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Old Kay

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mortar, Mar 2, 2018.


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  1. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    A dear freind of mine's father played upright bass in the Army during WWII. The other day I went by his house and notice the old Kay bass in pretty bad condition I asked about it, he and his wife didn't seem interested in keeping it. They said everyone they talked to said it was a lost cause. I told them if they don't want it and if they don't find someone interested in it to not throw it away. So they gave it to me.

    I the top is in pretty bad shape lots of de-lamination inside mostly I was able to get it off relatively easily . The sides and back aren't to bad LOTS of honest wear and tear!!

    The story I as told is that when his father shipped back home they were told he couldn't take the instrument home but managed to sneak it home. I actually have seen his father.
     
    basspraiser likes this.
  2. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Pictures, please!
     
  3. Hammertime3

    Hammertime3

    Apr 23, 2008
    Delaware
    Sneak???? An upright bass?????
     
    Bitsy, basspraiser and Inky13 like this.
  4. turf3

    turf3

    Sep 26, 2011
    "What's that under your coat, soldier?"
     
  5. turf3

    turf3

    Sep 26, 2011
    It would really be cool if you can get it back in playing condition, with the history it has. Take it on a gig and give the pictures to your buddy. I can imagine a photo collage of his father playing the bass in his Army uniform way back when and you playing it today. (One of my friends did something kind of similar for another of my friends, commemorating the latter's uncle who was a musical inspiration.)
     
    saabfender likes this.
  6. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Yah, let's get to the real story and the pics.
     
  7. Levin S

    Levin S

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    Color me interested - let’s see some pics!

    Also - what part of the world are ya in?
     
  8. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    It's a C-1 serial # 3714

    Let's say that he wasn't given permission to keep the bass. He played the Army band .
    Looks pretty rough in the pictures..

    Is it worth trying to salavage or just stick it in the corner in my music room?
     

    Attached Files:

    Winoman and Barry Snow like this.
  9. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    Oh there a some dark circles around the neck joint on the fingerboard is that how they would have softened the glue to do a neck reset?
     
  10. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Your C-1 was built in 1938.

    The shredding of the top when taking it off was unnecessary, that's a drag, but the only challenging damage that I see is the distortion of the area under the bridge, likely related to the more obvious water damage. This is best fixed on a steam table; our James Condino does this routinely, I gather. Since the top is already off it's a good idea to do a proper neck reset. I can't see the condition of the neck, but if the heel's not broken you're in good shape there, and if it is it's not too hard to fix.

    Sticking it in a corner is the least good option; if nothing better you can give it or sell it to someone who can fix it. When you ask whether it's worth repairing, I have to ask which kind of value matters most — is it the market monetary value of the instrument, or its ability to serve you to make music? You got it at the best possible price, a real good start. I'm guessing that reshaping and restoring the top alone will cost close to the street value of the bass. The important question is: how much you want to play it?
     
    Barry Snow, mortar and saabfender like this.
  11. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    The top was in that condition when I got it. That "Shredding" was there . The Whole top by to neck joint was pulled away in layers, and by the bridge was sunken down. The lower part of the bass bar brace came unglued I think he played it like that and caused the top to sink in by the bridge. Would that cause the top by the neck joint to pull away from the body? The neck looks really good but the joint does seem loose.
     
    msw likes this.
  12. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The water damage alone is enough to cause the whole mess. Wet plywood likes to come apart.
     
    Winoman and mortar like this.
  13. mdcbass

    mdcbass Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Seacoast of NH
    If you can get the neck off without further damage, Mr. Condino might let you ship it all to him in a U-Haul wardrobe box. A few pictures of the neck, heel and scroll would be nice.
     
    Barry Snow likes this.
  14. saabfender

    saabfender SUSPENDED

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    If you can get it put together for around a grand then it’s certainly worth it. I had a ‘57 that was cast off from a public school which my daughter rescued from the burn pile. I was able to source all parts off eBay. It turned into a very nice instrument and I got $1,200 when I sold it.

    Short of boxing it up and sending it away to an expert (which would add a lot of shipping expense to the project), run it by a local furniture restorer for an appraisal of fixing the plywood issues and doing any reforming and refinishing work. Formed plywood isn’t only found on DBs.

    Just setting it in the corner would be the saddest of all outcomes. Bet you could get a couple hundred off CL as a basket case if you decide to bail on the project.
     
    mortar likes this.
  15. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    I am not going to give up on it just yet. It will be a slow drawn out project 20180302_173244.
     
  16. mdcbass

    mdcbass Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Seacoast of NH
    Are there any breaks/repairs in the neck or heel?
     
  17. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The scroll seems unusual. I'd like to see a clearer pic of that. The tuners also seem to be poorly fit. You may have a replacement neck.

    Edit: It didn't break, apparently, I was looking at the fingerboard holes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
    Barry Snow likes this.
  18. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    a few more images
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Yes, I'd say that's an old Englehardt neck. It broke and it's been poorly repaired. Best practice would include a complete rebuild of the top block and a new fingerboard. You may be able to save the neck, but you can't really tell till it's apart, because there could be hidden nastiness.
     
    Barry Snow and james condino like this.
  20. mortar

    mortar

    Mar 18, 2008
    Do you think that there are dowels or screws (god forbid) under those dark circles on the fingerboard by the neck joint?
     

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