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 to official AADB Member #4 @JayLaughlin , Pfretzschner AADB.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    JayLaughlin likes this.
  2. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    @james condino , would you know where Pfretzschner AADB owners might be able to find their serial numbers? Or do the serial numbers exist?

    Thanks!
     
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    I've never seen any Pfretzschner serial numbers, but you can sometimes find the year of manufacture hand written on the neck block when it is removed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    dhergert likes this.
  4. Subject: Pfretzschner Pricing

    This is the highest asking price I’ve seen for a Pfretzschner.
    Rare Alcoa Aluminum Double Bass, Buffalo Ny, Art Deco, Machine Age For Sale at 1stdibs

    $16,500

    But also, unless I’m gravely mistaken, the seller has it listed as an Alcoa.

    It also says the ebony fingerboard is original. Do any of you know if they made these with ebony? Or, perhaps the seller is mistaken and it’s either ebonized, if original, or ebony but not original.
     
  5. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    You're right, listed as an Alcoa. I've seen the listing.

    To me, the price seems to be very optimistic. But hey, you never know who needs aluminum really badly. There are only a few out there for sale at any given time.
     
    JayLaughlin likes this.
  6. Definitely optimistic! lol! But makes it seem like I got mine for a song in comparison.

    I think I might reach out to the seller about the correct manufacturer.
    Do you know if Pfretzner ever used ebony on their aluminum basses? I was under the impression that they did not.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    No, I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me if they did though. The reason for aluminum bodies was to be more stable in bad weather conditions, I suspect ebony fingerboards go along with that. But that's just a guess.

    @james condino would know... James?
     
    JayLaughlin likes this.
  8. SUBJECT: ACOUSTIC TONE RELATED SETUP FOR AADBs

    @dhergert Are you still running Innovation Sliverslaps under SBW Dirty guts? If so, what d'you think about the tone change across them? Is it fairly even?

    I'm asking because I tried Innovation Rockabillys (similar to Silverslaps, but different) on mine and absolutely hated the tonal difference. I was a bit disappointed because I liked their sustain a lot, but it made my bass sound like a bathtub. They definitely exaggerated the metallic quality of the bass.

    The SBW Dirty guts, however, sound great. Warm and boomy. But the sustain (on the E string in particular) is very weak. I'm kind of stuck...keep they SBW Dirty guts because they're 90% what I want in a string, or keep chasing after a combo that'll feed that last 10% but potentially cost a lot of money to experiment in the process. lol!
     
  9. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Yes, I'm still using Innovation Silverslaps EA under SBW Deluxe (Dirty Guts) medium (0.105, 0.095) DG... And I'll probably continue using this mix for at least a few years. I like them so much that I've got 2 sets of each waiting for the need to change, but the originals are still lasting very well, about 2 years in. Eventually I will probably try guts DG, still over SilverSlaps EA, but gut DG are going to have to be extremely good in order to compete with the Deluxe medium DG on my Alcoa.

    The tone and volume between the SilversSlaps EA and the Deluxe DG is very even and complementary and the gauge, tension and stiffness gradient feels extremely consistent... In fact gauge wise, the SilverSlap A is the same thickness as the Deluxe D (0.105"). The SBW Deluxe EA had great tone amped, but they were just not loud or clear enough for me acoustically, especially with the amount of un-amped playing that I do. The SilverSlaps EA solved that problem completely.

    The SilverSlaps EA can produce a distinct growl; this is stronger when new, but continues pleasantly once broken in. Initially the SilverSlaps did not bow well, but after a couple of weeks of bowing -- with generous rosin, a tight bow and some evolved technique, they started responding to arco just about as well as the Deluxe strings do.

    Regarding costs, I purchased my SilverSlaps EA as singles from Gollihur (great service) and I purchased the SBW Deluxe sets directly from SBW (also very good service) although Amazon also carries them. SilverSlaps are somewhat of an investment as a complete set, but singles E and A strings are lots less expensive. And of course this mix is much less expensive then some strings.

    My understanding is that the Innovation Rockabilly strings are medium tension, and they have a slightly different design that makes them more stiff than SuperSilvers, which are also rated as medium-tension. The SilverSlaps (and GoldenSlaps) are the low-tension siblings of the less-stiff SuperSilvers.

