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Michael Kelly & American Musical

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Dec 21, 2005.


  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Just got my new Mike Kelly 5 string STAB (is that what it's called?) delivered FedEx today. I post when I'm thrilled, I post when I'm bummed... I'm bummed...

    This is strike 2 for MK for me. I already own a fretless firefly bass, and I actually think it's a great bass. That's why I was willing to go for a second. My first peave with these guys though was that in their advertisement of the newer models, they state that the shorter neck basses (32" - the one I have) weren't all that good for longevity purposes. HOW THE HELL CAN THEY SAY THAT!!! That's really nice for all us, uhh... "suckers" that bought one? Doesn't help if we want to resell them either. I wrote nicely to them regarding this, and asked if they'd reconsider their advertising - but they flatly ignored me. Alright - regardless of how they dislike their own product, I dig it still, and figure I'll give the upgraded 34" a go.

    Got the bass, it had to go back in the box within 10 minutes. Frets sharp as hell, I was almost ready to deal though thinking I can file them down myself, crap on the inside that I had to shake out then sweep my floor (not sure what it was - looked like dried bugs or burnt wood), but then the kicker... first string, 13th and 14th fret were the same note. Put a little more relief in the neck. No change. Look down the neck, looked like a little hill down there.

    How does a bass like that ever get out of the factory?

    On the other hand, American Musical. 3rd time purchasing from them. I ordered the bass at 3pm on monday, it was in my hands 3pm today, wednesday (would have had it yesterday if it wasn't for the MTA strike slowing things down), another bass is already on it's way, and they're going to send me a sticker to send this one back. I get to pay in monthly installments without any credit check. I've never experienced any ordering problems, and the people are really helpful, understanding, quick and curteous.

    If the next bass sucks I'm getting sumpthin else.
     
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Sorry, Joe.

    On a side note, how in the hell do they think the scale length affects the "longevity" of the bass?
     
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Maybe what he said was "long- gevity"?
    :D
     
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    here ya go - off the americanmusical description, which is also on the MK site and other places:

    "In the past Michael Kelly and many other acoustic basses have been produced with smaller scale lengths. This was largely because the additional tension on the instrument while good from a playability stand point can be a problem from a longevity prospective. At Michael Kelly they have worked for several years to re-engineer the acoustic bass to allow them to adopt a 34" scale and retain a product that you could enjoy for many years. The new 34" scale models are a totally redesigned instrument that provides all of the durability and playability that has made Michael Kelly a leader in acoustic bass, while adding a far superior tone and feel. Their new design includes specially modified bracing, an improved neckjoint and a new high tension bridge."

    I dunno. Is it just me, or is that a really lame thing for a company to say about their own products.

    Oh yeah - did i forget to mention that the neck on my 32', after about 4 years is starting to disintegrate into thin air. What the hell ARE they talking about?
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    It's BS to promote a new product. The scale length has nothing to do with longevity- otherwise all the acoustic guitars in existance would blow up. A shorter scale has less tension on it's neck...if anything, a longer scale length would ADD stress. The only longevity issue would be if they made the body and neck bracing poorly on the 32" models, in which case, they would be as prone to poor longevity no matter what the scale length.
     
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I just re-read that for the hundredth time and realized - maybe they're saying they made them with shorter necks cuz the LONGER necks posed a problem, but they worded it horribly. May I have misunderstood? If so, I still think they're idiots for not emailing me back, telling me so, and changing their wording to make sense. Idiots I tell ya. Where's my new bass. I wanna play. And I don't get the long-gevity joke.
     
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Long, as in longer scale. Sorry, I am not a comedian.

    anyway, good luck with the next try!
     
  8. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    I'd been looking at those. I have a Martin but don't play it much. I ought to find a need to whip it out more often. Something to be said for easing up on the back/shoulder pain.

    Did you figure out if those really were bugs?
     
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I actually didn't want to know. I swept them up and flushed them down the toilet. I really don't have a clue what they were, just litle brown burnt looking things, wrinkly, almost nut like. No clue.

    I'm pissed at FedEx today. Delivery scheduled for 3pm. At 4 I called and they assured it would be here today. Called again at 6 and 8 and was told the same. 10:15 I tracked my order again and it said it was back at the local facility, which by the way is impossible to find on their site. My girlfriend had problems getting a bed delivered last week by fedex. She had a similar experience, they considered the day on the truck one of 3 attempts to deliver it (even though they never showed up), and eventually wound up sending the bed back to the company it was purchased from.

    I can't even get through to fedex now to tell them to keep it at their place so I can pick it up. Bah! Humbug! Don't mess with my bass deliveries MO FO!
     
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Final update.

    American Musical sent another bass. Same problem, slightly less dramatic. I wrote to Michael Kelly. They assured me if I sent the bass to them they'd fix the problem. I considered it, sat with the bass a couple of days and finally said screw it. I want my money back. Too much hassle.

    Also - I have to note this. When I bought my first Michael Kelly several years ago I got it direct from the company off of ebay. They said the ones they sold there had slight defects, usually cosmetic, and they offered them at a discount because they wouldn't let basses that were less than perfect hit the streets. I admired this, and I admired the fact that I still can't find the defect in the bass I bought. There was the tiniest blotch, like a pinhead of paint on the back of the neck - but I had to really look hard to find it.

    This bass that I recieved the other day has a pretty nasty scuff on the white on the outside of the fretboard, like someone clamped with with a vicegrips or something - and there is a visible chip or bad wood blemish underneath the finish on the face of the wood, about an inch square. My girlfreind even immediately noticed it. It's simply covered up with the clear finish. This bass is a far cry from what the company was putting out a few years back. Or at least from my experience. I think I'm done with them for now, unless I can try one out before playing it.

    Also realized I'm gonna be at NAMM in a couple of weeks. I'll probably do best to bring me hard earned dollars there.
     

  11. +1 for American Musical Supply
     
  12. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    When I received my dragonfly 4 srting the fingerboard was not glued to the neck from the nut to the 4th fret! It just floated above the neck. How could they string this bass and not notice this? I didn't want to deal with sending it back so I repaired it myself. I'm really disappointed with their QC. The bass plays fine now that I've performed the proper repairs.

    Jim
     
  13. The only QC issue I have with my Dragonfly fretless is that the nut is pathetic. Otherwise it's perfect. Sorry to hear about your problems.
     
  14. Kevbroce

    Kevbroce

    Dec 14, 2005
    Chico, Ca
    I've had a package delivered by USPS once, the online tracking service says its on delivery. Wait the whole day, nobody knocks, nothing in the mail box, never shows up, yet online the tracker says delivered. ***, delivered? Next day, I find it in the mail box, awesome... Least it came.
     
  15. I read that to mean that they made shorter length necks because the LONGER necks, having more tension, made for better for playability but resulted in longevity issues.

    So yes, I think that could have been worded better, it could be taken either way.

    But certainly there's more tension on a longer neck. making more strain on the neck, neck joint, etc, which could affect longevity.

    That's why the 35" low b's are so tight sounding, longer scale allows more tension for less floppy string vibration.

    Randy