Authentically-Styled Waterslide Kay Logo Tailpiece Decals (Reproductions)

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  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Variety (main photo)
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Tribar Design
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Tribar Design on Tailpiece
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Script Design with Shadow
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Script with Shadow Design on Tailpiece
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Script Design without Shadow
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Yellow Oval Design
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Bronze Oval Design
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Bronze Oval Design on Tailpiece
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Shield Design
  • Authentically designed and printed waterslide decal logo for Kay Bass Tailpiece - Shield Design on Tailpiece
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Description

Over the years, Kay did sometimes (and sporadically) put a few different designs of colored decals on the tailpieces over the years. They were "waterslide" decals, very much like the ones that I used to put on my Snap-Tite model kits back in the 70s and 80s. Not all Kay basses got one, and if you've had to refinish or replace your tailpiece over the years, you may no longer have it (or maybe never did).

We provide an inexpensive vinyl "sticker" decal for those who'd like to have a "Kay" logo on their tailpiece to identify their old Kay Bass; but it's not made of the type of materials originally used for that sort of thing. So if you're particular about your bass having OEM-style badging, our vinyl option doesn't hold up to close scrutiny (but for those who just want a good-looking logo, it's still a cheap option!)

Our friend Steve over at KayBass.com -- for years, the foremost authority on the history of Kay Basses that the web has to offer -- has taken it upon himself to bring bassists a series of new, traditionally-styled reproduction tailpiece logo decals. These were carefully designed to be as authentic as possible, even including the "quirks" (like the fact that the bottom of the "y" gets "cut off" on a couple of the designs -- that's how the originals were done!) So if you're concerned about having your bass look "true to form," a real waterslide decal like these, modeled after the actual original labels, is definitely preferable to our "stick on" option.

This repro is professionally silkscreened and finished, the same way the original decals were made. Most of them are colored with bronze powder (again, for the closest reproduction of the original decals from Kay.) So, there's no home-based inkjet printing happening here, these are the real deal!

Decals are easily installed on any standard tailpiece, whether made of ebony, rosewood, jatoba, "ebonized" maple, etc. Simply dip in water to release the decal from the paper, and slide it into position. Gently dab to remove excess water, and allow to dry. Done! Full instructions are included, and there are several videos on the internet with information how to apply a waterslide decal.

They are permanent, though I suppose that if you later change your mind, you could "scrape" it off with some effort (but not without some likely surface scratching/damage to the tailpiece) -- so make sure you really want to do it... before you do it.

Gollihur Music is one of very few trusted retailers that Steve from KayBass.com has partnered with to provide these very special reproduction decals.

As I mentioned, installation instructions are included, but of course, the tailpiece is not - you can buy one of ours or supply your own.

Which one should you choose?

Well, a few things to know and share, first:

  1. The decals were never applied onto Supreme (and Swingmaster) series instruments. So S-1, S-9, and other variants didn't ever wear one of these decals from the factory.
  2. Also, Kay had a tendency to not be terribly consistent with such details, and usage of various decals may have overlapped or been omitted over the years, even for basses within the serial number ranges mentioned below.
  3. Finally, if your bass has had a tailpiece replacement over the years -- before you owned it, or after -- it may have sometimes worn a decal that wasn't original to the instrument as a result.

So ultimately, use the list below as a loose guide -- but don't get too hung up on the serial number ranges listed, as there may be many "correct" exceptions to the rules. And if you're not particularly concerned with being 100% date accurate (as if that were even possible, with the loosey-goosey way the decals were originally administered), I suggest you just choose the decal you like the most, aesthetically, and go with that one.

All of the above said, here's a breakdown of the designs that are available, and what basses they were used on:

Tribar Design

This was the earliest decal, which was also used on some guitars, banjos and mandolins.

  • Maestro models, serial numbers 2700-11500
  • Concert models, serial numbers 3100-7300
  • O-100 models, serial numbers 5100-end

Script Design with Shadow

This was also used on some guitars.

  • Maestro models, serial numbers 10330-12000
  • Concert models, serial numbers 7300-12400
  • M-1W models, serial numbers 6800-7500

Script Design WITHOUT Shadow

The version with the shadow preceded this version, and it's unclear when the style changed or whether it was consistently applied. The version without the shadow is more common.

  • Maestro models, serial numbers 12400-16000
  • Concert models, serial numbers 12400-16000
  • M-1W models, serial numbers 7000-end

Yellow Oval Design

This was also used on some guitars, cellos, and banjos.

  • Maestro models, serial numbers 16000-20000
  • Concert models, serial numbers 16000-20500
  • O-1 models, all serial numbers

Bronze Oval Design

This is not an original design, but rather a more "understated" version of the yellow oval that some players may prefer over the "brighter" yellow design.

Shield Design

This was also used on some guitars, cellos, and banjos.

  • Maestro models, serial numbers 20000-27000
  • Concert models, serial numbers 20500-27000
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