The
Bass and cello registry

Bass of the Month

Our friend Kyle Perkins in Kentucky found this rare bird for sale in Maryland. This otherwise standard-spec M-1 from 1950, from the family of the original owner, carries the distinctive difference of its Silvertone tailpiece badge, the first I’ve seen.

Kay started supplying instruments to Sears before it was called Kay, and by 1940 its basses were appearing in America’s biggest catalog too, remaining on offer till Sears abandoned the strings market in ’59.

Kay’s OEM business volume varied somewhat through the years, but it was a major component till the distributor and consumer catalogs began to ebb in the late ’50s. Those OEM customers with their own brands typically preferred that the instruments come with no Kay badging or identifying labels, and we see that with this example as well. If you’ve heard the rumor that Kay inspectors simply neglected to put ID labels into a lot of basses, I can say conclusively that it’s just not true.

The badge itself is plastic and glued to the tailpiece, unlike the metal Kay badges that are pinned into the wood. We can see in the photos why so few of these have survived.
Thanks Kyle for the tip!

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