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What new off the rack bass sounds most like an old Kay or Harmony?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MichelD, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    As the title states: What new off the rack bass sounds most like an old Kay or Harmony?

    I've never owned a Fender bass. I had a Rickenbacker 4001 when I was in a cover band in the 1970s.

    Right now I have two Raven electric basses, a fretless and a fretted, an upright bass and a Danelectro reissue Baritone guitar. Raven was a brand put on cheaper Japanese instruments imported into Canada in the 1970s. Mine resemble Jazz basses but with two small humbucking pickups. For some reason, each of mine have only one working pickup. They have a big round sound when plugged in though.

    I'm feeling an itch for something with that thuddy vintage cheap hollow body bass sound, even a Stuart Sutcliffe Hofner might be cool to try. but even those formerly cheap basses have skyrocketd in price so I'm wondering which of the reissues more closely approximate that sound they got?
    Old Blastard likes this.
  2. @MichelD

    First thing I'd suggest is flatwound or tapes on any of your basses.
    Paul LF likes this.
  3. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    Thanks. I've got really old dead strings on my fretless already.
  4. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    I love those old Harmony H22's and am a fan of that old Ronnie "Plonk" Lane tones. I used to own a violin bass (Epi Viola) and it nailed it very close with a good set of flats on it. I suspect most violin basses would do it with flats, favouring the neck PU. Try the Epi Viola or a Hofner Icon Violin or club bass (if you don't like the violin shape). Isn't the H22 back in production now?
    Paul LF likes this.
  5. They've made reissues of both of those basses, but I don't have any experience playing any of them. I've had GAS for a hollow-body bass since I started playing bass almost 30 years ago, and finally was able to get one last year with a Douglas violin bass from Rondo music, that I paid only $99 for on sale. I know what you mean about that sound. I love that music from the mid 60's like the Beatles, Animals, Yardbirds, early Rolling Stones etc. where they used those a lot. If they don't have those reissues anymore, I know Ibanez makes a couple of hollow and semi-hollow body basses, so doe Epiphone and Hofner has some stuff, as well. There's some company called Waterstone Waterstone Guitars ::: Nashville TN that looks interesting. I've never got to play any of these, but I'd like to check them out, as well.
  6. Indeed. I really need to get a set for my violin bass. The rounds that came with it just don't sound right to me. It's not bad, but they don't have that particular sound you'd expect with a hollow-body, at least to me.
  7. La Bella do a set of flats just for violin basses. Biggest trouble I've found is modern amps,they're far too clean.
    Paul LF likes this.
  8. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    IMG_1484.JPG Kay 162 Reissue.
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    A short-scale hollowbody with flats going into a tube head is the sound you're looking for. My fav bass player for that sound was Phil "Fang" Volk of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Dude was a bass monster if there ever was one. His weapon of choice (for most songs back then) was a Hofner Club.

    I've got an Epiphone Viola with a set of really broken in flats that comes pretty close with the right EQ and a hint of reverb. But if you've got cash to spare a real Hofner (as in their inexpensive Ignition series) will get you there as well as the real deal. Checkout Mike League on a 500/1 below. Plenty of thud and "gwump" to fit the bill. I'm surprised you don't see more Hofners used with blues-themed music.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    Bill Whitehurst, MCF and Paul LF like this.
  10. That's pretty cool. :cool:
  11. What not just get an old Kay or Harmony? Dig this guy's collection:
    bass-flyer, Paul LF and swafran like this.
  12. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    I have never seen one for sale here in Vancouver, BC, and there's no way I'd buy one without trying it out.
  13. Pocket4

    Pocket4 Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Eastwood might be the ticket, but I haven't found the one in their stable.
    mbell75 likes this.
  14. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    EPI EB bass...(oh and a bad setup from the store)...then you are ready to go.
  15. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    I'd try a junior jet gretsch because they are cheap and great for country and blues
  16. cashpoor51

    cashpoor51 Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    new jersey
    I never played one but have seem them up close
    Theres a company Called Musicvox basses
  17. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    I started off on a loaned Kay bass much like this one. Had incredibly high action and was strung with flats. It truly brought on the "thunk". :D
    Sorry that I can't give any first hand advice for getting a new, off the shelf model which would give you that native sound and feeling.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    ajn likes this.
  18. Lvjoebass

    Lvjoebass In Memoriam

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hagstrom formerly made in Sweden are USA now,made Kent back in the day. Also pickups for a lot of cheap basses. Pretty reasonable for new ones. Hendrix, Dave mason used one on all along the watchtower if that be sound your after
  19. Heisenbass

    Heisenbass Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2014
    Berlin, Germany
    Epiphone Allen Woody RumbleKat w/ flats and foam should do the trick.
    M.R. Ogle, MCF and pudgychef like this.
  20. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    Be careful what you wish for - those Kay and Harmony basses were awful when they were new. I worked at a music store and we couldn't sell them at any price.

    If you want off-beat cool bass from that era, try and find a Hagstrom (especially an 8 string) or an EKO bass (if I recall correctly, those were made in Italy).
    kodiakblair likes this.

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