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Aluminum Acoustic Double Bass Club

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dhergert, Apr 8, 2019.


  1. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Welcome!!! This is the Aluminum Acoustic Double Bass Club.

    This club is simply a long-term TalkBass/Double Bass/Basses [DB] forum thread that has been specifically created for sharing media, ideas and questions/answers about aluminum acoustic double basses. Two well known examples of these basses are those aluminum acoustic double basses made by Alcoa and by Pfretzschner in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There is currently also at least one modern maker who is making these basses too.

    Membership is optional here. If you would like a member number and to be posted as a member in the 2nd post of this thread, send me a private message indicating so. Ownership is required for membership, so please also include the name of the maker of your aluminum acoustic double bass as well as any description and/or any additional identifying features that you are comfortable sharing about it. I'll provide you with a club member number and I'll arrange to get your Talkbass user name, member number and aluminum acoustic double bass description posted in the 2nd post. Providing serial numbers (or Factory Order Numbers, Shipping Numbers, etc.) of your bass is encouraged but is not required for membership. Providing a picture of your bass is also encouraged, but not required for membership.

    In order to make this club thread more flexible and a little more like an actual forum, if you're making or replying to a post about a specific aluminum acoustic double bass sub-topic, please consider including a first line of "SUBJECT:" followed by a subject title. This will allow people to search the club thread for that sub-topic subject title. Posts without a "Subject:" line will be considered to be of a more general nature.

    The Aluminum Acoustic Double Bass Club is open for business!!!

    Please make yourself to home here!

    It is somewhat traditional for a double bass club to have a picture or pictures of a subject double bass in the first post. Here is a picture of my Alcoa and you are also welcomed to traverse my media pages to see the many other Alcoa-related pictures that I have online here in TalkBass.

    Alcoa #342-244 030120.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    srbbass, Hoyt, Mili and 2 others like this.
  2. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Club Members (just in case anyone is wanting to have a member number):

    #1 @dhergert (Don Hergert), Alcoa number 342-244 (pegbox#-body#), functionally restored and hot rodded
    #2 @TexasBrad Alcoa #421 (body #)
    #3 @RSBBass Pfretzschner AADB (No SN)
    #4 @JayLaughlin Pfretzschner AADB (No SN)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  3. jleguy

    jleguy Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    Alcoa 62-128...recently purchased and in restoration...I never thought I'd find one near me but one turned up for sale about 20 miles away from me at a great price.
    346E53B5-B077-4C31-B6F8-30BDDD635ECE.jpeg A4F6C0D9-E7BF-4A2D-9AD8-B4C30A68DC64.jpeg 8F44DFFF-6693-4341-9C9C-345FA3C955B1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
    Hoyt, Chris Fitzgerald and dhergert like this.
  4. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    That is one fine looking, and very original looking Alcoa... How is it sounding? Also, what strings have you been using?
     
  5. jleguy

    jleguy Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    Right now the bass is disassembled and getting ready for mirror finishing. But when the refinishing is done my plan is to put on a Deuce bridge, new carbon fiber endpin, a Marvin style tailpiece that I intend to make myself, and I need a new nut and sound post too. For strings I’m planning gut G/D and Spiros A/E. I am going to attempt to do as much as I can on my own...so the journey begins...
     
    Mili and dhergert like this.
  6. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    jellymax, RBrownBass, Reiska and 3 others like this.
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    James, is that the easy way to strip the paint off of an old Alcoa?

    :cool:
     
  8. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Everclear- after the restoration, for the stage visuals!
     
    dhergert likes this.
  9. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    As mentioned in the club welcome initial post, using a "SUBJECT:" line may help allow people to search the club thread for various subtopics.

    I'm going to exercise the "SUBJECT:" line concept here and create a few possible subtopics... (Browsers include a search option that can be used to locate these "SUBJECT:" lines throughout the thread.)

    I'm also going to suggest we use the acronym "AADB" to shorten "Aluminum Acoustic Double Basses" or recognizable variants to help more easily keep clear the kind of basses we're talking about here.

    This club thread and these subtopics are not exclusively for AADB owners to read and share their thoughts, but it will be particularly interesting to also hear from some owners if possible in these subtopics. AAD basses are unique and do share some concerns among themselves that wooden double basses do not have to worry about.

