Monday, July 27, 2009

Another rescue...

Well…we did it again…rescued another bass…rescue, recycle, restore…we love it!

This is Epiphone bass #1304 a B-4. This bass has been dormant for over 40 years. It was previously owned by a vagabond and given to his trusted friend as keepsake. That trusted friend is now down sizing and found us through a relative. We are happy to add this bass to our Epiphone family.
This bass is suffering from years of dis-use and has the battle scars of a troubled life, but we feel we can breathe new life back into this piece of history. The bass is very dry and the wood has aged way beyond is its 60 plus years of existence. We will put it inline for a full restore with hopes that we can bring this vintage beauty back into playable condition. It maybe a few years before we can hear it sing but our efforts are always rewarded when our basses can make joyful music once again.

Here is a full slide show...enjoy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Final touches...

We are working on the finishing touches…that includes a new custom volute. Many of the Kay basses lose one or both of the glued on volutes during a life time of playing. Replica volutes are available and we have used them but Lonnie wanted to try and make his own…more of an exact match.

He made a mold so he can make a positive and negative impression from the existing volute and closer match. This is an advantage we have by studying many American made plywood basses at one time. After you look at enough Kay’s you can see there are slight differences over the years of manufacturing. The current “two size fits all” replacement volutes were not satisfactory for Lonnie, so has decided to make his own… cool and very ambitious.

His first attempt is pretty darn impressive.

This bass is jam ready with only these few cosmetic details to finish.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Update on the 1953 Kay...

We are getting close to completion…Lonnie is pushing to make the bass playable for an upcoming jam/camping weekend. Yesterday he spent the day on set up and finishing the bridge. I test drove it last evening but found the action a bit high for the Thomastik Dominant strings so he is lowering the string height for me, just a little bit.

The bass is LOUD and has a nice growl. We tested the volume and it pushed 82 decibels at five feet…that is loud for a Kay…usually that volume comes from an American Standard or an Epiphone…this must be one of THOSE Kay’s…a good one.

Lonnie's brainstorm modifications either worked or this is just a good Kay bass…or both. The lightening of the tailpiece and the bridge definitely did not hurt the volume. We will take it on a real test drive out under the moon and stars to see what others think of the sound and tone. I know I am already happy…we have rescued, recycled and restore another fine American made plywood bass…nothing better then to save a few new trees and an old plywood bass...we both love this stuff!!!

More to come.