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Help whats it worth?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fuzzy beard, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Ok so here it goes. I am all ready to order my sb-90 and bam got offered a 1943 Kay by a reputable dealer! So here is where i am at. It is a awsome bass that played really well (as far as i can tell). But i have some conserns about the value of it.

    1943 Kay M1
    Reverse burst
    Neck has been replaced
    fitted bridge
    replaced tail piece no kay logo
    Origanal end pin button no rod but it has a home made bottom out style pin that puts it at good hieght for me
    nicks and scratchs some buckle rash NO MAJOR issues what so ever
    old strings
    no bag
    Fishman bp100 pickup

    What should i expect to give for such a instrument. I fell they are offering me a great deal but i really done know?
  2. What do they want, and who replaced the neck?
  3. Neck was replaced by Cincinnati bass cellar about 10 years ago.
  4. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    If I was looking and found one which I would describe as "an awesome bass which plays really well", I would get it.

    Disclaimer; This doesn't always result in the most logical decision, or the most financially sound decision. :)
  5. gprigge


    Dec 19, 2007
    Rice Lake, Wis.
    I recently sold a good 1949 blond M-1 Kay in Wisconsin for $1,400. It was a good bass, some sinking of the top plate at the F-holes but nothing shocking. Original neck had been reset. Had great tone.
  6. PM replied. Cincy Bass Cellar is good news.
  7. Sure dont see prices like that around here. Never seen a kay in this area for less than 2000.
  8. People ASK big bucks for Kay's all the time. Some goofball in Texas is asking $5k for a late model, bottom of the barrel Kay. What they GET is a different story. Mine went for $750.
  9. Point taken.
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    I get asked this almost every day of the year. Value estimates tend to get frowned upon around talkbass.

    In direct response to the original question, if you use the following link as a rough formula:


    1943 Kay M1 :$3k top value
    Reverse burst
    Neck has been replaced :25% less = approx. $2250
    fitted bridge
    replaced tail piece no kay logo : $15o less= $2100
    Origanal end pin button no rod but it has a home made bottom out style pin that puts it at good hieght for me: In an ideal world, I'd rather have a nice modern endpin, but I'll use $50 off as about what you can find a complete original for on Ebay. Some will claim less, but I want to keep an original 1943, not a new copy.: now we're down to $2050
    nicks and scratchs some buckle rash NO MAJOR issues what so ever
    old strings: $175 decrease
    no bag
    Fishman bp100 pickup ( throw this in the garbage and get a real pickup....)

    All that puts a realistic price on this functional, but non-original old Kay bass at $1875, if everything else is good. I didn't comment on the finish because some markets are uptight about clean original finishes, but my market tends to get a better price for some nice vintage wear and mojo to the finish. Missing scroll "curly -Qs" tend to be a badge of honor in these parts, not a cosmetic downgrade. Bottom feeders will whine about every item I downgraded, but....if it isn't a top shelf original instrument with a great setup and voice, it doesn't get top shelf price!

    While you are at it, make sure to read the section on 'What should it mean when someone claims the bass has a "great setup"

    'Hope that helps....

  11. AlcalaBass


    Jan 28, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I never understood why Kay's are priced how they are. I'd take the SB90 any day over the Kay.
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    As I've said before, the prices that old Kays demand have much to do with their value as collectible bits of no-longer-produced Americana. In terms of design and sound, I'd take a nice Shen any day.

    I recently had Upton do some work on a 1942 M-1 that I picked up. It was completely original and needed to have the neck block rebuilt. When they were finished with it, the neck block was far better than the Kay design. It went for around $3k. I was quite happy that that was the value that someone else placed on it. ;)

    Hey James-- great resource!
  13. Thanks james! I feel realy good about the price point of the bass was offered to me at with those numbers!

    Also dont know if it matters but when neck was replaced it was given a new ebony finger board. Wich i am told is a upgrade from the origanal rose wood board. Also found out the strings are Pirastro Evah Pirazzi.

    I do feel it might be worth the 100 bucks they want to make the current bridge adjustable. What do you all think?
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Do you find that the Kay plays, sounds, and feels superior to the Shen? What price did they offer it for? Yes, $100 is a good price for work on the bridge, IF we're talking about a talented double-bass luthier.
  15. I have very little experance with uprights. But my comparison to the sb-80 i played and the Padova. I would say the neck was very nice to play. Thinner than the sb-80 or padova. But thicker than the other 2 old kays they had there. As for sound i dont know if it was a fair test. Both sb-80 and padova had new strings the kay has unknown age Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings on it. I felt more volume from the kay but thought the Shen had a more defined D and G string. And didnt care for the Padova at all. The kay just seemed darker and more mellow and the shen upfront and sharp.

    Like i sad this is my observation of something i know next to nothing about!LOL
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Given that the Kay had EPs on it, it makes sense that it would sound dark and mellow. Now, put EPs on the Shen and then it'll be a more fair comparison.
  17. Shen had obglatos on it by the way.

    And padova is another Chinese brand they are very happy with. I didn't care for it my self.
  18. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    My experience is that the EPs provide far more power and depth than the Oblis. Apples and oranges. :)
  19. I have no doubt that why I said I didn't think it was a fair test.

    If you where me what would you do? Looking for first bass for folk and bluegrass.

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