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Letter: Sloane Bass Tuners

Letter: Sloane Bass Tuners

by Fredrick C. Lyman, Jr.

Originally printed in American Lutherie #66, 2001


Dear Tim and Deb:

Sorry to learn of the passing of Irving Sloane. I met him at a convention in Pennsylvania. He was displaying his precision guitar machines and I remarked that there was nothing comparable for the bass viol. He asked if there would really be a market for such. I said there really were no good bass machines and all bass players were agreed about that. I have been so out of touch that I have not seen his bass machines, but it appears that they are the new standard of the industry.

I drew pictures of strange imaginary instruments for years before I got Irving’s book and found it was really possible to build something. It’s great that you have been reaching a young audience that has the possibility of developing their work over a sufficient time to solve the problems. In retrospect I should have done many things differently. I did build a lot of the instruments that I was interested in, but it was not a really sustainable enterprise and I found myself too old and feeble to go on. In January I discovered that I had the same disease as Irving Sloane. I had drastic surgery and it seems to have been a success, but my overall vitality is not great.