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Kay M-3

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by kai_ski, Apr 14, 2010.


  1. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Cheap basses don't come up for sale very often in my neck of the woods, which is all I really deserve to play, but I thought I would ask for some input on this one. To my eye, it looks to be in pretty rough shape, but I haven't played it.

    I usually end up amplifying my DB when I have one, playing in indie and folk groups, with the occasional bluegrass jam. Will this smaller size bass have a lesser tendency to feedback than my full size Engelhardt did (which was very hard to keep under control at times)? Will its acoustic volume be MUCH quieter than a full size bass?

    Thanks for your input.

    http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/msg/1692175286.html
     
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Its cheap because there is very little demand for 1/4 size basses. Unless you are under four feet, I wouldn't recommend it! :)
     
  3. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    For 499 bucks......you can't go wrong giving it a shot and deciding for yourself if it fits your needs. These little Kay basses bark quite well in sessions, and amplify well too. Looks like it has a nice beefy fingerboard, always a plus.
     
  4. LeslieD

    LeslieD

    Jul 25, 2006
    Pennsylvania
    No, I'm with Jake on this one. 1/4 and 1/2-size basses are for kids, and only if they are really young & small. Stick with a 3/4s bass (even your Englehardt) and save your $499.
     
  5. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Well, I play one of these little Kay basses on occasion, and find it to have a real good even sound. I'm a grown man.....:) Of course it isn't the sound of a 3/4 bass! It 's got the sound of a 1/4 size bass. And it is a very usable sound, IMO. Not limited to children, by any means.
     
  6. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Another vote with Jake. I'd pass.
     
  7. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Thanks for the input.

    I took an opportunity to sell my Engelhardt before I moved from SF in December. I never really liked it much... it was really really big, hard to get around on small stages, feedback was horrendous, and unless it was amplified, even playing with 1 guitar and 1 banjo/mandolin, I couldn't hear it at all. I suppose you could say I left my "Engelhardt" in San Francisco :). Since then, I've started getting some new projects together, and think I could use a DB for small coffee shop type gigs sans drums, but don't really want to spend a lot.

    Are the reasons against this bass, just its size? Or is the sound undesirable?

    PC - What kind of situations do you find yourself playing one of these smaller basses? Did you make any modifications to yours that made it more playable?
     
    Jsn likes this.
  8. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    I don't own the bass, I just play it on occasion. I talked the owner into having it set up with a new bridge, and 1/4 size Spirocore strings. That made a big difference, the previous strings were from a full size bass, and quite floppy.

    I play it in casual acoustic string band music jams. It sings with it's own voice, and is quite audible in that situation. The E string is strong,and balanced with the rest of the instrument. The arco tone and feel is real nice. It is what it is, a 1/4 size bass. I like it. I'm always happy to play it.

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy a good one for 499 bucks, for more reasons than one. As a matter of fact, I'd be surprised if someone else hasn't already bought it.

    There is a very good classical bassist in my area who has one he uses for amplified string band gigs. It sounds great that way, loud, deep, and proud. And you can't beat the portability!

    EDIT: BTW, the bass does look like it has some cosmetic rough spots. I've seen much worse. That doesn't bother me, ( I actually like it) and that can be addressed a few different ways if need be.

    Most importantly though, it looks like the neck has never been broken, and it's intact in the body of the bass.

    BTW, you could probably sell the tailpiece with the Kay logo for a large part of the purchase price. Some Kay geeks are tweeked on making their axes original as possible.......same goes with the tuners, the tuners on the 1/4 size are the same as those used on the larger Kays.
     
  9. LeslieD

    LeslieD

    Jul 25, 2006
    Pennsylvania
    I've only played a few Englehardts, but an ES-9 that I once played was pretty anemic. My cheap plywood Eberle had nearly twice the sound for whatever reason (sorry I can't tell you why). As far as it being "really, really big" that's just part of the whole package of playing a double bass. If you want an over-sized cello, then go for the 1/2 size bass. It's true that a few other people (adults) like them and swear by them, but that's NOT the typical experience or preference. I do know a great multi-instrumentalist folkie who has a really nice old 1/2 size bass that he picked up cheap for $300 or less. We played our basses side by side, and his had substantially less volume (again, it might have been his particular set up & bass).

