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For Sale REDUCED PRICE! 1938 Kay Orchestra Model Upright Bass

Discussion in 'For Sale: Double Basses' started by frede, Jan 20, 2019.


  1. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    Price:
    $2000
    Strings:
    4
    Location:
    Maryland
    She’s a Kay Orchestra Model Double Bass, Serial No. 3955 registered at KAYBASS.COM. She was born in 1938 and has a warm tone with the bow and a growly tone with long sustain when plucked. The tuners are a combination of nickel and brass and black dipped sideplates, no engraving. About five years ago I had Brobst Violin set her up with a David Brobst adjustable bridge, Revolution SOLO Pickup and Obligato strings among other things. The neck has been reset (shim behind the neck heel between the heel and button), to increase the over stand/neck angle. She has a nice thick Ebony fingerboard so the neck profile is deeper than some other Kays.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    GlenParks and jmain like this.
  2. CayGee

    CayGee

    Feb 21, 2018
    Massachusetts
    just lovely... is she a 4/4?
     
  3. CayGee

    CayGee

    Feb 21, 2018
    Massachusetts
    you'll have to forgive me, I'm a little new to the game. After thinking about it, I think 'Orchestra Model' would most likely be a 4/4.
     
  4. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    I thinks she's a 3/4, how can we be sure?
     
  5. CayGee

    CayGee

    Feb 21, 2018
    Massachusetts
    well, I can measure my 3/4 bass around the waist and upper/lower bouts and overall body height, maybe we can compare. Get back to you! In the meantime maybe someone will come along and offer some advice on how to tell, 'really'.
     
  6. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    She's the same size as my Engelhardt EM-1 which is a 3/4, but much heaver.
     
  7. CayGee

    CayGee

    Feb 21, 2018
    Massachusetts
    ah OK. Thanks so much - !
     
  8. CayGee

    CayGee

    Feb 21, 2018
    Massachusetts
    Thank you Don - very informative, I appreciate the help!
     
    dhergert likes this.
  9. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    All Kay basses are either 3/4 or 1/4.
     
    rknea likes this.
  10. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    That's what I thought
     
  11. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    Thanks Steven, got anything interesting in your database about her?
     
  12. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    #3955 was first registered with us in July of 2000 by an owner in Pittsburgh. With no ID tag it was probably sold OEM through a catalog operation or Gretsch.

    Here's my boilerplate on the Orchestra:
    Designed for orchestral students, the Orchestra series was very popular before the war, but was essentially discontinued by 1944. It is characterized by its gamba shape, standard edge pinstriping, ebonized maple fingerboard and appointments, and frequently European-style wood-peg tuning machines and wood endpin. The model was originally marketed under the K-Meyer brand and sold OEM under the Gretsch marque, later distributed under the Kay, Old Kraftsman and Kustom Kraft brands as well. I estimate total O production in the 1,800-2,000 range.
     
  13. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    That doesn't sound like my base. No wood-peg tuning machines and my luthier has tried to convince me to shave my thick ebony fingerboard down because it's beveled and so thick.
     
  14. anightintunisia

    anightintunisia Supporting Member

    Has the bass been refinished at some point?
     
  15. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Yes, this bass has been refinished for over 20 years; it also has a fingerboard upgrade, and increased overstand.
     
  16. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I'd recommend keeping the fingerboard as is, most players prefer the thickness, and the Romberg bevel is important for bowing.
     
  17. frede

    frede Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fort Washington, MD
    She sounds great! I wouldn't change anything.
     
  18. anightintunisia

    anightintunisia Supporting Member

    Curious why basses get refinished.
     

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