Restoring an old king bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by minguslives, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Hello, I'm one of the newbies here. I've been taking lessons for about 2 months, using a rental instrument. I just recently bought a 1935 HN White King bass project for restoration from a seller on Ebay. I did whatever research I could to verify its authenticity, and it seems like the real deal. However, I could still have been fooled. I will post pics soon, and would appreciate opinions from other members, including luthiers, as to the potential for this bass. Fortunately, it did not cost me the earth, so even if it is a dud, I'm OK.
  2. Ok,
    So I went and picked up the bass from the seller, which involved a 2.5 hr drive to Indiana. I had some trepidation when I saw it initially, since it seemed small, and I wondered if it was not a 3/4 size bass. So I came home, measured it. It is about 73 1/2 in. high. There is no bridge, nut, soundpost, endpin or tailpiece. Fortunately the bass bar is present. "String length" seems to be 42.5 in, when measured from the top of fingerboard, to the notches in the ffs. I looked at the neck, and instantly knew it was a replacement, because of the rosewood fingerboard.(Kings had ebony fingerboards) I looked in, and it has the H N White King sticker. It is serial # 2734. It obviously has signs of old age, with some chipping of the edges. Pics will be posted over the next couple of days, once I get some good natural light.
  3. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I'm curious as to what you paid...
    With those measurements it is definately a 3/4- it's actually slightly larger than my Engalhardt 3/4. Sounds like a neat project.
  4. I paid $425. I would have had to pay only $355, but there was this other bidder who upped it, and won it at $430. Only later did he realize that the seller would not ship to CA, which was where he lived- even though the seller had clearly stated this. So bcos of this person, I paid $70 more. :eyebrow:
  5. That's still not a bad deal at the price you paid if you don't mind the "fixer-upper" current status. If it looks like it never had any bad damage, you will have a plywood classic for a very reasonable price, once you do the fix-up. I've seen a few of the old Kings and they were on the long-stringed side for 3/4 instruments. Sort of tallish in the body and a little narrower in the lower bouts if I remember correctly. The ones I saw sounded distinctly more resonant and less thuddy than most Kays that I've seen. :)
  6. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    From info that others have given me, you have a King from the late 40's to possibly 1950. I'd like to see the pics, too. Congrats on a nice find. It doesn't sound like too bad of a fixer upper if all you need is a good setup.

  7. Well here are the pictures that I took. Some of them are blurred bcos I'm a dufus as far as my digital camera skills go! However, to clarify, she needs much more than a mere setup. This is most likely a pretty major restoration, that will need a good luthier's TLC. I'm thinking of taking her to either Steve Reiley of Guarneri House, in Grand Rapids, MI, or to Scott Tribby in Kalamazoo, MI. Since only 2 pics are allowed per post, i'll send 3-4 posts.
    Pic 1 is the back, near neck joint, with the King logo branded on the wood. Pic 2 is a chipped edge

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  8. some more pics

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  9. more pics- front and back

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  10. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    That bass does not look that bad, I have seen much, much worse come back to life.