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The BIG Reason

Music, opinions, and portfolio of Mark Eagleton, musician and web developer in Northern CA.

King Moretone tuner plate
Made by the H.N. White Company, Cleveland OH.

My New Bass

I took the plunge. Check out my 1961 King Moretone!

My life is complete! I finally have an instrument that suites me. It is a 1961 King Moretone. I bought it from Steve Swan in Burlingame.

This is the first King I have ever played. Not to be confused with King Doublebass in Huntington Beach, the King Moretone was made by the H.N. White Company who made double basses from 1934 to 1965 in Cleavland. The factory was taken over by Kay in 1965, and the line was discontinued.

King basses share a similar history with Kay. They are both are American factory built basses marketed towards students, both companies started building basses in the 1930s, both lines are very durable, but King basses are much higher quality and have a much richer tone. The idea of owning a classic American instrument is very appealing to me, but I wanted something a bit nicer than a Kay.

In my last post, I went into detail about all the things I was looking for in a bass. The King met all of these requirements, save one. It is loud, it has great tone, it has violin corners, it’s 7/8 scale, it’s light weight, it was within my budget, but it has a painted fingerboard. I plan to replace the fingerboard with future gig money.

I’ve played a few gigs with it already. It sounds great acoustic and pretty decent through my amp. The E and A strings are nickel wound gut, and sound a little too farty for slapping. I may replace these with all natural gut soon, but for now I'm enjoying their pizzicato growl and sustain.

Two bonuses that I really like about the bass are it’s narrow body, and King decals on the tailpiece and on the back below the neck joint. The top layer of spruce ply on the top has a really tight grain. The resonance is so good, I have to wonder if this grade was used on all the layers on the top. This bass is very easy on the eyes.

This is the most money I have ever spent on an instrument, but it is also the most satisfied I have ever been with an instrument. I finally feel I have found the other half of my music.