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Kay..... Fix or Settle...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MIMJAZZ, Mar 11, 2014.



    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I'm upgrading my upright to bring me through college. I'm considering a lot of options but i really love Kay basses. There's just something about the sound and feel that takes me away.

    Especially in Chicago, its not hard to find a kay bass. Some are more expensive than others, but thats where the question comes up.

    Would it be worth finding a fixer-upper for a cheaper price tag? Or pay a full price for a working bass?
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    It really depends entirely on what needs to be fixed up.

    I've had my Kay for 20 years and I've ended up pouring quite a bit of money into it in that time. It was a real fixer-upper when I got it, but an absolute killer now. I love it and I'm glad I had the work done, but it ended up being an awfully expensive Kay.

    Just make sure you don't end up with one that needs more work invested than the bass is really worth.
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Regardless of the bass that you wind up with, someone who is just about to start college and plays the double bass would do very well to take the effort to seek out a mentor and learn a few skills to maintain your bass. It will provide you with a lifetime of independence and self reliance over an instrument that is often a six foot tall eggshell in need of regular maintenance.

    I've seen a LOT of really nice old Kays in the Chicago area in the last six months for very fair prices- about half what they go for in my area or less.

    Good luck,

  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I am so going to steal that line from you!
  5. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    You'll get over it. I suspect that you have very little experience with nice hybrid and carved basses. While Kays fill a niche for some players within specific genres, they are, overall, poorly designed, have skinny neck profiles that lead to left-hand fatigue, have low overstand, flat fingerboard projection, and are, IMO, not even among the best-sounding plywood basses available. No offense to experienced players with mature and informed preferences who know exactly what Kays can and can't do but as a budding player looking for a "nice upright" to take you through college, you'd do well to steer very far away from Kays.

    Visit some real bass shops and the blinders will likely quickly come off.

    Take the good advice you got in the related thread you started (which may as well be combined with this one).
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    An adult student brought over a Kay for me to check out. It sounded good for what it was, but compared to my two nice carved basses, it really didn't have much going for it. $2800 at Michelle Fiori's shop, if your interested.

    He brought over a German Paesold fully carved bass the following week, for a little more money, and it was really nice at a good price. He had it inspected, it checked out, and he bought it.

    This is the kind of bass that will take you through college playing classical and jazz.