It seems that the world has been going through “vintage
withdrawal” lately, with the prices of anything remotely
classic skyrocketing, and with companies scrambling to
recreate that retro sound. Extinct brand names are bought
up, new/old guitars are released using labels like reissue
and vintage, with not much of a nod to the tone, quality of
the build, or design consideration of the instruments of the
past. The folks over at Kay seem to have the solution for
the classic bass tone addicts out there, and it comes in the
shape of the K162 Pro Bass. And guess what? They didn’t
have to go very far to do it.
Kay has been around for a long, long time, making guitars
since 1890, and have been continually in business since. Their
early guitars were primarily a value brand, but they have
also offered higher-end models including the Twin Thin, the
Jazz and Pro electric bass models—the Kay Pro bass was the
second electric bass on the market, following the Fender
Precision. Kay guitars have found a cult-like following among
tone junkies, notably T-Bone Burnett and Sean Hurley. There’s
nothing like the sound of an original, right? Or is there?
Appointments and Features
When the bass arrived for me to review, I was genuinely
impressed. It was like turning the corner and seeing a restored
’ 57 Chevy parked in the street. You can’t help but take a closer look and ask a few questions. It felt great in my hands, and
it was evident that the people who designed this bass have
something many other builders don’t have—respect for what
came before. The bass was well finished with smooth, even
frets, slick little inlays, and the K162V was set up great right
out of the case. It did have some “mystery” objects inside,
which sounded like small bits of gravel as I picked the bass up.
I’m hoping this was due to shipping, and not manufacture.