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Kay bass guitars--who's playing them?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mastermold, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. I picked up this '59 Kay Speed Demon last year after being impressed by the tone Lucinda William's bassist, David Sutton, gets out of his early 60's Kraftsman (same instrument, different name). Been really enjoying it. Just played it out again tonight--great thumpy hollow body tone, does exactly what I need it to do, easy to play too. Anyone else playing a Kay bass guitar, whether this model or another, vintage or reissue?

    SlimS, IPA, Pocket4 and 6 others like this.
  2. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings, Aguilar Amplifiers
    Todd Phillips has converted a Kay arch top guitar into an acoustic bass guitar. He made a new neck (or maybe converted one) for it with something closer to the radius of a double bass. He uses it for rehearsal and warm-ups when his upright is already on stage, or otherwise inaccessible. It's a pretty neat setup, I wish I had a picture to share.
    Mastermold likes this.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I'm dying to try this one out!
    I realize it's not going to sound as good as my acoustic bass but it looks good and should be usable.
    BassHappy and Mastermold like this.
  4. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Is the question about Kay basses, or reissues/copies, or both?
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wasn't Michael Rhodes seen playing one recently? Not sure whether original or re-issue, but I think that was him.
    kittywithabanjo likes this.
  6. Both. I've played the reissues and they're well made, not exact replicas but very nice nevertheless.
  7. So does this count ?
    Kay EB100.JPG
    SlimS and Mastermold like this.
  8. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I have a late '50s Kay in my rotation. It's another of my favorite skinny neck basses.
    Mastermold likes this.
  9. Got any photos?
  10. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    my first bass was a Kay, solid body with speed bump pickup .... mid 60's era
    lmfreeman9 and Mastermold like this.
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Sorry, I don't. But it looks just like other black/yellow 'burst "Truetone/Speed Demon" two on a side headstock, speedbump Kays on the 'net.
    Mastermold likes this.
  12. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    I looked hard at one of the recent reissues a few years ago when I was hankering for a hollow short scale with flats.

    I ended up going with something else.
  13. The company selling the reissues has their office about 5 minutes from mine and when I went there to pick up a case for my Speed Demon I played a reissue they brought out, really nice bass. I'm thinking about getting one.
  14. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    You know, I think I'm wrong. I think what I played was a Harmony.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  15. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Todd Phillips... now there's a name I wouldn't have expected to see on the BG side. Ons of my earliest bass heroes... who is he playing with these days?

    (with apologies for the derail... all the Kay basses I had are uprights)
  16. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    My first bass was a late 50's short scale bolt on Kay.

    Mastermold likes this.
  17. mexicanyella


    Feb 16, 2015
    Wow, love the photos in this thread. Love the wacko Kay headstocks too, with the "Kelvinator" plastic inlays.

    I was pretty committed to a slighty modified Silvertone acoustic archtop guitar for several years, in my pre-bassplaying days...it was kind of the same vibe. IMG_20150227_152438.

    Always liked the Kay Barney Kessel Artist too; oh how I'd love to get my hands on one of those:

    Redirect Notice
    SlimS and Mastermold like this.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I wish I was playing one! I'd never pay what people want for them, but if I could find a reasonable deal on one, I'd be all over it.
    2saddleslab and Mastermold like this.
  19. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Redding CA
    My first bass when I was a kid was an early Kay hollow body with 2 lipstick pickups and action of about a 1/2 inch. It feedbacked a bunch and sounded like :poop:. Don't miss it and would never want to play one again. Glad you like yours though.:D
    Mastermold likes this.
  20. Here you get a nice sample of David Sutton's tone I mentioned above:

    magnaton likes this.

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