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Typical Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by lonote, Feb 21, 2005.


  1. After 40 years of EBG, I finally took the plunge. I play in a jump blues band and my bandmates had been nudging me to get an DB. I stumbled onto an old Kay ("Kay Bass Viol" Model M-3, Serial # 55467, says the sticker) 1/2 size, laminated instrument. It is in very good shape BUT it lacks a soundpost and needs new strings and a bag (not to mention a pickup). The bag and strings don't worry me but the soundpost, to my untrained eye, looks like it could be a problem but not a serious or expensive problem. Can somebody give me some idea what I should expect to pay to have a soundpost installed? Is it something I should consider doing myself considering that I have been playing and working on electrics for 40 years? Otherwise, the bass is in what I would call very good condition. I paid $300, which appeared to be stupid cheap even considering the repair. Did I get fleeced or am I the shrewd buyer I like to think I am?
     
  2. Jazzman

    Jazzman

    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Don't do it yourself. And don't have tension on the strings without it. Working on a double bass is not at all like a guitar. My luthier would charge about $80-110 to fit a new soundpost.
     
  3. Jazzman

    Jazzman

    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
  4. Thanks, I should have had enough sense to loosen the strings without your direction. I suppose that little tidbit, alone, answers my DIY question!
     
  5. Packinmn

    Packinmn

    Jun 21, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Hey Lonote... you are in for some really enjoyable pain figuring out how to play (and then amplify!!!) that old girl... I can go from one gig wondering why I ever bothered to the next thinking it's really coming together for me!

    Quinn Violins, an excelllent internet DB resource, is actually a local one for us. I've had my Kay there a couple of times. They seem to have a greater apprecaition for the orchestra types, but they'll gladly work on your bass. Billy Black knows a guy who worked at a shop in Golden Valley who was more of a plywood guy, but I guess his current availability is uncertain. You know how to find me... let me know if I can help. I've been through a bunch of stuff already, so I might be able to help you shortcut some lessons-learned. See you 'round.
     
  6. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    NJ
    There was a guy working in Golden Valley named Steve Benefeld who does great work on basses no matter what the level of instrument.He was working for a guy named Vlad at All Strings Attached. Think they moved in the last year or so, have the number somewhere. Would highly recommend looking for Steve, great work and fair prices.
     
  7. Thanks, Jimmy...you can bet I'll be asking for your advice and opinions. Also, thanks Largemouth for the tip about the guy in Golden Valley; it looks like you and Jimmy are talking about the same guy...now it's a matter of finding him! I found Quinn's site the other day and noticed it was a local shop. Thanks again guys!
     
  8. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    NJ
    Quinn's is a great place and Scott, the bass repair person is a really nice guy who does good work. He is usually more than willing to spend some time with you answering any questions you may have and he will let you know whether the repair is worth it or not. I would say you can't go wrong with either place.
     
  9. Packinmn

    Packinmn

    Jun 21, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    That is indeed the guy that I'd heard about. My comment about him being a "plywood guy" was only to say that from what I understand he has more of an appreciation for plywood instruments than some cats you'll come across. You're right... the word is that he's the guy regardless of ply/carved/hybrid/whatever.

    RE: Quinn -- I also agree... Scott has always been very kind to me and I have been real happy with the work they've done. Also, their strings prices are tough to beat especially considering you can drive there and pick them up today if you are really jonesin' to try something new!
     
  10. It's impossible to say without having a luthier check the bass. I think it was probably worth the risk whatever the outcome, as 3 bills is about as low a price you could expect to pay for ANY bass let alone an old Kay. Deserved or not they are fetching $2-3K in working order. Do a search in the Basses subforum with the words Kay and mojo, and you'll find a long thread with arguments pro and con on whether they're worth the hype. Sometimes the old kays have structural issues, need necks reset, new fingerboards, etc. so you could be looking at some money. Or not. Like I said, have a qualified luthier look it over and then you'll know how shrewd you were!
     
  11. I'll be going to Quinn's next week. This was one of those odd situations where I went into a Music-Go-Round (!) while waiting for my wife to get her hair done and stumbled across the thing. It was certainly worth a $300 gamble and I knew if I didn't buy it on the spot, it would be gone. It is as solid as a rock and has only a few dings, a few scratches and, of course, the missing soundpost. I have no doubt I got a great deal but I bought it to play, not for an investment. Thanks again for all your help and advice. It is good to see that the TB Double Bass forumites are every bit as helpful as their electric bass counterparts!