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
    Hmmm, sorry to hear that. I've got a friend who plays her Pfretzschner at Disneyland, I'll see if I can reach her about strings. I think she's always amped though, so it may not be much help.

    As I mentioned, @james condino has probably handled more AADBs than anyone living...

    James, what strings would you recommend for a standard config Pfretzschner for the most woody tone acoustically?
     
  2. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Tone is in your hands brother, not a shiny new pack of strings. Ray Brown would play that Pfretzschner and blow all of us off the stage, soundin' just like Ray.:thumbsup:

    I install 100+ sets of strings a year for other folks and get to sample all of the latest, greatest, and classics. On my own basses, 99% of the time I use a well broken in old set of Spiro mitts + a gut G, usually bought from the classifieds here for less than $75 for the whole set. They may not be perfect, but they are very consistent all year long so I can focus on the tunes and not get distracted.

    Sadly, its just me and one other bass nerd in the crowd who ever notices any of the things that we obsess and spend so much $$$ about....but I do enjoy all the conversations and discourse here with my low end family.
     
  3. Lol. I hear ya.
    I still have a feeling that even Ray Brown couldn't cover the bathtub sound of that GoldenSlap E on this bass.

    But, I've reached my $ limit for chasing strings. The SBW Dirty Guts are 90% of what I want on this bass. They have a deep and warm tone, easy to slap, and easy to bow (well, for tuning purposes...they're nothing close to as responsive as the strings on my arco bass). Honestly, if I think of this Pfretzschner as a strictly slap bass, the Dirty Guts are perfect. It's just that *sometimes* I like to add a little flourish where I slide up into a note. (Similar to the arrastre technique for tango style bass). The E string in this SBW set just dies when I try to do that.

    I appreciate all the feedback. You guys rock!
     
    Keith Rawlings and dhergert like this.
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Second track on this video. Some nice funky playing on a venerable Pfretzschner. I showed my spouse, and she said: "Well, an aluminum bass should be easy to disinfect."

     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  5. marcox

    marcox

    Dec 10, 2007
    Phoenix
    "A venerable Pfretzschner ..." with a C-clamp at the nut!

    upload_2020-4-4_10-54-58.png
     
  6. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Hey, it's a capo!

    (Or, maybe the player is so used to neck-dive with a P-bass that he needed a counterweight at the pegbox?)

    :cool:
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  7. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Or maybe it's a fat)finger for DB.
     
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  8. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    There's a great guitarist in my locale who, for the longest time, played a venerable gold-top Les Paul, the he says was his first guitar. The head was held onto the neck by a couple of steel plates and 1/4-20 bolts and nuts. I asked him about it, and he said that the guitar fell over, he rushed to the hardware store, got the plates, and had it back together in time to finish the gig. Every time I played with him, for years, his guitar had those plates.

    One day, he showed up with the same guitar, no plates! I asked him what happened. He said the guitar fell again and the plates wouldn't save it the second time, so he finally had to get it fixed.
     
  9. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Just ran across this at the late Michael I Holmes website MugWumps.com in a section about aluminum instruments, I'm guessing it's some sort of a transcribed digital re-reprint but still interesting...

    (I'm guessing the author had no idea about the neck vulnerability. The article is at least somewhat over-enthusiastic.)

    upload_2020-4-27_16-36-8.png

    Here's the actual Etude magazine article, tough to read, but present.

    upload_2020-4-27_20-56-25.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  10. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    dhergert and jonas like this.
  11. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Thanks for this Don!

    I found this especially interesting:

    ALCOA vs Pfretschner.jpg

    So the Pfretschners were, somewhat, knock-offs of Alcoas....
     
    dhergert and A. Munk like this.
  12. Absolute BS. Strad never made a bass, and he set the necks with nails.
     
  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    You're welcomed!!!
    I'm a little hesitant to go that far, really. Given some of the other things that were said in the article, I really don't know how credible the statements about anything are. Pfretschner aluminum double basses are very different from Alcoa double basses, their construction designs are completely different. Really the only thing they have in common is aluminum.
    Yup... As I said, the author is at least somewhat over-enthusiastic. To me the article carries the strong scent of advertising...

    For example, as much as I like my Alcoa, I really doubt many orchestral double bassists would be anxious to replace their vintage wooden double basses with an aluminum double bass from any manufacturer, as implied by the author.

    For me, what the article is good for is some historical context, and amusement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  14. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    However, aluminum is the perfect orchestral double bass for Wagner and perhaps Berlioz, with a little Beethoven thrown in.
     
    dhergert likes this.
  15. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    If you have a mallet! :roflmao:
     
  16. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    I like "repairs costing up to $30."
     
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  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    "....So the Pfretschners were, somewhat, knock-offs of Alcoas...."[/QUOTE]

    Nope. Distant cousins at best. ALCOAs are beautiful works of art produced by extremely high skilled welders and aluminum workers such that they were granted dozens of US patents on the production process. Pfretzschners are basic sheet metal working screwed together with a wooden internal "skeleton", coupled with a generic factory made neck. I like them both, but that is pretty much the limit of the structural comparisons.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
    Keith Rawlings, marcox and dhergert like this.
  18. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    The important part of the quote is in italics: "Manufacturers in other countries, notably Germany, have begun to imitate these instruments".

    If the author is correct, then Alcoas came first, followed by copycat manufacturers (who used very different, less expensive ways to work aluminum). I wasn't implying there were similarities between U.S. and German aluminum basses, so maybe knock-off is the wrong term. BTW, the article says "other countries" (plural). Does anyone know of vintage aluminum instruments made elsewhere than the U.S. and Germany??
     
    dhergert likes this.
  19. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I've never heard about other countries being a part of this. Only USA and Germany. And an important point for me personally, I'm not aware of who did aluminum double basses first. From my other instrument background though, I am aware of use of aluminum for building other instruments pre-1900, specifically banjo and mandolin family instruments.
     
  20. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  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 22, 2021

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