Kay M1 bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mike milner, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. I would appreciate any input from anyone familiar with Kays. I went to look at one tonight. It is about 50 years old, and has seen alot of use. The body has lots of scrapes and scratches, but no serious cracks. I looked inside and couls see the Kay label and the serial #, and also the number "M1", which I assume is the model. What else should I be looking for? The gent that played it played it in a Hungarian Gyspsy trio in restaurants, and just used the bow. The action is incredibly high, and the bass still has gut strings on it. It will need to put a new bridge on it, what should I expect to pay for that? Also, what about the fingerboard, is there anything I will need to do to see whether or not I will have to have it planed?
  2. Look to see that the neck joint is secure, and that there are no open seams. Kays won't crack, they're all plywood.
    Why does it need a new bridge? You can cut down the existing one to lower the action, if it's poorly fitted or warped then, yes, you need a new one. I don't know of any luthiers in Orillia, if you're coming to Toronto to have the work done, I would recommend The Sound Post. They're on Grenville Steet, speak to Charles Arsenault for an appointment. I think a bridge suitable for a Kay should cost about $200 or so, Cdn.
    Some Kays had whitewood fingerboards that were not very hard. Whitewood or rosewood, if there are ruts in the playing positions, it will need planing. Hold each string down at both ends of the fingerboard, there should be a gap of at least the string diameter between the string and the fingerboard in the middle. Planing is a per-hour of labour type of thing, how long it takes depends on how bad the board is.
    Also, if the bass still has the original rigid tailwire, replace it. Another $25 or so from The Sound Post.
    The resident luthiers here can give you much better info than I can. Lots of it has already been posted somewhere- spend some time searching, you'll find what you need.