Hey guys, I thought I would post something about my recently acquired Alcoa Aluminum bass, and my attempts to polish it up. I know we are only supposed to post about basses on this forum and some might consider this to have more in common with a bumper or boat than an upright, but ah well!
I got this bass a few weeks ago and it had been stripped and somewhat sanded. Since the original finish was gone anyway, my plan was to polish the aluminum and see how much of a chrome-like shine I could get. Here it is when I got it.
The bass was made in 1934, and I want to thank James Condino for being very generous with his time and knowledge and giving me advice on how to tackle this project.
It has brass German tuning gears that are really cool, and have that old antique brass look. I took them off, and I am not
sure if I am going to clean them up or not. Everyone says to leave old brass and silver tarnished, and they look cool and function perfectly. Here they are.
Before I tore down the bass, I put a Krivo magnetic pickup on it and a wireless unit and did a couple of shows with my country band. One of the sound men told me after a show, "That bass looks wrong but it sure sounds right!"
Ha! I bet a lot of you on this forum would not agree, but I must say for that band the bass sounded really good in the mix, and with the mag pickup I had no worries about feedback on a big hollow stage with really hot monitors.
Here is me having fun with aluminum. It's not as dirty as it sounds.
Anyway, I did a lot of research on how to polish aluminum, and let me tell you, it's not for the faint of heart. Basically it involves about ten different levels of sanding and polishing with power tools and buffing wheels and compounds, and then lots of polishing and buffing with aluminum polish (i'm using Mother's and Mequiar's). With this method, you just have to put in the hours and hope for the best!
Here are a few pics of the progress I am making. I started with the back as an experiment. I learned a lot and applied that to one of the sides, which came out far better. Today I got close to finishing the sanding on the front and other side, and I did quite a it of sanding on the peg and scroll.
It hasn't had the final "white" compound applied yet. After that it will be polished and buffed several times with Aluminum polish. It will get much shinier after that.
Just thought I would share. I will update with more pictures when I get the polishing going.