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identify plz?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by thegasman, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. thegasman


    Mar 19, 2013
    hello, everyone -

    I am considering buying this bass. It would be my second DB, my original being an old plywood Kay bass that has some distinct "features" (perhaps more on that later).

    Anyways, here's what little I know about it from emails with the owner's ex-wife (!):

    -new strings
    -new bridge
    -made in Germany
    -stamped "copy Antonius Stradivarius" on inside

    I know a little bit about basses from reading this forum, but I am still a n00b and wanted to ask a few things:

    1) Can anyone identify this bass? (pics below)
    2) About what value would you attribute to it (owner asking $1,200)?
    3) Would this be any upgrade from my Kay bass (for which I paid $500)?

    As for the reasons for my purchase: I am pleased with my Kay bass, but it is (as I understand it) an introductory instrument, and doesn't play ANYTHING close to any other bass I have played in a music store. The action is super high, which prevents me from playing it for much longer than an hour. The fretboard has a distinct ridge that runs down the length of the E string, the neck has been thoroughly repaired, and the edges are chipping =D. I have learned how to get a decent sound out of her though!

    Anyways, I would like to buy an instrument that is of a higher quality than the Kay, is not a delicate flower, and is fairly versatile. I play pizz much more (arco is HARD!), and do anticipate playing outdoors.

    Can someone provide some guidance? Price range is <$5000 I am currently in Boston, MA

    thank you!

    Attached Files:

  2. Hahaha the Ratrod bass! The seller has been listing that bass unsuccessfully on ebay and multiple Craigslist sites for a year or so without success, and has gained a bit of notoriety for their erratic pricing...one day it's $1500, the next $2000. I'd take a pass. I'll PM you a couple of leads.

    As far as your Kay goes, it sounds like it would benefit from a few hundred dollars in setup work. There are a number of qualified luthiers in the Boston area. The ridge on your fingerboard is called a Rhomburg bevel; it is a holdover from the days of gut strings, which vibrate in a wider elliptical orbit than steel strings.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    There are some things that I like about this bass:

    1) Someone has written the names of the notes on the bridge next to each string. That's very considerate and can always be used to help the player get back home if they get lost while playing.
    2) It's been painted black, which makes it easy to see that:

    Things I don't like about this bass:
    3) It's not an ebony FINGERboard.
    4) It's been painted black.

    Kays can be very good basses, it sounds like yours would benefit from a setup, more than you can imagine. The bevel on E string is not that big of deal. I would put money into setup. The Kay is a more liquid investment, if you find a good bass to move to in the future, it's easier to find a buyer for it than i think it will be for this instrument. If you really want a finer instrument, take your time, save some money, play as many as possible. Get it right on the next purchase so that you don't have to do it again.

    As for Kays being "entry level", it depends on your perspective. Lots of people love them as their main instruments. I've met a few that I was quite impressed with.
  4. mooseonbass

    mooseonbass Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Like the sheriff said, there are people in the Boston area who can do wonders with your Kay. I took mine to Mark Carlsen at the Set Up Shop in Tewksbury. He took care of the bevel, did a set up, and it is now a great instrument and the price was very reasonable. He takes care of my German bass too and does a great job. There are other excellent luthiers in the area so don't give up on the Kay. Also, for that kind of money you can easily find a bass that is a huge upgrade. The Boston area probably has more basses than most places outside of New York. Feel free to PM me if you I can answer any questions.
  5. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Sole proprietor, Stand Up Guy Basses (Buy, sell, trade, and repair upright basses)
    Well, it * might * be considerate if they had written them on the TOP side of the bridge. Did you know that 78% percent of bassist's back injuries are caused by trying to read the note names from the underside of the bridge?

    At least, I think it might be 78%.

    KFS is so right, that bass has been kicking around a good long while....


    Paul (Eh_train)
  6. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    While this may be a perfectly fine bass, I'm having trouble seeing it as a step-up from a Kay. Looks to be a ply with a rosewood fingerboard, which describes most Kays.

    As KFSheriff has pointed out, the bevel on your fingerboard is intentional. Let me add that chipped edges and repaired necks are par for the course for these workhorse instruments. I'd get your Kay setup for optimal playability, and save up for a real step-up bass--perhaps a hybrid.

    On general principles, unless you're strictly rockabilly I'd steer clear of a bass that's been blanketed in a coat of paint. And I wouldn't place a whole lot of trust in a manufacturer that labels its German-style basses as "copy Antonius Stradivarius". Most experts believe Stradivarius never made a bass; if he did, it wouldn't have been a gamba.

    The labelling on the bridge is cool, though. You can lie on the floor and play with your toes!
  7. thegasman


    Mar 19, 2013
    thanks for the advice, everyone. It will be another few weeks before I can have my old Kay set up properly.

    In the meantime I'm going to check out some local shops in Boston. This is the first bass that caught my eye:


    Does anyone have any experience playing one of these? I am interested in the hybrid version (I think). Ideally I would find someone who also owns a properly set up Kay and could speak to their similarities/differences.

    To be clear, I don't intend on buying a bass until I get the Kay what she needs. Just looking for additional input.

    thank you, everyone

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