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Kay Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by gallienkrueger, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. What do you guys think of kay basses?

    I couldn't stand my kay bass what-so-ever. I'm happy i just got rid of it and bought an Englehardt. i tried bowing with my kay bass in school orchestra and it sounded horrid(i should of used my school one that day)
  2. If they're set up nicely, I've heard that Kays can be nice basses. In fact, there are more than a few guys who play them professionally and get a great sound.

    I have an older Englehardt, and it's pretty bad from both a sound and construction standpoint (might to better with a decent set up), but I understand that the new ones are very well built.
  3. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I've had a Kay M1 for 19 years and it sounds terrific and is a real workhorse. I have modified it though. Kays generally have thin fingerboards so I had David Gage put a new ebony fingerboard on it a while back and it made a ton of difference. You're not going to get the same tone as a carved bass but the maintenance is also a hell of a lot less. I'm having a Juzek restored presently but I'm not parting with the Kay.
  4. And depending on the kind of music you play, and your style, you might not necessarily WANT to get the same tone as a carved bass... A lot of stage-playing is done on plywoods by folks who can afford a whole collection of high-quality carved basses. Depends on the music.

    I have to think that someone who ditched a Kay to get an Englehardt, which is, essentially a Kay, :confused: must have owned a Kay that had some particular problem, or bad set-up.

    A trip to a good luthier, or getting a different Kay, probably would have been just as much of an improvement.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Maybe it's only to be expected from someone who thinks that "Yamaha, Fender, and Gibson Guitars and basses rule" is worth saying on every post? ;)
  6. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Barefoot Larry makes a very good point. Slam Stewart played a Kay and classical musicians would try to figure out how he got such a big sound on a plywood instrument. The sound was his, not the kay's.
  7. That's not to say that most people don't consider the carved sound better (I know that *I* generally do).

    But carved & ply just don't make the same sounds, I like them both, and some people prefer ply.

    Also, as you said, you can give almost ANY bass to some people and they will get a good sound, they may just have to work harder at it.

    I saw this demonstrated by Willie Nelson. I always thought that his sound was mostly due to that old Martin Classical acoustic-electric he played, complete with a near-antique amp (I think it was an old Baldwin). I always knew that the way he hears the timing was a large part of it, but I thought the actual TONE, with the quick decay on all of the notes, was all equipment, mostly the nylon strings having a heavy pick-strokes used on them.

    One time when Roger Miller was on Austin City Limits, Willie dropped in unannounced. He walked up behind Miller in the middle of a song.

    They both played Miller's blonde Telecaster simultaneously, while Willie transferred the guitar from Miller to himself, without missing a note.

    Suddenly the guitar work in that song began to sound almost exactly like Willie was playing his Classical guitar, right down to the decay of the notes.

    I'm sure that it IS the nylon strings and Baldwin amp to some degree, but that effectively demonstrated that about 90% of it is Willie Hugh Nelson his own self... even on a Telecaster, or probably any other guitar in the world.

    I sometimes play washtub bass and washboard at parties, along with various guitars & other instruments.

    I almost always have amazed children with musical inclinations all over me with questions.

    What I tell them is that music is mostly in the musician, not the instrument.

    A good drummer can play GOOD snare drum using a snare brush or a small automotive whisk-broom, on on an old Maid-Rite galvanized washboard.

    He can be a good drummer with drumsticks on an old pine board, or a guitar case, but a bad drummer can't sound good on any amount of high-quality drums, not even a full Slingerland drumset.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So on the BG side the ratio of posts about basses to posts about technique is 10:1 whereas on the DB side the same ratio is only 2:1.

    I wonder is this is relevant?

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