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Is this bass a Kay?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tornadobass, Dec 2, 2019 at 2:23 PM.


  1. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I have a chance to buy a blond laminated bass at a good price. No name on it anywhere I can find. The biggest clue is a stamp on the back on the E side f-hole...it says M1 22800.

    I'm posting some photos of the more unusual features that might also help. Thanks for your best guesses. Do some photos show particularly Kay-like details?

    IMG_0088.jpg IMG_0089.jpg IMG_0090.jpg IMG_0091.jpg IMG_0092.jpg IMG_0094.jpg IMG_0097.jpg IMG_0098.jpg IMG_0100.jpg IMG_0095.jpg
     
  2. Looks like an Epiphone...is there a serial # at the end of the fingerboard?
     
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Yes. 1950 model M1
     
  4. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Thanks, James...which are the best clues?
     
  5. The model and serial number stamped in the body.
     
  6. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Also the partly carved, partly glued-on volutes (the turns on the scroll).
     
  7. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Yes, it's a '50 Kay M-1B, built for OEM sale under another brand (hence no badging), likely Gretsch. With no label the easy identifiers are the routed pegbox and kerfed liner.
     
    Winoman and unbrokenchain like this.
  8. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    When you look at old Kays every day (and a whole lot of other cool old basses), almost every picture posted makes it easy to identify.
     
    rknea likes this.
  9. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Looks like it’s not going to be my Kay bass. It needs more than I want to put into it, including a new bridge, endpin, fixing delaminated edges...and a new thicker fingerboard to replace its warped one and the related warped neck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 4:37 PM
  10. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    Sounds like it just needs a little Condino treatment, but I understand wanting something turn-key
     
    210superair likes this.
  11. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Make your offer, then hold out for a few more weeks and check back with the seller January 2.

    The ten weeks after Christmas usually have craigslist around the country flooded with cool old basses for VERY fair prices because the whole nation is Xma$broke...I typically use that time period to buy up a half dozen so that I can have some inventory mid May- July when everyone is optimistic and festival season is rocking.
     
  12. marcox

    marcox

    Dec 10, 2007
    Phoenix
    James letting us in on some insider secrets!
     
    Lee Moses likes this.
  13. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    What was the price?
     
  14. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    The price was actually very low, but the cost of repairs to make it playable was my main issue. I decided after all to go ahead with the repairs, which includes a new fingerboard, bridge, and endpin and some delamination repairs.
     
  15. Humbled

    Humbled Supporting Member

    Who gave you a repair estimate?

    I see mostly the kind of cosmetic damage that one might expect to see on a 1950 Kay M1 that likely lived it's +/- first half-century in a College-type music room.
     
  16. Ed S

    Ed S

    Nov 14, 2019
    Are warped FBs/necks a common thing? Not sure I've ever heard of them before. (But I'm far from expert.)
     
  17. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Warped FBs and necks aren’t that unusual. If a bass has a thin neck (like many Kays) sometimes a nice new, and thick, FB can correct the problem. A carbon fibre insert in the neck can also be used to straighten a warp.
     
    james condino likes this.
  18. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The rosewood Kay fingerboards are thick enough, but quality varies. It appears that this one has grain issues that could lead to some twist as it aged. The uneven grain is why it was ebonized originally and sold on a discount, non-Kay route.

    What we can take away from this is a preference against ebonized fingerboards in evaluating individual Kay basses.
     
    eh_train likes this.
  19. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    The tailpiece is natural Brazilian rosewood, so it likely had an unfinished Brazilian rosewood fingerboard to match. Being "flatsawn" is likely a strong contributor to the warping as it tends to be much more unstable. About 50%+ of the "ebonized" tailpieces that I see have beautiful Brazilian rosewood hiding underneath.

    Interesting that it is labeled M1 and not M1B....
     

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