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Dust ball in bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ZombieGhosTrain, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. My dad said he was watching something on TV about antique violins, cellos, and other similiar instruments. Apparently they mentioned something about dust collecting into a big ball inside the violin/cello when they are very old, and that is a giveaway of age. Is there any truth behind this secondhand information, and does it apply to old basses as well? I'd never heard of it before and it sounded interesting. It makes sense dust would accumulate, but I never thought of it collecting into a big ball or something.

    Any truth here? Thanks!
  2. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I have an old play that had a ping pong ball sized dust ball inside. I noticed it while resetting the soundpost. So, it does happen, but as for showing the age, I don't know. I'm sure where you play, how often, and how you store the bass would affect this more than age.
  3. I gently blow my DB out from the inside w/an air nozzle, set at about 30 psi; am I ruining the resale value?:eyebrow: If so, I could just whittle down one of our 'house' bunnies & insert it through the F-hole.:ninja:
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It is also referred to as the "dust mouse". Dating an instrument by the size of it's dust mouse is pretty silly. There are 300 year old basses with no dust mice... they often get removed when the instrument is worked on.
  5. Yeah didn't seem like a very accurate way of...anything...really. Interesting though, thanks!
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Okay...everybody go get a flashlight and check...

    I can tell you that I most surely have a dustball in my bass...about 1/2" in diameter. My bass is a couple of years old. I've named the dustball "Ralph".

    I think it's as inevitable as navel lint.


    Aug 26, 2005
    Omigosh, Marcus--- navel lint is inevitable? I don't think any of my instruments have ever had navel lint....some ear-wax from time to time....but no navel lint!
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Is Ralph male or female? How can you tell?
  9. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I too have a dustball and his name is Robert Paulson.
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Sorry, I meant to say it's as inedible as navel lint.
  11. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    STOP! You're only making it worse! :eek:

    :D :D :D


    Aug 26, 2005
  13. :rolleyes: What a silly thread this is . . . . :D :D :D

    I always thought people were refering to the tone or the volume of the instrument when someone said . . . . .
    "That bass has balls" ! ! ! :bag:
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    You know....someone should take a brand new, clean bass, mount a mini vidcam inside, and do a time-lapse recording of the gestation of a dustball.

    Hmm....I've got a friend who writes grants.... I'll get back to you....
  15. SirFunk

    SirFunk Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Topeka, KS
    I'm sure the conditions the bass is stored in would greatly effect the size of the dust ball.

    I tend to judge the age of instruments by the dates on coins i find inside. (mainly school fleet instruments) :p
  16. My bass isn't more than a few months old, so I'm still waiting for the results to come back and see if anythings growing. Now I'll go buy a baby naming book.
  17. PaulCannon


    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    Actually, there is a little merit to this. You can't date an instrument with any real accuracy based on the size of a dustball, but it would usually show that it is, in fact, an old instrument. In fact, I've heard that it's become common for makers who try to pass their new instruments off as antiques will even add dustballs for added "authenticity."
  18. Genuine carved-top German DB dust balls(no bass, just the balls). Fool your friends! Become respectable!
    Not suitable for cello. Make offer. Sorry, no pics.;)
  19. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    No what know what conductors mean when they ask us to play with more balls.
  20. I have 2 little girls that love to drop stuff in my basses...do crayons increase the value....?:eyebrow:

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