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please help identify these old shortscale flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by herb nice, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. herb nice

    herb nice

    Sep 5, 2011
    Canada, eh?
    I am trying to identify a potentially ancient set of flatwound strings. They came installed on a '68 Kay k2b, which was incredible shape, hardly played at all.

    They are 30.5"-32" scale, almost as pliable as modern ti jazz flats of similar scale, and appear to be slightly narrower gauge.

    They are shinier than modern ti's or chromes, except the g string, which is tarnished and a bit stickier in feel. They have no silks, the barrels are very narrow, and there is a white (nylon?) fiber inside the strings. The headstock end has a copper wrap. The surface is very slightly ridged, but still smooth and polished feeling to the touch.

    Anyway, they play like butter and sound like heaven. I'd love to find out what they are. Thumpy and full, no midrange bump like chromes or tis, but still deliciously vocal. With a mute, they sound incredible.






  2. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Those look like Pyramid Golds, judging by the wrap.
  3. herb nice

    herb nice

    Sep 5, 2011
    Canada, eh?
    Thanks Gary.

    I've played plenty of flats, but never Pyramids. If that's what these are, they are fan-f'n-tastic. Combined with that Kay's neck single coil, it's indescribably warm and fat and mean, but full and defined. The sound feels like my favorite skate-rock tapes of my youth. But less ******. Never been able to nail that one before, and totally stoked on it.

    May have to pick up some Pyramids and try them on the sg one day...
  4. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I am not familiar with their short scale strings, or if they even make them, but my long (34") scale Pyramid Golds always had lavender silk ...
  5. Kay being a Chicago, Il instrument manufacturer. Willie Dixon played a Kay double bass violin on all of his now world famous Chess Records recordings. If these are the factory stock strings installed in 1968 they may very well be from the now defunkt V.C. Squier Co. of Battle Creek, MI. Leo Fender bought the company, and CBS shut it down sometime in the early 1970's. It makes perfect sense that V.C. Squier would have a good business relationship with both Kay and Kalamazoo.
  6. herb nice

    herb nice

    Sep 5, 2011
    Canada, eh?
    Thanks for chiming in, folks!

    Those strings don't have silks. Previous owner may have stripped them, but my gut says they didn't have any to begin with. There is something going on inside the string with silk or nylon though. That's the only similarity they have to TIs, though.

    This particular Kay looks very much like it was manufactured by Teisco in Japan, it has a plywood neck in addition to a plywood body which seem to be Teisco signatures, let alone the sketchy-looking bridge. I could be wrong, my information is just internet hearsay.

    It was certainly not a high-end instrument at the time, but it is a very nice playing and sounding survivor nonetheless. I am gonna cut work and go play it right now.