Up for sale, a 1960 Kay Jazz Special Bass model K5970J in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Not to be confused with Kay's recent import reissues, this is a genuine vintage USA-made Kay, and an extremely rare model produced in very small quantities during its brief tenure as Kay's top-tier bass. Boasting a neck reset and a professional gloss Jet Black lacquer refinish, this bass presents extremely well with stock electronics, hardware, and of course the Kelvinator headstock badge.
Featuring a 15" wide fully hollow maple body paired with a maple neck and extremely thick slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard, this traditional tonewood compliment offers both great note attack and fullness. The single blade neck pickup delivers pillowy warmth with a nice wide quality and upper midrange articulation, and the sound stays very clear with good definition when the Tone control is rolled back. Playing near the bridge yields a tic-tac top end, and the breadth of the sound is accentuated by medium tension flatwound strings. Overall, there’s surprising cut and brightness to the sound, far more so than typically afforded a fully hollow, neck pickup-equipped instrument. The bass weighs 8lbs 2oz, dialed in for low action and optimal playability here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar.
The maple neck features an extremely thick Brazilian rosewood slab board about twice the thickness of most slabs and a particularly nice, dark cut of this hallowed tone wood. In large part given the fretboard depth, the neck carve is a hearty U-shaped profile measuring 1.131" deep at the 1st fret and tapering to 1.257" at the 9th. The original frets are intact, with more width than most fretwire in this era, boasting well-rounded crowns as well and exhibiting only light, uniform wear on the crowns of frets 1-5, fretting cleanly in every register. The original large side dots are present on the bass side of the fretboard, and the instrument was at one time configured for left-handed playing, the only evidence of which is smaller side dots on the treble side of the slab. The scale length measures 30 3/4", and the carved bone nut is just shy of 1 7/16" wide. The headstock is particularly imposing, with the distinctive raised Kay Kelvinator badge and original nickel clover button tuning machines that turn very smoothly.
The original electronics function as intended, with original pickup wired to CentraLab pots that date to the 40th week of 1960 and the original paper-in-oil tone capacitor. The original pickguard has a gold straw effect, ever much in-line with a '50s kitchen countertop of the era and a remarkable piece of Mid-Century texturing, fitted with the original pair of black DeArmond knobs. The adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge is original, and the action is low and easy-playing in every register with room for future lower adjustment at both bridge inserts. The stock nickel tailpiece is intact too. Cosmetically, the bass is extremely clean and the gloss Jet Black lacquer refinish was professionally executed at an unknown date in the past. Faint lacquer checking is isolated to the neck heel and back of the headstock, and there are just a few minor marks and light finish scratches on the instrument as a whole. The neck profile is extremely clean, glossy and smooth and free of palm wear.
A modern black tolex form-fit hardshell case is included.