    Regarding general tone, aside from synthetic strings, my Alcoa has a textured acoustic paint applied to the inside-back of the bass, plus it's been powder coated, both which help to suppress the natural metallic tone of the instrument. Plus, I'm using a 4-footed platform-based adjustable sound post which spreads soundpost support evenly between the bass side and treble side of the bridge (similar to having multiple soundposts). I often play for bluegrass events and jams, and I get absolutely no complaints about metallic tone. In fact, most of the time people think my Alcoa is a wooden bass that is painted silver, and when they find out it is aluminum, comment that its tone is very woody.
     
    Keith Rawlings and JayLaughlin like this.
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    $465 shipping extra with 4-6 weeks delivery time on that $16,000 1st Dibs bass!

    The world wide waste of time is loaded with overpriced items that never sell for the asking price.....

    Pfretzschner was a very well respected and established double bass producer in the 1930s. Asking for an ebony fingerboard back in the day was not a big deal; there was a whole lot more of it on the planet and it was dirt cheap.
     
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  11. Thank you so much for the feedback. Maybe I'll try just the Silverslap E and if that still doesn't do it for me, I won't have spent a lot for the experiment. :)

    Ha! For sure. At over 16K, you'd think they'd at least throw in free shipping. LOL. Thank you for the observation about Pfretzschner. I appreciate it.
     
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  12. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Many of the Pfretzschner aluminum basses that I've seen actually do have an ebony fingerboard. There are over 300 differents species of ebony that range in color from dark black to bright yellow. Macassar ebony, a sometimes harder but more colorful striped brown and black ebony that is often confused with rosewood, was commonly used on the Pfretzschners and also on American Standard bass fingerboards.

    Since they were lower price point instruments, you still got ebony fittings, but just a lower grade with striping and imperfections- just like today.
     
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  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Very welcome. I'll be interested in your impression of the SilverSlaps E. For playing acoustically (not-amped), if you like it, I suspect you'll eventually also want a SilverSlap A, because if your E speaks well it will cause you to focus on the more quiet A. But I do think trying the E first is a great idea.

    Double basses, even AADBs, are going to sound different from each other in some ways. I've heard a couple of stock or nearly-stock Alcoas (online) that sound different than each other, and more metallic than mine, probably all due to setup. So it will be interesting to hear your impressions.

    @james condino has researched, specialized, worked on and heard more AADBs than anyone that I'm aware of. I consider us all very lucky that he is here. James, correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you had good results for tone and volume with guts on Alcoas?
     
    james condino likes this.
  14. gigetto

    gigetto

    Sep 25, 2019
    Italy
    But today noone made aluminium double bass?
     
  15. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
    gigetto likes this.
  16. @dhergert So the GoldenSlap E did not work out either. It had the same effect as the Rockabilly set. It accentuated the metal quality of the sound. With the Dirty Guts, it sounds nearly woody...very nice tone. The GoldenSlap made it sound like a metal washtub. Lol! I couldn’t get the string off of the bass fast enough.

    Sigh. That means that if I want to look elsewhere for different strings, true guts should probably be the direction. On the upside, until now I’ve never considered just buying 1 or 2 strings. That’ll be much easier on the wallet.

    This experiment did make me wonder, though, when non-gut bass strings became more common and if these basses started with them.
     

  17. Thank you, James. That’s a good point. My daughter’s bass has striped ebony and I was forgetting that ebony come in grades. It was kind of staring me in the face though.

    I think my Pfretzschner has rosewood...the clicks from slapping certainly sound a lot warmer than my other slappin’ bass with ebony fingerboard. But it does have really beautiful striping similar to my daughter’s. Just different colors than hers.

    What d’you think? Is this rosewood?
    42F38750-1249-4A7E-B6BE-67163C077B24.jpeg
     
  18. That’s ebony, and to answer the question above, steel strings were introduced around 1950.
     
    JayLaughlin likes this.
  19. Thanks Sheriff!

    My first impression was that it was rosewood. And all subsequent evaluations were informed by that assumption. Thus, psychoacoustics strike again! Lol.
     
    KUNGfuSHERIFF likes this.
  20. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Yup, that one is Macassar ebony.
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Sep 21, 2021

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