Wood endpins for a Kay bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AlanSanJoseBass, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. AlanSanJoseBass


    Feb 9, 2020

    Since January, I have been lucky enough to have purchased 2 Kay basses, a 1951 C-1 and a 1963 M-3. I was bassless for a time and was thrilled to find both basses that I really wanted. After reading parts of the Chuck Traeger book on setting up a bass, I opted to replace both endpins with wood dowels. The C-1 now has a hardwood 5/8 inch dowel and the M-3 has a maple 1/2 inch dowel. Both have rubber stoppers on the ends. Because of the Covid19 situation, I have been unable to play bluegrass with friends, so both are untested. The M-3 formally had a flimsy mahogany? endpin and the C-1 had a heavy metal endpin with a large rubber stopper (almost like a small doorstop) on the end. Will these changes improve my sound and volume, or should I have left things alone? Thanks for your help.
    armybass likes this.
  2. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The answer is that replacing a steel endpin with a wooden one can change the instrument's voice in positive ways, given the right setup. The material, its length, how well it fits, its thickness and responsiveness, as well as the material of the receiver, are all small but still influential variables, and then you have floors and floor coverings to factor in as well.

    One thing I've wondered about is whether we talk more about wood endpins since we generally stopped using the metal ones in their intended manner, spiked into a wooden stage floor.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  3. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    I don't think it made a lick of difference in the sound, but my wood endpin is great, if for no other reason than it's tall enough for me! Which the stock Kay pin wasn't... I also inadvertently carved a slight angle into mine, which I thought was a mistake, but turns out it's kinda nice since, rotated the right way, the endpin stays a little more vertical when I lean the bass over. :thumbsup:
  4. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I love mine that a friend made out of Osage Orange wood.

    Attached Files:

    marcox, unbrokenchain and Drew Tanner like this.
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've been using wood endpins for about 10 years. No question that it improved the sound. I've tried a few different woods and that makes a difference too. They don't last forever, bit it's worth it to me.
    james condino and John Chambliss like this.
  6. 210superair


    Sep 10, 2019
    Are all Kay endpins the same? Mine is not a spike, it's a big fat, flat ended rod. Has it been changed? My Eastman is skinny with a spike, which I honestly hate, because it destroys whatever you put it on, so I have a superball on the end like most. It's easier. I prefer the Kay pin with a crutch tip on it, easier to deal with. I've never tried a wood pin.... Seen um about but generally the only thing I replace if not broken are strings... and I'm pretty bad about that too...lol.
  7. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    The Kay pins I've seen have a spike on one end and are flat on the other.
    unbrokenchain and james condino like this.
  8. Ed S

    Ed S

    Nov 14, 2019
    I read about the wooden pins and toyed w/ the idea, but decided that would be more significant for someone playing jazz/classical, or recording, than my BG thumping - especially on my ply bass. I'm sure more practice would improve my bass' sound way more than a wooden pin! :D
    210superair likes this.
  9. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Kay supplied two standard endpin sets for basses, in wood and steel. The wood pins were not spiked. The more common steel pins shipped with the business end sharpened. I've seen quite a few that were either modified or turned around for a flat end. This helps prevent it driving through a rubber tip, at least for a while.
    unbrokenchain and 210superair like this.
  10. Ed S

    Ed S

    Nov 14, 2019
    I've periodically considered having my wife install a nice new endpin to replace my notched rod on my Engle, but I never felt like asking her to ream out a new opening (and, being a cheapass Polack, I shied from the expense.)

    Have been impressed at how much nicer it is to adjust my endpin with the replacement thumbscrew from Gollihur.

    Seriously, if you have that crappy little oval silver-colored thumbscrew, this is the biggest/cheapest improvement you can make to your bass!
    marcox likes this.