I think I’m in love with old Kay’s.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by armybass, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. armybass


    Jul 19, 2001
    Got my first Kay recently after decades of on and off playing. Well I like it so much that I’m thinking of selling my nice European hybrid and getting another Kay. I e always wanted a blond Kay and I’ve found one. Bad thing is I know how I am with hoarding and collecting things. This could get dicey really quick lol.
  2. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    Everyone plays Kay's where I live. I've never heard a bad one. I play an Englehart but I'm on the lookout for a Kay
    Keith Rawlings and armybass like this.
  3. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    What is it about the kay that you love?
    I learned how to play upright bass on a Kay and then I bought a Shen SB90. Same as the SB80 but a blond plywood bass. Immediately I noticed the difference in playability and felt buyers remorse. But it was bought and the other bass went back to its owner. The Kay also had a Romberg bevel. It took a while but I get along fine now with the Shen. A short time ago, I found an Englehardt bass and bought it. Having the two basses I thought would allow me to play both and really find the best instrument for me. I still thought that I was missing something. Well the Engelhardt wasn't set up with an adjustable bridge and I wasn't prepared to spend more money so in the end, I couldn't get on with it. But I'll tell you the truth. That old Kay did play real nice!

    *****BTW. I know an Engelhardt isn't an 'Old Kay' but just for reference I can maybe tell this story.*****
    armybass likes this.
  4. armybass


    Jul 19, 2001
    The sound and the playability but mostly the playability. I found th bass in a poor state and not very playable. I took it to the Bass Violin Shop in NC and put a considerable sum into having it set up and restored. Now it sounds and plays better than any bass I’ve ever owned. Ironically I too have a new Shen SB90 and I love that bass. I purchased it from the same shop and it also has their set up. I have also had a few Englehardts but never had one with this good of a setup and also with my particular favorite strings. I’d like to find a nice Englehardt ES9 too.

    For the music I play and on the level I play and considering my age (50). I don’t think a carved bass is anything I’ll have a need for in the playing time I have left. So the cool old Kay’s will do me fine along with my Shen and a future Englehardt. :)
  5. armybass


    Jul 19, 2001

    Nothing wrong with a well setup and upgraded Englehardt. I’m on the hunt for an ES9 as well.
    dhergert likes this.
  6. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Great thread.

    I'd only add from my experience, if it's a solidly reliable and well-setup double bass, like with any other good first instrument, that first double bass will probably always hold a special place in a person's memory.

    Also from my own experience (this shared by a large number of my musical friends), it isn't unusual for the acquisition obsession to bring a person back to the same point, decades later.
    armybass likes this.
  7. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I absolutely love my Englehardt and it's always going to be my number one. To my ears, my Englehardt sounds more tight and punchy while most Kay's sound more big and pillowy. I'm am totally satisfied with the Englehardt, but it couldn't hurt to have both :)
    armybass likes this.
  8. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    ‘46 m1 here, sporting a Condino removable neck. Also have a Romanian carved bass, and while the carved is certainly what I’d use if I were in an orchestra, it essentially plays backup to the Kay for my purposes. Kinda like the difference between Pavarotti and Muddy Waters... “better” is often simply a matter of taste. Plus the Kay is durable enough for any kind of outdoor gigs and adverse conditions.. and of course it looks cool too :)
    armybass and dhergert like this.
  9. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Do it. Don’t come to talkbass to be talked out of buying gear. I’m doing this with an electric right now...
    armybass likes this.