This Selmer Kay restoration began with some fact finding: Selmer Kay? Kay thin body? These early deluxe version Kays are some of the rarest. We’ve serviced vast multitudes of Kays and haven’t seen a Selmer Kay even for a string change. In fact, our friends at the Kay Bass Registry haven’t seen one either! We were excited to work on this example in need of restoration. More Kay history HERE.
The bass was in rough structural shape. A broken bass bar lead to a partially collapsed top and back and badly deformed ff-holes. This was a perfect candidate for relamination – a plywood restoration, where the innermost plys are removed and a new ply substrate is set in place.
When gluing the innermost ply, the entire top or back plate can be re-pressed into its original curvature. On the left you can see the clean spruce ply and the newly re-arched top. No more buckling ff-holes! The picture at right shows the outer veneer glued to new substrate before outlining. You can see the deep figure of the outer veneer featured on this showpiece Selmer Kay.
With the new plys on the inside, we were careful to preserve the original label for its next century. That 1263 serial number marks this instrument as one of the very earliest of Kay basses. It’s fun to imagine the enthusiasm of this new company as they produced this “extra-fancy” version for the celebrated horn manufacturer. Little could they know of the thousands of Kay basses to follow!