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vathek

Alcoa basses and aluminum violins made in Ann Arbor 1930,s

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I remember back in the 80's, or 90's, there was an aluminum fiddle on the contest fiddle circuit here in New England.... It sounded O K from a trotting horse,  but did not generate a mad rush among the other fiddlers to go out and get one

 

That was years ago, and haven't seem one since..... It's voice was a little dark, but not muddy(perhaps the bow contributed to the sound...)  I cant speak to it's pedigree

 

Jim

Edited by seammc

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I have worked on a couple - a collector in Erie has them, main problem was the pegs fir into rubber gaskets. The new plantary geared pegs solved that,The neck has a wood insert bolted into place and a normal ebony fingerboard glued onto that.

 

all in all a strange duck. There are tales told of using the basses as boats in the lake at interlocken michigan

 

Reese

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From Wenberg:   "Aluminum Musical Instrument Co.; Ann Arbor, MI.  Made violins entirely of Alcoa aluminum.  Operating there in 1956.  Strad model.  Wood grain and purfling painted on.  Connected f-holes.  Well made with all welds intact.  Somewhat metallic tone.  Made at least 375 violins."

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 The factory was a few blocks from my house when I was growing up. My junior high school had a couple of the basses and they were certainly better than the wood ones which had suffered twenty or so years of abuse from 12 year old boys.

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I was in Antigua Guatamala for a few months about ten years ago and there was an American bass player there who gigged in the night clubs and he used one of these aluminium basses. It sounded very nice actually.

 

Here are the pros and cons: 

 

Bass can be cold against the skin first thing in the morning if you get too wasted at a gig and end up sleeping next to it. 

 

Bass is not effected as badly by regional humidity. 

 

Bass needs to be taken to an auto body shop every 30,000 travel miles to have dents hammered out. ( not joking about this) 

 

 

Bass looks space age and serves as a "Dude Magnet" fr women bass players because guys like space ships and fighter planes. 

 

Basses biggest problem is that is does not absorb Hargrave Aged Rabbit Pee TM* like a wood bass.

 

____________________________________

 

How about that aluminum piano on the Hindenburg? 

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