    Using "(NEW SUBTOPIC)" at the end of an original subtopic's "SUBJECT:" line may help to keep clear where in the thread a subtopic begins.

    Please include the same "SUBJECT:" line as found in the first line of an original subtopic, in any replies to these subtopics. (Replies should not include the "(NEW SUBTOPIC)" indicator.)

    (More complex, but available if desired, is to use the forum's post editor's "Link" tool to link subtopics and their replies together. Hint: clicking on any post's number in the UR corner of the post provides that post's URL)

    And lastly, keep in mind that topics that are more general in nature don't need to have a "SUBJECT:" line.

    EDIT: Ohhh, and feel free to create your own new subtopics.
    Please try to make them fairly unique among any existing subtopics.

    (Oh, and just a gentle and somewhat preemptive reminder, let's all please keep it respectful. We aren't here to denigrate any kind of double basses or their owners.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  10. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    SUBJECT: ACOUSTIC TONE RELATED SETUP FOR AADBs (NEW SUBTOPIC)

    I've been curious about how people are setting up their AADBs related to acoustic tone...

    This subtopic is about some of those things that are more unique to AAD basses than to wooden basses, related to the more metallic tone that tends to come more naturally from AADBs.

    This subtopic could include strings preferences for tone, setup tweaks for tone, any muting methods used for tone, etc. This subtopic could also include more philosophical AADB acoustic tone discussions about preferences of acoustic tone: metallic vs woody, etc.

    Any thoughts about this out there???
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  11. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    SUBJECT: ELECTRONICS FOR AADBs (NEW SUBTOPIC)

    What kind of electronics do you use on your AADB? Any thoughts or preferences?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  12. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    SUBJECT: ARCO ON AADBs (NEW SUBTOPIC)

    Do you bow your AADB? If so, for what kind of music? How do you like your AADB's arco sound? Do you play arco while plugged in?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    SUBJECT: ARCO ON AADBs

    (Example Reply)

    Yes, I bow, mostly for Gospel music and every once in a while for roots songs.

    On my Alcoa it sounds good but slightly different than a wooden bass. I keep the acoustic arco volume low and subtle.

    And yes, I play arco while plugged in, but I have to lower the volume on my pre-amp by about 50% or else it is way too loud.
     
  14. jleguy

    jleguy Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    Subject: Alcoa Refinishing (New Subtopic)

    If you refinished your Alcoa did you first use a paint striper to remove the paint or just sand it off? What are the pros and cons? About to start...
     
  15. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Subject: Alcoa Refinishing

    There might be an aluminum hardness or thickness issue with sanding or sand-blasting... I've specifically read some discussions here about sand blasting.

    (EDIT: And yes, I forgot to use the "Subject: " line. Added. Duh :roflmao:.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  16. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Subject: Alcoa Refinishing

    ... And, my Alcoa had already been powder coated when I purchased it early last year, so other than knowing it was somehow stripped, I unfortunately don't have any details.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  17. jleguy

    jleguy Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    There is a good thread on TB from someone a few years back that sanded down their Alcoa to a mirror finish. I following his lead but I’m not sure if I should strip the paint or sand it off...

    Here is the refinish thread: My Alcoa Aluminum Project
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    dhergert likes this.
  18. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Subject: Alcoa Refinishing

    [Sorry I couldn't reply earlier, just got back from a bluegrass festival (and no phone connections) where our band played. I'm happy to have for the first time personally played a major part of our set on my Alcoa, one of my personal goals (I'm mostly known as a banjo player), which allows our bass player to play something else (he's mostly known as a guitar player).]

    That refinish thread IS really a good one and the OP does clearly document how he did the work late in the 2nd page. Have you decided that's the direction you'll take?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  19. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    SUBJECT: AADB VIDEOS (NEW SUBTOPIC)

    Just thought I'd put this one out. This is another band that I've been playing with:

    "Felonious Plunk"

     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
    Joshua likes this.
  20. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    'Had a nice visit with a very cool circa 1930 roundback Pfretzschner aluminum bass fitted a long time ago with an old Epiphone two piece neck and an interesting bit of copper improvisation on the button.


    DSCN7769.JPG DSCN7772.JPG DSCN7784.JPG
     

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