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How long were the King line of double basses been around?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by phektus, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Somebody is selling me a quite expensive King double bass, and he claims it to be 50+ years old. It goes for $2,500++ converted from local currency. I'm not sure how accurate is that, I checked the King website and didn't find a figure. Looking at their models, endorsers and workmen I would estimate them to be not more than 5-10 years in the business.

    He even claims that it could really run for $3,000 but he admitted that he's a guitarist, and the sales pitch includes the bass being a house furniture, so it sounds fishy. I just need to get some confirmation before I call him on this, and maybe get a jaw dropping discount :bag:, but maybe after my teacher approves of it as a beginner bass.


    PS - I'm scouting for a double bass lately, so that's why I have many posts about brands and such.
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
  3. Drucocu


    Jan 24, 2007
    they're great basses, but for sure not around since 50 years! more so about 5 -10 years
  4. OK, reading that, it would really seem that there are pretty old King basses in existence. The website and the people looked too hip to me that I ruled them to be younger than what I just read. Thanks for the info, really.

    That gives me some push to really try the bass in person with my teacher. And a couple of months to get my budget in line.
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
  6. Drucocu


    Jan 24, 2007
  7. This is the one I'm talking about when I estimated the King basses based on their website. Now, I'm not sure if it's the same King bass line. Or if there more than one bass carrying the King name. I'm wondering about their differences. Now I really have to check the bass in person, maybe check of a sticker or something.
  8. mpoppitt


    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    NOT the same company. The older ones were made by the N.H. White company in Cleveland Ohio from the 30s-late 50s. The new Kings are rockabilly oriented basses made out in California (the 'Slapkings' are from china).
  9. Right on. I have a restored King from the 30's that's a real gem. Nothing to do with the rockabilly Kings of today. I paid around $2500. It was beautifully restored by Henry Boehm of the Double Bass workshop in Madison, including fixing a broken neck, new finger board, bridge, nut, and endpin .
  10. Cool. So there is the 'old' King and the 'new' one. I'm hoping I can get a quick look at the bass to see if it's the old version. Owner says only a sticker makes it a King bass and he has no other documentation aside from that. I'll post it here when it becomes available.
  11. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    History detectives time . . .

    I'm curious as to how the "new" King folks acquired the rights to use the King name on their basses. My research indicates that, when the H.N. White family sold the business that would become King Musical Instruments (now part of Conn-Selmer), the rights to the use of the King (Moretone) and American Standard Bass lines were sold to Kay Musical Instrument Company. Kay, in turn, was going through a series of corporate re-structuring, which resulted in the company going out of business in 1969 and Kay's bass/cello assets being sold to Englehardt-Link. What's lost in all this is what happened to the rights to the King and ASB names. It should be noted that Kay, while holding those rights, never made any basses under the King/AS name (so far as I can tell).

    Arnold Schnitzer currently makes basses based on the old American Standard/King models but uses the name New Standard.

    Ah, what's in a name??
  12. mattfong


    Jan 14, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Ask for pictures? You should be able to tell if its the new ones or the old ones.

    If it's a new one, its probably got a sparkly finish :p
  13. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Looks like one of the older Kings to me(HN white) although I've never seen one without the original plates and tuners. The scroll kind of threw me off. Looking at the King data base page, it looks like one of the later period ones with the extra-large F holes, like my Standard. The early 30's ones evidently were made in Europe and had smaller ff's among other tale-tell signs. The bass seemed to be well cared for by evidence of the rib linings added on, unless that's a later thing, looks good nontheless. You can view the King bass page done by Kip Martin for comparison:


    or visit the HN White website for more info:

    http://www.hnwhite.com/string page.htm


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