Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Jay Dee MK..... HELP!!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MyDogBo, Mar 28, 2004.


  1. MyDogBo

    MyDogBo

    Aug 25, 2002
    LA
    Say .. I couldnt resist telling you this .. i was up on sunset yesterday visiting the boys at mesa and my friend loyd at voltage ... then heading home and my bud insists on one last stop ... big mistake!

    we walk into the shop and hanging from the ceiling is a mid-80's jay dee supernatural, red burst, neck though, small body ,, mark king ... oh &h!t just what ive been wanting for 3 years ..

    pull it down, plug in .. oh fack .. it's got everything .. tone out the a$$ and in 8-8.5 condition .. mark king sound ... wham .. im immediately hooked!

    i ask one of the guys ... "how much?" then see the tag .. $1899 .. wow .. seems kinda high but in a few seconds he agrees to 10% off ... now $1700 .. still seems a little high though .. but i plays like the devil , balances, weighs in light .. oh damn ...!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i go home empty handed .. cause im resisting spending the dough ... im left to sleep on it ... oh sh!t ..

    it's pretty nice and you don't see many around .. especially ones you can test drive in person ..

    so here's my question for those that know jay dee ..

    what is the current going price for a mid-80's supernatural small bodied mark king in 8.5 condition?? what would be a good deal ?? everything seems to be all there .. undisturbed ... anything i should look for or be concerned about ...? maybe inherent problems with jay dee's??

    i'm gas'ing big time, cause i like these animals and have been eye balling them for several years..

    any advice would be helpful ... :confused: :confused:
     
  2. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    NC
    Few comments:

    1. A price of $1,700 would normally be high by UK standards, but given the current dollar-pound exchange rate it is not too bad. In the UK, bog-standard S3 MK's can fetch anywhere from 650 to 1,000 pounds, depending on the condition, with 850-900 pounds about average. The larger bodied (and rarer) S1 MK's fetch a lot more (up to 1,500 pounds). S2's probably fetch about the same as the S3's, maybe slightly more (if I were buying) because there were fewer made, and I like the slightly elongated shape. You pretty much answered the question yourself though. Any JD is as rare as rocking horse sh*t in the US, though they do crop up on the West Coast from time to time because the London Bass Center used to have a shop there, so if you really want it, I would say go ahead negotiate what you can off the price and then buy it, I don't think you will be disappointed. The basses are usually well made, very playable and are a lot more versatile than people would have you believe. The slap tone is amazing though.

    2. None of John's basses (MK S1-3, calibas, etc.) are neck through basses. They are all set necks (custom orders notwithstanding), IMHO the best way to do it.

    3. There is a perception that JD basses made from the mid- to late 80's are not as good as those made before or after that period. The bass craze in the UK inspired in part by Level 42/Mark King's success meant that most of the basses from that period were made by a number of guys working in the JD workshop and not by John personally. John now works on his own with his son.

    4. The worst thing about JD's is also one of their best features. The necks are (usually) wide and slim, very slim, so they tend to be more mobile than most and require frequent truss rod tweaking. Personally, I prefer JD necks that are made of maple and walnut, over walnut and mahogony. I find these to be less mobile and create a better illusion of a neck-thru. Also, the active electronics are of their time, somewhat battery hungry and can be noisy (hiss) at extreme treble boost. You will also likely find that the basses output is quieter compared to some other basses, but don't let that bother you. I personally love neck binding, but if this JD has a bound neck (and most didn't from the late 80's, because of the added cost and time to manufacture) you may find that the binding is cracked in places because the ebony fingerboard has shrunk, exposing the fret ends. Lastly, John has updated his pick-ups since then and the ones on his current basses are much, much better than the old ones. You can still get that MK slap tone, but so much more. These are available from John as a retrofit (as are most if not all other parts, including circuitry, if you need to replace anything).

    If you need more info, or want to check originality, let me know or just get the serial number and give John a call (www.jaydeeguitars.com/html/classic.asp) and he can tell you about the bass' history. Hope this helps.

    A couple of examples of John's recent work:
     
  3. MyDogBo

    MyDogBo

    Aug 25, 2002
    LA
    thanks for the great response JDGA!

    i believe the neck was mahogany and walnut. i think i remember them being a set-neck but thanks for clarifying and taxing my memory a bit - you're right .. it does look like a neck-through ... the neck was dead straight when i eyeballed it ..

    i will probably try to buy it for less .. i have a great Human fretless 4 and i'll see if he'll do a partial trade on that ..

    the jay dee needs cleaning and general TLC, setup w/ strings but seems to be all original. i popped the back plate off and things look undisturbed, original knobs, a few dings but overall a solid bass ..

    it didnt seem to hum much .. but i appreciate the headsup on the availability of new p/ups for it, thanks! ..

    it has phenomenal tone . not only slap but fingerstyle too.. i was really surprised by it .. i palyed it for 20 minutes ..

    i'll let you know if things work out and thanks once again for your help.
     
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That sounds a bit on the high side for one as you described IME... but if "YOU" really like it, that's worth something, isn't it?:D
     
  5. MyDogBo

    MyDogBo

    Aug 25, 2002
    LA
    yeah .. it seems high to me -- but they arent exactly commonplace as JDfan points out and by the time you ship across the pond and pay import duty you're damn near the price .. i dunno ... *still pondering...*
     
  6. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    NC
    Don't get me wrong, it is high, but here's my thinking. Let's say you bought in the UK (sight unseen - problematic in itself, because some JD's have been well ab/used) at 850.00 pounds. That's about 1,500.00 dollars at today's exchange rate. You're going to have to wire the guy (or gal) money, because they don't come up for sale in shops very often, then pay another $100-150 for insured airfreight, hope to God that the bastards don't smash it in transit, and then pay import tax on top of that (another 5% or $75?), which is close to the $1,700.00 asking price. The following is a link to another MK, which sounds like it might be in slightly worse (cosmetic) shape than the one your talking about: http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/kingmenow/jaydeelpb.jpg and is up at $1,650.00. Maybe you could use that to squueze a little more off. Bottom line to me is that at least you get to try it and assess the condition, originality, whether everything works and have somewhere to take it back if you get a problem, and how many other chances are you going to do that in the US if you're dead set on having a JD (though I'm a little partisan - heh). That said, John Diggins (i.e., Mr. "JD") has just introduced a S4 MK model which I am told is one sweet little bass (much smaller body, updated electronics, etc.). A new MK bass would be something like 1,500 pounds and up depending on options (neck binding, etc.). Good luck.
     
  7. MyDogBo

    MyDogBo

    Aug 25, 2002
    LA
    thanks once again JDfan.. i'm tracking with your thinking but this looks very tempting! currently, what's Johns' build time.. from deposit to completion?
     
  8. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    NC
    Someone told me John quoted him about 4 months, but closer to 6 months might be more realistic. Best thing to do is ask the man himself.
     
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Here's a simple way to look at it (I do this all the time;))

    Ask yourself these two questions:

    1) How far off is it from what you consider a fair price?

    2) If you really like it, how hard will you kick yourself if this one slips through your fingers?


    Most people who know me know that I rarely kick myself. OTOH maybe I should;)



    JD's don't grow on trees around here. Just a thought:D
     
  10. MyDogBo

    MyDogBo

    Aug 25, 2002
    LA
    dang you ..! :D :D
     
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    The bright side is, if you have small feet, the kicking might not hurt so bad;)