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Kay Bass Puzzle

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by DarrelT, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Hello to all -
    I am new to these forums and have enjoyed surfing around through the various topics herein - very informative and very interesting and, most importantly, you all seem like a very amiable and helpful group.
    I have played string bass and electric bass for many years and have always left setups to the experts. I have recently acquired a Kay bass (price was right - free) that is in quite good shape. I got the bass with the express purpose of learning about and trying my hand at setups: sound posts, bridges, etc., for my own amusement/continuing education. (I would never experiment on my Pollmann!!)
    My question:
    What I originally took to be a bit of "sinking" in the top table, E/bass bar side, actually upon closer examination turned out to be a "rise" on the G string side. I removed the strings and attempted to drop the sound post. It was wedged in so tightly that even with no strings on the bass I had to really whack it several times with a metal bar to dislodge it - I couldn't move it by reaching in with my fingers. I also noticed that where the sound post makes contact with the back table there is a round piece of of wood/particle board/ply about 1/8 in thick and about the size of a drink coaster glued to the back table. I can detect no hole or other trauma to the back that would indicate that this is a repair patch. Considering the student use/abuse of these basses, was this bit of "reinforcing" normal on these basses? I have read Jeff Bollbach's "luthier's rant" regarding tight soundposts, but this soundpost really seemed excessively tight, to the point of pushing the G side up. I guess I would like to know, "How tight is tight?" On my Pollmann with no strings on, the soundpost will fall quite easily. BTW, the Kay is a model M-1, serial #34743.
    Thanks, and sorry to be so long winded.
    Darrel Tidaback
  2. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    The disc on the back is standard factory reinforcement for the soundpost on these basses. They were built to last. Serial # indicates 1954 vintage. This link will take you to "the" Kay man.

  3. When your sound post starts disfiguring your top, your sound post is too tight. IMO, it's ok to have your SP stay up with the string pressure off, but SHOULD fall with a gentle tap near the top or back.
    By the way, welcome to TBDB Darrel!
  4. Except for the scrolls, the machines, and the end pins.

    A little humor there. :crying:
  5. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    Very true about the scrolls. However, I recently acquired a 1937 (first year of production) Kay bass with a carved scroll and engraved tuner plates. The neck is three piece, with a layer of ebony sandwiched between two pieces of maple. The body is only three ply laminate, really nice maple on the ribs and back, with inlayed purfling . You can see alot of attention to detail in the making of this instrument. Sounds great too.
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Maybe Bohmann had a deal with Kay on laminated necks...;-)
  7. Z, that's one of the sicker things you've come up with. :eyebrow:
    But certainly not on the machines!!!!
  8. More likely Kay simply stole the idea from Bowmann considering that Joseph Bohmann (born 1843) was doing business in Chicago about 60 years before Kay got started.

    And for you other guys... the parts that break off the Kay scrolls are called the volutes - not the scroll. The scroll is everything above the neck handle including the pegbox.
  9. I knew that....I figured "scroll" was better since the middle volute was left on the bass. Picky, Picky!
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Oh, THis is juvenile but it cannot be helped... DUH ? It was a joke; you do know that, don't you, Branstetter?
  11. I guess I do now.

    Warburton: Middle volute???
  12. That was a joke Branstetter! What's a matter.?
    Actually, I had trouble calling those things on a Kay volutes!
  13. Sorry guys, but I guess my sense of humor has been dulled by a discussion in another post. I'll try to do better next time.
  14. Your sense of humor has been dulled by all those oxy-contin you're taking for your pain ( Pain....yeah right OK!!)

    KIDDING...I believe about the other post though...I've been there, done it!
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    They're for pain ???!!!!