    Seriously though the smaller basses are starter student basses and to me it just looks funny to see adults play them. And that particular bass you're looking at seems to be pretty beat up to me. If you really want it, I'd offer the seller a few hundred less. Still...I bet you could find better things to spend $300 on.
     
  10. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Funny, that's all true. But for that very reason Tom Waits bought one that I worked on and decided not to buy for myself. It looks cool to some people on stage, for that larger than life Godzilla thing. 1300 bucks several years ago!:D
     
  11. LeslieD

    LeslieD

    Jul 25, 2006
    Pennsylvania
    I'm definitely not in the running for any coolness contests by playing German plys and hybrids in string band and bluegrass groups. But I think you could present arguments either way as to whether a 1/2 bass will get you coolness points or not!

    :meh: Hmm, I'm trying to picture Godzilla playing the bass. Does he have enough toes? :)
     
  12. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    well the CL post was deleted, so I guess it's probably gone. Thanks for the input, and I'll be back when I see something else in my price range!
     
  13. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Dunno, never got close enough to count:eyebrow:.......but.....;) he does have big bottom!
     
  14. Gearhead43

    Gearhead43

    Nov 25, 2007
    NorCal
    +1

    Don't bother with that thing. People think they are more valuable than they are, just because they are a Kay - and the 1/4 basses just aren't.

    I have an absolutely gorgeous little Kay Cello I got at a thrift store - beautifull little cello, stunning Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and tailpiece, immaculate shape. (I loves me some Rosewood)

    Still not worth a ****, price wise. I keep it for a wall decoration. Might let me son play it if he takes an interest in cello later. He already has an Engelhardt Cello I turned into a "Mini-Bass" for him - so he can beat on that one for now.
     
  15. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    I guess you didn't notice that bass isn't available anymore....so the OP doesn't have to bother with it, and we'll never know how he felt about it's playability. Worth getting your vote in anyway!:D

    "Not being being worth the bother" is really a matter of the people you are referring to IMHO. In the case of my friend (an adult) with the 1/4 size Kay, it's perfect because of her physical stature. She loves it. People love listening to it. Everybody is happy with the sound there.

    It isn't uncommon to tune these 1/4 size basses A D G C. Piccolo bass style. Also used for experimental chamber music, Irish/Euro Folk music, fiddle tunes, Conjunto, Salsa, ect. I've heard and seen it used these ways, by great players.

    It gets used as prop too. But in truth, the double bass has been used that way much more.

    I want one!;)

    Edit: Since the OP asked about mods, I think these can be modded at bit to make an excellent alternative to the EUB. I remember a member her posting on that.
     
  16. BrassedOn

    BrassedOn

    Oct 11, 2018
    I have at times been tempted to get by with 1/4 fun-size basses.

    Here’s an ad, and a little puzzle. Is this “firewood”? How many features can you find to support your answer?

    This is not mine.
    Engelhardt Upright Bass
     
  17. It appears that either the neck is set at an angle or not attached, so it needs a reset and probably some work on the top block. I've heard it said that the '70s were not great for Englehardt build quality, but I don't know directly. A lot of value depends on what wood is under the ebonization on the fingerboard; it should be rosewood if they stayed with the M-3 specs. Missing parts are available from Englehardt-Link, that's no problem. As a resto-and-flip project there's not a lot of profit to be had here, but as a player's project it's not terrible.
     
  18. BrassedOn

    BrassedOn

    Oct 11, 2018
    Good call on the neck. I wonder if there is a twist too.

    I see storage shed and wonder what conditions it’s been living in.

    No side view of machines. Things that make you go hmmm. I’d guess most valuable component. Where’d all the parts go? I saw a complete same model 1990s for not much more.
     
  19. Based on photo #2, that fingerboard looks uncommonly wide for an M3, and I would think that by 1977 the bevel would have been retired on Engle fingerboards. Maybe this is a 1/4 sized body with a half- or 3/4 sized neck paired with it?
     

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