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I had an opportunity to visit Upton Bass in Mystic, Ct. a week ago and thought that I would report on it (I love to take factory tours).
The first floor of the post and beam building is a work shop. I was surprised by the lack of power woodworking equipment. I was hoping to find a scrap piece of steam bent rib so that I could attempt to roast it. I was told that rib bending is a very easy operation and scrap from this operation does not exist. They quickly bent up some maple rib stock for my experiment.
A luthier was working on the fitting of a sliding aluminum "t" slot for the creation of a removable neck.
The shop utilized several 25 lb bags of lead shot as a means of clamping glued pieces of wood together. I immediately thought that a self sealing lunch bag filled with lead shot could be passed through a violin/viola/cello "f" hole to clamp wood cleats.
The second floor was devoted as a show room and video making area. What immediately struck me was the number of harp styled double bass tail pieces that had the extended string length on the treble side. They said that this was a visual effect for basses with an extended fingerboard. I was impressed with the Irving Sloane double bass tuning machines. I also saw a number of tail pieces with light colored wood center laminations for visual interest. They easily had over 75 instruments on display.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. —Frank Zappa
The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson