install it, as it requires reaming out the endpin hole to fit the tapered plug and the Kay uses a straight-sided hole.
  20. Epidrake


    May 24, 2011
    Wow, just wow. Congratulations