1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

King Basses???

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Th9nker, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. Th9nker


    Mar 18, 2002
    I'm thinking about adding another bass to my collection to use primarily for amplified performance of rock, rock-a-billy, and bluegrass styles. My main bass and it's fishman pick-up just isn't cutting it. Besides, I want to keep it set-up for playing with chamber groups and the symphony.

    So, what are your opinions on King basses? Do any of you have one? Played one?


    I was refering to these by the way....

  2. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    man, i have no experience with king basses, so i can't say how they sound or hold up, but it seems like 2700-3000 is a lot to pay for a ply that seems like it's striving so hard for style points. it's my bet that you could spend much less on something a little older that has some soul and some track record (or just a cheaper new ply bass by another maker) and save yourself some dough by paiting the flames on yourself. (not ON yourself, though that might serve a similar purpose... well, you get the idea), plus that way there's some serious OwNership in your relationship to your instrument.

    the steel reinforced neck seems like a good idea, but there must be an inconvenient increase in weight (hauling it all over will make this count).

    sean p
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I saw this guy's original web page, and it contained some comments that suggested he doesn't know half as much about making basses as he pretends to.
    I wouldn't go anywhere near this bass.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Does anyone know if this company has any relationship at all to the old Kings that were built, IIRC, in Cleveland?

    I have only played one of these, but it was certainly comparable to an old Kay. I know many bluegrassers love them, as I have seen more than one of them end up as the stage bass at festivals when there were plenty of Kays sitting around.

    I have never even seen one of these new Kings other than at the site, but if you consider that you get a setup from Lemur and a pickup system, that puts their plywood model in a similar price range as an Engelhardt, Christopher or Strunal.

    As to whether or not that are of similar quality, I don't know.

    I don't know what King charges for the ebony upgrade, but you could get an ES1, ES9 or the Strunal 50/4, get it setup exactly to your liking, have the PU of your choice installed and probably have a less money in the bass.

    You'd also have the peace of mind of a knowledge of the instrument and the reputation of the company.

  5. I believe there is no relation. Its a weird thing...The Lee Rocker "King" bass has a crown on the back which is the same logo as the "Real King" instrument. Seems like a legal issue to me? I have seen this "King" bass at the Scotty Moore show (Lee Rocker on bass). Granted Lee plays with steel, the bass sounded like a giant P bass.:oops: Not good. Seems more than a gimmick than anything.
  6. If I'm not mistaken, the old King basses were the American Standards.

    Arnold Schnitzer is making available a "New Standard" bass, which is similar to the old Kings, which the new King basses seem to have little in common with.

    best plywood ever
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Seems to me the prices are not that far out of line.

    Go buy a new Englehardt at about $1200. Now take it to be set up: dress the board, new bridge. Go add a pickup. Etc., etc. You soon are approaching $2000 just to have the bass ready to gig, neer mind the paint job ;)

    If the Kings really are "ready to go" out of the crate (big IF there :D ) then the price seems fair. Obviously they are not general purpose basses but they don't claim to be.
  8. I dig Jimbo's sound (of the Reverend Horton Heat). He uses King basses. He even has his own model. And they must be as durable as they say, 'cause I've seen him throw it up in the air over his head, have the Rev. stand on it and "surf", and more.
  9. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Sounds like more of a clown than a musician. Maybe, once again, I'm using the wrong methodology.
  10. You are subject to your opinion, but the Reverend Horton Heat is some darn good music -- an interesting live show just happens to come with it. He may not be the best bassist around, but he certainly gets the job done. Clown? -- Hey, all I know is rock and roll. If that makes me clownish, well, come see me at the circus.
  11. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    You have to put it into perspective. Donasaur's idea of "hamming it up" is to look up from his bass and smile at the audience once a set. ;)
  12. I must take back what I said.
    I recently played a new King set up by Lemur... I could be happy with such a bass for certain musical styles...
  13. Chasarms wrote:
    "but it (an old King) was certainly comparable to an old Kay. "

    Have to respectfully disagree .....the King is WAY superior to any Kay. I have owned two Kays (1949 C-1 and a 1952 Swingmaster)and now own a King. The King is better built and puts out much more sound than any Kay.
    The Kay has its place if you want to duplicate some of the old bluegrass band sounds. But I think though that we should be trying to improve the sound of our basses now rather than settle for the old Kay thump :bag:. The banjo's mandolins and guitars being used today sound great so why not improve the sound of the basses too?

    The original King was the top of the line U-S made plywood bass in its day. The same company (HN White) also made the American-Standard. It has bigger bouts on the top and bottom than the King but is not quite as deep. It has a bit bigger bottom end than the King but the King has a huge sound with a little more focus to it.
  14. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The new Kings have nothing to do with the old ones. I had a 1930s King, and I wish I'd kept it. There are some good Kays, and some awful ones. But the Kings seem overall to be consistantly better, and the necks are much nicer.
  15. the_home

    the_home Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    I have a Slap King in true blonde. It came with a great set-up directly out of the shipping box (well, the second time - the first one was damaged in shipping; long story but King Doublebass made good on the deal). The King basses are made for what you describe - amplified, rock-a-billy with maybe some slap. They are somewhat overbuilt, but they are very durable (unless a shipper drops something in the middle of the back - that's another story). I like the tone, even with the generic steels they ship with. They amplify well with about any quality pickup or mic, or combination of the two. They even have a passible tone bowed.

    In all, even with problems stated above, my experience with Jason and Brad at King has been positive. I'm even considering getting another King for my rehearsal space.
  16. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    If you want a bass with flames, etc. Norton Customs knows thier stuff. I've played basses from both King and Norton; Norton hands down.
  17. The King Double Bass website mentions something
    about them using a Steel Reinforcement Rod
    in the neck.

    Is this unique to the King Basses or do others
    do this as well?
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is the kind of thing that makes me hate jazz. I'm trying to like it, but then the jazz musicians say something like this and completely turn me off it again. Some of you jazz folks need to get over yourselves. You don't have a lock on musical integrity.
  19. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    Sorry to hear that you hate jazz. For me, jazz isn't about the talking, sarcasm or whatever. It's about the music. Either it swings, or it doesn't.:)
  20. Hey, you can't hate it just because you don't like what someone says.

    H*ll, Charlie Parker listened to C&W, he said he liked the stories in the lyrics. Musicans are musicians and clowns are clowns. It doesn't matter what you play. I've known plenty of both.


Share This Page