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Maybe I'm Crazy ------ thinking about guts

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by rickwolff, May 3, 2021 at 1:04 PM.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    I started out playing bass in my early teens on an old Kay which almost certainly had guts on it (I wish I could remember).

    By the time I started playing professionally a couple years later the first strings I remember were Spirocores - which I stuck with until I quit playing (cold-turkey) in my early 30's.

    Fast forward 25 years when I first touched a bass again, and once again went with Spiros. Over the intervening years I have tried a number of different strings - most of which worked quite well - Evahs, Zyex (D & G) Obligatos, and now Perpetuals.

    I must be feeling nostalgic because I've been thinking for some time about getting an old Kay again. When one of my nearby bass shops came up with a near-perfect condition top-of-the-line Kay built in my birth year (1951) I started feeling some serious gas.

    I'm not really tempted to try guts on my Shen 7/8 Gemunder because I'm happy with the Perpetuals and I don't wish to widen the string slots on the nut and bridge.

    I could try guts on my second bass - an Eastman vb305 - and perhaps I will.

    I was also wondering what guts would be like on my Palatino EUB. Would that be like throwing pearls before swine?

    Then there's the 51 Kay. I think I'm going to go look at it tomorrow.

    My marriage may be in jeopardy - but I did just sell not one but TWO boats, a 1968 Starcraft runabout and a Compac 16 sailboat. Between the two of them I would have just about enough for the Kay and a set of guts. AND, if I sell the Eastman I'll be money ahead.

    Thanks for listening, Doc. I do feel better now. Same time next week?
  2. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    As a (retired) psychologist, I would never tell a client that they "should" do anything. Unless, of course, you were to tell me about "a near-perfect condition top-of-the-line Kay built in my birth year (1951)"! Then I might say something gently supportive like, "What the hell are you doing here?! That damn bass might sell out from under you!"
    jsf729, marcox, GlenParks and 4 others like this.
  3. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Guts seem to always be tempting... To me too, and I've only played them on other peoples' basses.

    My uneducated intuition is that you need a nice old sentimental Kay with guts to round out your DB collection. :D
    rickwolff likes this.
  4. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    It's one of those things that you'll not be able to get out of your head until you try it. What we tell you (will you like it or not?) doesn't matter.

    What I WILL say is that - from listening to your recordings here - guts would represent quite a stylistic change for you...
    Last edited: May 3, 2021 at 1:54 PM
  5. LowG


    Dec 8, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    Every bassist should try it if it’s a reasonable option. Don’t know till you try, and IMO it’s the only path to the 100% classic sound and feel.

    But consider “reasonable”. Not everyone wants the classic sound and feel. Some want it but 95% of the way there is good enough. Not everyone has extra basses to set up for different sounds and feels. But looks like you both like the classic sound and have extra basses (or $ with which to get them). If you don’t try you’ll always wonder :)
    rickwolff likes this.
  6. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Do it.
    rickwolff likes this.
  7. Cheez


    Apr 13, 2009
    Your rationalization that selling two boats gives you some kind of permission to buy a 70 year old bass is...pretty convincing.
  8. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    Good point. Thanks for mentioning that. (That 'thanks' also comes from my wife).

    PS I'm still going to look at the '51 Kay AND see if he has any basses strung with guts that I can try.
    eh_train and AGCurry like this.
  9. Anthony White

    Anthony White Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Auckland, New Zealand
    We’re they wooden boats?
    Then you’d be swapping two large temperamental wooden constructions for one small temperamental wooden construction, so you’d definitely be out ahead.
  10. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    Hi Anthony,

    No, they weren't wooden boats. I'd love a big, classic, wooden boat (or yacht) if someone else would take care of the maintenance and upkeep.

    The runabout was aluminum, the sailboat - fiberglass.

    The only boat I have left IS a wooden boat. It is a 10 ft nesting dinghy that comes apart in the middle and the front half stores in the back half so it can fit on the deck of a sailboat. Now that I'm 'the Grandpa' I can enjoy the big sailboats that my daughter and son-in-law have.

