1960s Kay K5965 Electric Bass Guitar

Ah, yes, the Howlin' wolf bass, right? Flat, hollowbody build, single blade pickup, "tone" switch (which engages a capacitor to darken the tone), short scale, extremely-cool looks, and big-old neck with super-thick fretboard. Yes, these are awesome. Yes, it's also pretty clean compared to the usual state of these models when they come through the shop.

This one's in for consignment and dates to the very late '50s or very early '60s, judging by its features. It's completely original and, after giving it a neck reset and glorified setup, it plays perfectly and will be good to go for the long-haul of the future. Heck, the owner even has a nicely played-in set of flatwound strings on it -- the perfect fit for this type of bass.

What these sound like is an electric interpretation of upright flavor -- warm, round, tubby, and full -- with a bit of upper-mids mwah thrown-in. It's why they're so popular.

Repairs included: a neck reset (it'd had a botched attempt at one in the past), fret level/dress, cleaning, extra compensation of the original bridge, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays bang-on with a 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret and the neck is straight. The bridge has more than enough action adjustment room for setup to taste.

Scale length: 30 7/8"
Nut width: 1 7/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 3/16"
String spacing at bridge: 1 3/4"
Body length: 19 1/8"
Lower bout width: 15"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 10 5/8"
Side depth at endpin: 2 3/4"
Body wood: ply flamed maple
Neck wood: ply flamed maple
Fretboard: thick rosewood
Bridge: adjustable rosewood
Neck feel: deep C/U shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: the finish has the usual weather-check throughout and an average amount of usewear for its age, though its pretty dang clean for its model. A lot of these have flaking and distressed finish. There are some nicks and scratches that are more obvious on the back, however. The headstock has the very-cool (and not-always-seen) tortoise veneer on its front face, too. The D-string tuner has a bent shaft. There's a filled strap button hole on the upper-bout shoulder and a non-original (but vintage-looking) strap button at the bottom of the heel.


Nick R said…
Shown as retailing for $150 in 1960. Those white plastic plates suggest it is from about that time- earlier ones have a tortoiseshell plastic. With the passage of many decades,Kay now equals Kool!
Jake Wildwood said…
They had white from '58-on as I recall, tort before that, yep.