removable nack bass from Joseph Baldatoni, Ancona 1850
Traveling with the double bass has always been difficult – even in the days of the stagecoach. Instruments with detachable, screw-on necks are one answer to the transportation problem. They reduce the packing size and the risk of the double bass being damaged during transportation. Because what is already off can no longer break off.
– This transport case is dimensioned in such a way that not only ¾-size instruments can fit in it tightly. Larger basses (⅞, 4/4) can also be transported.
– Another frequently expressed customer wish: depending on the size of the bass, a soft case also fits inside, which gives the bass additional protection. The bass can also be transported assembled as usual at the destination.
– The neck is transported in a separate case, which is removably mounted on the flight case. This allows the storage space to be used more efficiently when transporting in the car. When traveling by air, only the (light) body can be checked in as air freight and the (heavy) neck can travel in hand luggage – this saves weight and therefore costs.
When a few years ago two double bass colleagues had their valuable and beloved instruments stolen within a short distance of each other, and they sent fruitless search calls to the double bass community, I took this as an opportunity to think about and implement a digital theft protection via GPS tracker (more after the click).
Since then, a lot has happened in the tracker market. Apple has also recently entered the market and offers its AirTags. AirTags offer some outstanding advantages: they are small and light, the batteries last forever, and since for tracking the already existing iPhones are used – so not only the own iPhone, but simply all of them – one has no costs for SIM cards or mobile phone contracts. Conventional GPS trackers have to communicate with each other, and for that they need a SIM card and a contract. So at first glance, AirTags look like a perfect solution for instrument theft protection*.
But as smart as AirTags are, they are not suitable for theft protection, because Apple does not want them to be used to spy on people unnoticed – even if they are thieves. If you get an AirTag unnoticed, Apple will alert you after a while with an acoustic signal and a notice on a nearby iPhone (more about this after the click). This makes sense for finding lost objects. An anti-theft tracker, on the other hand, should remain unnoticed by the thief – otherwise he can remove the tracker or take other measures to prevent it from being tracked.
Surprisingly, there are now even more reports where AirTags are not used for theft protection, but on the contrary for preparing a theft.
Since I first installed a tracker in a double bass, they have become even more powerful and also less expensive. What has increased, however, are the running costs of many products: In the early years, people used conventional SIM cards (mostly cheap prepaid SIM). Phone providers didn’t like this so much; in many cases they changed the terms of their contracts to prevent their use in trackers – and at the same time launched their own, more expensive solutions on the market. Many of today’s trackers are not offered as stand-alone devices, but only in conjunction with a contract. A common area of use for such trackers is now e-bikes: here the trackers are permanently installed in the bike by the manufacturer, and the tracking service is sold as an optional accessory.
For use in the double bass, there are now trackers which, due to their size, can be housed in the body and, depending on the model, can also be charged there and thus remain there permanently – an important requirement for effective theft protection. The battery life is up to one week. I would love to show photos at this point – but for obvious reasons I refrain from doing so (the enemy reads along 😉 )
However, if you are interested in equipping your double bass with a tracker, please feel free to contact me. The procedure is reversible – no modification is made that could not be completely undone.
*Note: I use the term “theft protection”, although an instrument can of course be stolen even with an existing tracker. A tracker can’t prevent a theft any more than a theft insurance can – but in the best case you can get your beloved instrument back with the help of the tracker.
Rob Anzelotti’s new angled endpin design is very easy to use. The RobPin’s key feature is the “Bottom Block Rest” which takes on most of the bass’s weight. This eliminates most of the typical stresses on the socket, bottom block, and pin.
Use: Once you have it adjusted to your preference, you only slip it in and out of the socket when you are packing and unpacking the bass. When detached, it might even fit into the accessory pocket of your bag! The set screw in your socket needn’t even be especially tight. The weight of the bass goes onto the “Bottom Block Rest”, keeping the bracket from turning.
Height and angle adjustment: The RobPin is available with interchangeable rods of different lengths. The angle of the pin going to the floor can be set at 25°, 35°, or 45°. If your endpin is not 10mm, then adapters are available. (If it doesn’t come out of the socket, which is the case for most tube endpins, then you naturally need to remove the holding pin).
Under the direction of Paul Hart, chair of the 2015 ISB Maker’s Competition workmanship judges panel, the ISB is inviting working bass luthiers attending the convention to help attempt a first in ISB Convention history. The participating luthiers are going to build a double bass in a week during the convention! This one-of-a-kind instrument will then be raffled off at the end of the week (tickets for the drawing will only be available for sale on-site at the convention), with proceeds benefiting the ISB.
Convention attendees will be able to stop by and watch the work in progress, and ask questions about the luthier’s art and process. There will even be opportunities for amateurs to assist with some of the unskilled prep work.
Luthiers and amateurs, if you are interested in helping out and want more information, please email Dustin Williams, chair of the 2015 ISB Maker’s Competition, at Dustin@WilliamsFineViolins.com.
The deadline to enter the 2015 ISB Maker’s Competition is May 1st.
The 7th biennial ISB Maker’s Competition will be held June 1st-2nd at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The new IKEA desk lamp “Harte” makes a perfect workshop lamp for soundpost inspection and similar tasks. It’s made of an aluminium tube, with an adjustable the LED lamp head. It’s super-slim, and easy to insert into the ƒ-holes, while the triangle foot stands firmly on the top.
Roger Hargrave, a british violin maker who lives and works in Germany, has built his first double bass and wrote a interesting blog about this project on the website ‘Maestronet’. After having finished the bass, he has put his text (24000 words in total) and 371 photos together to an extensive e-book, which explores the design making and varnishing of a double bass, but it also includes several sections relating to violin/viola making and varnishing. The e-book can be downloaded for free at his website: www.roger-hargrave.de
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