Kay Bass Value

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by lonote, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. I am about 4 weeks into double bass ownership and it seems I need a different instrument. I have a 1967 Kay M-3, a 1/4 size instrument. It plays and sounds good but it's just too small, which should have been no surprise...but it was. I have no idea how much I should ask for it. It is in very good shape, said the luthier, and it needs nothing except a new bridge and strings; it is structurally sound and has only a few small dings. I have looked everywhere I can think of but I have only come across one of these basses for sale for $1,750. Ideally, I'd like to sell mine and use the money to buy a 3/4 size. I am looking for a ballpark figure so that I can be realistic when I sell it and have some idea what price range I should be looking for in a 3/4 instrument. Is the $1,750 figure realistic?

    I appreciate your help!
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    IMO, $1,750 is pretty optimistic. The Engelhardt contemporary (same bass, different name) sells for less than a $1K brand new. Throw in set up costs, and you have maybe around $1,200 in it.

    There is some sexiness to having Kay on the label, but in your case, I wouldn't expect it you help you very much as 1/4 basses are really only desirable if you are buying for your child.

    You may get lucky an find a 5 foot nothing lady at bluegrass festival that thinks a 1/4 is the answer to her bass playing needs, but otherwise it's a child's bass. I don't know too many folks who are going to spend the extra loot to have the name Kay stamped on the 10-year-old's bass.

    If you want to get rid of it in any kind of timely manner, I'm thinking somewhere around that same $1,200 is best case. Even then it'll take a while to turn over. There just isn't that much demand for a 1/4 bass.
  3. As long as I carry something a foot thick to put under the endpin when I play it, it works fine! I suspected that a 1/4 size wouldn't exactly trigger a feeding frenzy when I decide to sell it. Thanks for your help!
  4. I agree. I love my Kay s-8. There tends to be a premium for the name. I'd put it on the classifieds here on TB
  5. cabin dweller

    cabin dweller Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Ridgeland, WI
    I would have a hard time parting with the little kay, onless there was no chance of a grand child or great grand child of the family wanting to learn some ur someday.
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    $1750 for a 1/4 size Kay that needs a new bridge and strings is a little steep. Of course, the value of old instruments is based on what the market will provide, but anything over $1000 would be gravy, IMO.
  7. Thanks, everybody. For now, I'll take it (and a cinder block to raise it up a bit) out to a few gigs and see what it sounds like in a band setting. I have only played it at home, so I need some idea what it (and I) sound like. I may just keep it since it fits in my car, if for no other reason. If/when I sell, I'll ask $1,200 or best offer and consider anything in the $1,000 range.
  8. Mark E Chachich

    Mark E Chachich

    May 6, 2004
    I made an endpin for my Kay M-2, it has worked fine ever since (about 25 years).

    best of luck,
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I just setup a kay that a friends wife bought for him for $35. It is in excellent condition for a 40 year old bass. And it sounds great !
  10. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    Speaking purely as a guy who sells basses for a living, I'd say $1750 is optimistic at beat.

    A 3/4 or "regular" size Kay fetches between $1800 and $2400 in my market (Austin TX) depending on condition and model. Why, I have no earthly idea as I have lovely European plys that out play and sound most Kay's, but what do I know...the allure of history and fasion seem to outweigh any other concern to the typical Kay bass customer.

    But the 1/2, 1/4 and even 1/8th size instruments are of negligable value at best. I sold a 1/4 for $600 and danced for joy and it sat on the floor for nearly 2 years.

    I love being proved wrong however. Best of luck!
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Sell Tickets and drop it off a tall building
  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Mark- May I be the first to welcome you to Talkbass. If y'all don't know, Mark is a great bassist, one-half of the video in "The Ungentle Art of Slapping", and can be heard on some Bad Livers cds.

    BTW, how long have you been a lurker? ;)
  13. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002