The
Bass and cello registry

Frequently Asked Questions

What is my instrument worth?

Market value of these instruments varies depending on presentation, playability and location. The Registry can provide you with an expert assessment of the market value or insurance value.
Contact us for more information.

Why is documenting my instrument important?

By sharing details of the construction and history of your instrument, you help us understand more about them more generally, and by archiving this information we can help you in the event of an insurance claim or theft. It’s also potentially useful to future owners and repairers.

Register your instrument for a complete confirmation of the instrument’s age, authenticity and details of its place in the production history.

How old is my instrument?

The main way to determine when a given bass or cello was built is its serial number. Derived from over 25 years of research, the Registry serial-number list is the standard reference for dating Kay instruments. You can view the list here.

Your instrument may not have an apparent serial number, or you may be considering purchase of an instrument and have no access to the number. Details of construction and finish can help determine a more approximate production date. Contact the Registry with any available details for an age estimate.

Register your instrument for a complete confirmation of the instrument’s age, authenticity and details of its place in the production history

How do I find my serial number?

We usually find the instrument’s ID label by looking through the bass-side f-hole. It sometimes appears on the treble side. While many basses never had a label, nearly all have a build number handwritten or inkstamped in the same area. This is usually the same as the serial number. Early numbers written in pencil can be faded and difficult to read, or obscured by dust. A good light and a stiff artist’s brush can help reveal the number.

Register your instrument for a complete confirmation of the instrument’s age, authenticity and details of its place in the production history.

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