Back when the whole world laughed and made fun of these old basses built in the 1920s &1930s, James Condino started a revolution. Slowly creeping one at a time, he turned these basses from an obscure albatross to pimped out polished creations limited only by your imagination, realizing their full potential by creating a visual and artistic showpiece for the most outgoing and dynamic players. 20+ years later they are the envy of almost every gigging player we know and can be seen on stages with some of the best known individuals & bands in the world.
We can comfortably say that we have restored, repaired, and handled more of these than probably any other shop in the country; possibly the world. We have an extremely detailed book in process covering all of the subtle nuances, including many long lost records of the original production process along with detailed conversations & notes from the people and families that actually made them, combined with how we bring them to life like a hotrod enthusiast makes a show quality 1934 Ford. It is equal parts historic reference and a contemporary restoration manual.
These old aluminum basses came in two basic styles. The first were seamlessly welded, & beautifully crafted with a multi-casting welded aluminum neck, produced at the old ALCOA skunkworks shop in Buffalo, NY. The other style was made in Europe by Pfretzschner and feature a screwed and rolled edge construction with a wooden traditional style neck. ALCOA made approximately 531 from 1928-1934 and a similar quantity of Pfretzschners were produced. We love 'em both and have played a lot of gigs with them. Estimates place the surviving number somewhere around 200 ALCOAs. ALCOA also made aluminum violins and I have seen a couple of Pfretzschner cellos.
Due to the usually long conversations, give us a call and we'll nerd it up with you for a while over the telephone about yours while still being able to work with our hands in the shop during the conversation.
We provide complete restoration services on these basses- repair, setup, paint removal / stripping, and custom polishing backed by 20+ years of experience specific to these basses. Nobody else we know can make that claim that much aluminum bass street cred with confidence.
You know you want one....all of us do!