    Rick's nesting dinghy.jpg 1968 Starcraft.JPG Compac 16.jpg
  11. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I think you should do what you want. FWIW, I sold my last Kay in 2015. 1951 M1B in great condition, great sound. That said, I’ve never regretted giving up the too-thin neck. Of course, you live pretty close to James C, so you could buy it, then spend even more to make it feel like one of the basses you already own.
  12. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    You'll need Spats to complete the look.
    If you start sporting a Handlebar Mustache, our friendship is OVER!
    bassobrutto, AGCurry and JeffKissell like this.
  13. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Buy the damn bass! Sell the Eastman if you have to. Sell the Palatino because... well just because. Guts on that Kay are your destiny. Though you may not linger there long, it's an itch that needs to be scratched.
    rickwolff and eh_train like this.
  14. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    OK, having second thoughts, or 'An interesting day at the bass shop'.

    Visited Bob Beerman's String Bass Shop in Greensboro today. Great place, wonderful people, lots of basses to play.

    I'm really glad I went because I saved $120,000. Yes, you read that right. That was the price of the most expensive bass I played. (I loved being able to tell my wife (SWMBO) how much money I saved.

    Several years ago I had called Bob and asked if he had anything in inventory that he thought I should look at. His answer was "nothing that will do anything your present bass won't do" or something to that effect. It's a tribute to my healthy ego that I didn't immediately assume that he was telling me I'd 'gone about as fer as I could go' (thank you 'Oklahoma') and that a better, more expensive bass would only be wasted on me.

    Well, I played 7 or 8 basses today, ranging from the teens to the 30's, 40's and up. I was actually hoping something would whisper in my ear "buy me, buy me, you know you need me". Nope, crickets. I had brought both my basses over for comparison and Bob was right. Whatever I can do I can do on my Shen 7/8 Gemunder. And, when A/Bing it against other basses it held its own. (Sigh of relief emoji).

    I really would like to give a shout-out and a big thank-you to AGCurry here for saying:

    That sound you hear is me re-commiting to the style of music and playing I know and love. Playing guts would lead me into a foreign land where I fear I would forever be 'the foreigner'.

    I recently purchased a new set of Perpetuals and have only put the G on so far (Obli D & A, Spiro E). That 'set' mixes surprising well - even the guys at the shop said so, BUT I'm going to put the rest of the set on and play with it some more. I've never really been bothered by the thinness of the G Perp but let myself get caught up in the enthusiasm for the Olive G ('The best G string ever made for bass'). I did have them widen the G string slots so IF I decide to get the Olive it will fit without binding. (I asked to make sure this would not have a negative effect if I keep the Perp G and was told it would not - that seems accurate from playing it).

    So I'm left feeling a little like Don Quixote with nary a windmill in sight. Ain't life a beach???

    Now at least we have the answer to the question: "What happens when a 70-year-old retiree has Way Too Much time on his hands and just enough money to get into trouble?"

    PS I DID play the 51 Kay. It is, indeed, in very nice condition. I just realized I like my bass a whole lot more.
  15. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    Jeff, If I had musician friends as talented as you and your musical gang I'm sure I would be thrilled to go down that road in search of 'my roots'. As it is, I mainly know jazz players and am most comfortable in that genre (American Songbook etc). If I may mix my metaphors, I feel like an old dog (new tricks) that is actually a 'one-trick pony'.
    JeffKissell likes this.
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    "All glory, No GUTS!"
  17. rickwolff

    rickwolff SOLD For Sale: Headway EDB-2 HE $260 Supporting Member

    Laughing out loud !!!

    I think you out-did yourself with that one, Don. Thank You!
    Don Kasper likes this.
  18. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rick, if Mrs. Wolf is like Mrs F, then you saved yourself a heck of a lot more than $120K!
    rickwolff and AGCurry like this.
  19. TideSwing


    Oct 31, 2014
    Las Vegas
    Get the Kay and a full set of Gamuts. Buy once, cry once.
  20. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    I agree with someone above who said that from what I see and hear from the many clips you've posted that guts would be a huge change for you both conceptually and mechanically, especially with your right hand approach. This doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but be prepared for a substantial adjustment.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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