SOLD: Kay / Gretsch Double Bass, 1940


Hello! Thank you for viewing one of our SOLD double bass listings!  This instrument is no longer for sale, but check out what’s currently available in our list of Vintage and Used Double Basses. Upton Bass is also the proud builder of new custom upright basses at every price point. We want to help you find the perfect bass!  Contact us at or call the shop at +1 (860) 535-9399

Kay Model 89 Double Bass c1940 Serial 9497 

From “#9497 is a Kay Model 89 Built for Gretsch in our 1940 number bracket. Gretsch called it the Tone King.” 

This Kay came to us with simply a handwritten serial inside (seen before in really early Kays).  With the condition, we thought it may be an orphan from the Engelhardt / Kay auction in the early 70s – turns out it is registered with the site as a Model 89 – Very similar to the Kay C-1 but built for Gretsch (no Kay label). These rare 89s have a distinctive sunburst pattern, this one apparently has been resprayed to some extent.

SO – bottom line, a rare early 1940’s Gretsch version by Kay – not a 70’s Engelhardt!

A classic American plywood bass, ready for a new home. Realist pickup included.



A Kay Model 89 built for Gretsch in the early 40s!

Upton Bass String Instrument Co. specializes in building award-winning custom double basses and offers accessories for the double bass. Upton Bass also services all instruments and bows of the violin family with world class restoration and repair, to view our online restoration portfolio visit

Upton Bass is ready to offer advice and answer any questions regarding double basses or related bass topics. Please contact UB at or call the shop at +1 (860) 535-9399. Hours of operation Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm. The Workshop (The Barn) and showroom are located in Mystic, Connecticut conveniently between Boston and NYC.