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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassdadto2, Dec 13, 2001.
Remember those? With that aluminum alloy neck? Butt-ugly basses with a T in the headstock?
Yeah, every now and then, I'll run across one in a second hand music shop.
Didn't the aluminum necked Kramers come out of these? Anyone play one? Is the neck like a Kramer?
I used to have a Kramer. I didn't like the way the wood was inlayed into the aluminum neck. You could feel the "ridge" and it would drive me crazy!
Used to have 2 Dukes!
If I remember correctly the Travis Beans were quite expensive.
I remeber them from about 20 years ago or so. If I'm not mistaken Bill Wyman of the Stones used to play them.
I used to like the old Kramers. The Aluminum neck didn't bother me, but, I liked their sound. Something like a Yamaha BB1200.
Gary Kramer used to work for (or with) Travis Bean, so the Aluminum neck design migrated from one company to the other.
I heard that the aluminum necks were more susceptible to temperature changes than wood, making the instrument's tuning unreliable. I think that's the reason they were discontinued.
I've never player a Travis Bean, but I've seen the Kramers. Too weird for me.
Big Wheel, I remember hearing the same thing. The wood and aluminum expanded/contracted at much different rates, and I think this is what did them in.
I think the only bass with an aluminum neck in production nowadays are those new Hartke basses, but I think the aluminum is just a reinforcement, like the Graphite strip in Genesis necks. I don't think the Hartkes are exactly selling either. Maybe the cheapo Vaccaros, but not the high-end ones. Not surprising, since they're in the Sadowsky price range...
Back in the mid 70's, I waltzed into the music store with a fat wallet, intent on buying a Bean. Being young and dumb, I thought I wanted one, because I saw Stanley Clarke posing with one and because the koa wings looked bitchen.
But then I tried it out. The sound somehow reminded me of empty Bud cans rolling down the street. It just had this metallic "pang" to it that I couldn't dig. And this was before amps had horns/tweeters!
Some players liked the sound because fusion was big at the time and that music introduced a very clear, hi fi, bass tone.
Two big reasons they failed were;
1. Players didn't like the cold, steely, feel of the necks. To remedy this, the company offered an option where the neck was coated with a duPont product. It still didn't feel "natural."
2. Bean began having conflicts with his financial people, he and Gary Kramer weren't getting along and Kramer quit, and Bean felt he was being asked to compromise quality. So, after being in business from 74-79, he quit altogether.
He should have stuck to motorcycle racing, IMO.
An Austrian luthier, Andreas Basking make his Shark Bass series with aluminium fingerboard, check it it out, there's a pic of one of them on Bassnw.com
I think it's because the Hartke's are Butt- Ugly basses!
Yeah, that's right. Most of the Hartke basses are in the $400 - $700 range, then, they have that XL-4 which sells for about $1,700.00 ! What were they thinking ?!? It might be a great bass, but, I think it's too closely associated with its less expensive brothers.
Mick Karn played a Travis Bean in Japan for a little while. In fact the story is that he pulled the frets out because it wouldn't stay in tune, and that way he could compensate. I'm not sure at which point in Japan's career he got the Wal, but I think he used the Wal on the last couple of albums at least.
I saw a local band called 764-HERO a year or so ago and the bass player had a Travis Bean. Might have been a Kramer but I remember it as a TB. He got a good sound out of it: pretty big and chunky (used a pick).