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Ken Hamm's methods

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Jeff Bonny, Aug 15, 2007.


  1. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I've been making and helping install some rigging parts for a 70' gaff rigged schooner built by the guy who built the rib templates for Gary Karr's Ken Hamm Amati copy.

    He's been telling me about some of Jim's ideas. Interesting untraditional things like using vacuum bags to bend the ribs, laminating silk between two layers of maple for a light and resonant yet very durable back, adjustable neck joints instead of adjustable bridges and the whole balsa wood thing he's been doing lately. I had no idea building a few UHMW block standoffs would expose me to these things.
     
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Ken's a pretty interesting guy.

    I met him at the last GAL Comvention in Parkland, Washington and we had a lively discussion on the merits of altering vintage instruments to make them playable in a modern context. :)
     
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    He was for it or agin it?
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    You guys are talking about JIM Ham, not Ken Hamm. And he does not laminate backs, he laminates ribs.
     
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks, you're right it's Jim. I had a knife and a spike on my belt, pliers in my pocket but didn't dig a notebook outta my bag to write down his name....(Ken Hamm was a high school teacher I had). I'll double check later this week when I'm back on the boat but I'm sure Tony (the boatbuilder) said Jim had experimented with backs too. I may well have misheard but I'm going to take some time when we're not working to find out more.

    Even if he hasn't done backs I wonder what a two maple, one silk laminate with the wood grain matched running vertical on both plys would sound like compared to solid and traditional 3-ply backs?
     
  6. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Thanks Arnold. There is also a Ken Hamm on the island, folk singer/songwriter who I've known for much longer and my brain reverts.

    Jim was definitely against altering. I am against musical instruments sitting in display cases. No resolution. :)
     
  7. Anonymous75966

    Anonymous75966

    Jun 29, 2004
    What's the balsa wood thing?

    Last time I saw Jim (last year) he was talking about an idea to make a lightweight bass that would get around airline regulations - although he was typically mysterious about it. Something to do with that maybe? Curious.
     
  8. mheintz

    mheintz

    Nov 18, 2004
    Resurrecting a thread... Did Jim ever make the ultalight bass? Anyone heard anything about it recently? In reading the articles on his site, I noticed that the ultalight was supposed to be unveiled at the 2007 ISB.

    http://hamstringsmusic.com/Double Bassist Article.pdf
     

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