Re: Aluminum basses

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Posted by J.D. Haight on March 29, 2002 at 18:51:41:

In Reply to: Re: Aluminum basses posted by Jerome on January 08, 2001 at 13:41:04:


I too owned a Kramer Aluminum Fretless. It was the first "real" bass I'd ever owned (saved up the money myself). Great tone, channelled my inner Jaco, and sold it after I'd bought a Fender fretted Jazz Bass. Regreted it ever since.


: : Hi,
: Just saw your post and figured I'd chime-in. I own a Kramer Fretless (w/ aluminum neck). I've had it for a while (althought I'm not the original owner). It's a nice sounding bass. The fingerboard is "Ebanol" (sp?) which gives the bass that "Jaco" sound.
: The pickups don't seem to be as high output as my '73 P-Bass though. I bought the bass used back in 1985 (I think for about $300.00). They are rare.
: By the way, I noticed mention of a Kramer 420S bass...., I'm about to purchase one. I plan to update the pickups, bridge, and pots. From what I've read from other owners, it sounds like a good bass for the price.
: Well, that's all.
: - Jerome

: : : : I've been looking for a new bass, and aluminum sounds really interesting to me. I once saw a guitar made entirely of aircraft aluminum. Is there such a bass in existance, and how about sound, pricing, etc. Please enlighten me.

: : : If I remember correctly guitars and basses with aluminium necks were sort of popular in the 1980's. Kramer made them but I'm not sure if they still do or if they are even still in business.

: : Bob,
: : Kramer went out of business a number of years ago, then ultimately wound up bring bought by Gibson; they're sold exclusively on the website.

: : And (for Emptyeye's benefit) my $90 Kramer Focus 420S bass *rocks*! ;-)

: : The other big maker of aluminum necks in the 70's and 80's was Travis Bean; not sure what their status is lately, though...

: : : The beef people had with these guitars is that they were extremely temperature sensative since the metal shrinks and expands much more than wood when heated and cooled. This made the guitars very hard to keep in tune. I also remember people saying that they didn't like the way the necks felt when they played, but I'm not sure exactly what the difference is supposed to be.

: : It depends on whether you're playing bare aluminum or clear-coated.

: : I think the Travis Beans were bare aluminum, if memory serves; the Kramers had wood inlays along the back, and were clear-coated.

: : One of the *big* problems with aluminum necks was that they tended to absorb heat from stage lights; after awhile, they got *hot*!

: : : The good thing was that the necks were much more stable in regard to warping and bowing. I think they were also cheaper. And from what I've heard a lot of hard rockers liked the tone they got from these basses.

: : : The final verdict was that it was a good experiment that didn't work out.

: : Yep. :(

: : : But it's probably worth checking out. Just because it didn't work in the mass market doesn't mean that some individual bass players - like perhaps yourself - won't find these basses to their likings.

: : Agreed!

: : -Bob

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