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Strings for '47 Kay?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Tenbrooks, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. Tenbrooks


    Nov 26, 2011
    Magnolia, TX
    I recently purchased a '47 Kay M-1 bass for bluegrass (no bow needed):cool:. I have no idea what brand strings are on it now but they are metal.

    What strings would be a good fit for this bass? I've been told Obligatos or Euro Sonic lights would be a good choice. What say you?

    I plan to have the following work done on it to get it into optimum playablility:

    plain the fingerboard
    replace fixed saddle w/ new adjustable saddle
    replace the cable w/ aircraft 3/32" cable
    repair several chips and areas w/ delaminate
    lower the strings for bluegrass style playing
    add side position "dots" to fingerboard

    I wish to purchase the strings before the work is started.

  2. Congratulations on your new old bass, and please allow me to be he first to ask you to post pictures. We like those around here. Your ideas to tweak your new baby to perfection are good, but a few thoughts.

    I don't know what an adjustable saddle is. Do you mean to say the bridge?

    Is the fingerboard worn, grooved or otherwise damaged? I will tackle pretty much any repair a plywood bass is likely to need, and you won't see me taking a blade to a fingerboard. It's work for a master and costly to fix an inexperienced repair person's mistakes.

    Dots along the fingerboard are a crutch. I swore I couldn't play a fretless bass the 20 years I played slab bass before picking up the doghouse, but as it turns out I could. Almost. Learn the neck and develop your ear. Sooner or later you will play in the dark or accompany someone whose whole instrument is out of tune.

    I have a '51 Kay that responds well to low tension strings. Mine wears gut D and G and Thomastik Spirocore steel A and E, which last forever and have a good strong sound. They're bright at fiOrst but eventually settle down and match well with gut for the next decade or so. Like many of us, you will probably find yourself buying and trying a bunch of strings before finding a set that works. Used strings are available in the classifieds and are an economical way to experiment or get some of your money back when an experiment goes bust.

    Find a teacher, and have fun!
  3. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Don't. Let a pro set you up.
    No need unless you're going to install something like a Fishman Full Circle pickup
    Only necessary if you have a stiff tail wire. If it does need replacing, the luthier who evaluates your fingerboard can do it better and less expensively at the time including setting the proper afterlength
    Can be done, but tricky
    Yes, an adjustible bridge can facilitate this, but only on a bridge with the proper foot width, overall height, crown, thickness and taper, string spacing, etc.
    Please don't. As you're going to have to watch the rest of the guys to keep together, you're not going to have time to look at the dots. Learn your positions by feel with a good teacher.
  4. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choiceâ„¢ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Either strings would work well on a Kay bass for bluegrass. The Eurosonics will have more of a gut-like sound and work better for slapping (if that's your thing). Obligatos will have more growl and the metal outer wrap feels more like a steel string. Although you said you would not be bowing, Obligatos will work well in this regard should you ever decide to try wheras Eurosonics do not bow well at all.

    I've veen using Obligatos on my '49 Kay for years and they work well for a variety of styles. Best of luck with your new bass.

    - Steve
  5. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I really liked the sound of Innovation Super Silver strings on my Kay for bluegrass.
    You could use white out for temporary position markers until you have decided your preference for string height. A large change could put your dots out of the ballpark.
  6. Tenbrooks


    Nov 26, 2011
    Magnolia, TX
    OK, my first choice for strings will be the Innovation Super Silvers. I've read a lot of positive comments about using these for bluegrass so, here we go.............

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