Alembic Club

Alembic products => Dreaming... for now => Topic started by: hieronymous on March 15, 2015, 10:55:54 PM

Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 15, 2015, 10:55:54 PM
A few years ago I picked up this (factory) fretless Guild M-85 II. The M-85 is kind of a confusing model - the earlier ones released in the late-'60s were semi-hollowbody and most had Bi-Sonics, the later ones from 1970+ were solidbodies and had the Guild humbucker. Mine is an early specimen of the latter, I believe from about 1970-1971:
 

(http://alembic.com/club/messages/402/207543.jpg)
 
 
It's a great bass, but the pickups are a bit underwhelming. It sounded alright once I ran it through my SF-2: https://soundcloud.com/stanleylighthead/walk-right-through-your-door (https://soundcloud.com/stanleylighthead/walk-right-through-your-door target=_blank) But it would be nice to get a nice clear, deep sound right off the bat.  
 
Some kind of Bi-Sonic clone would be one option (Dark Stars having vanished it would have to be something like Chi-Sonics), but the Dave Schools Starfire I has me jonesing for Alembic of course! Could Anniversary or Signature electronics fit? Or just go Activator? For the time being I plan on sticking with the bridge assembly as is - it kinds of works with the fretless - though really Alembicizing the instrument is an interesting idea too.
 
Please note, this really is just dreaming, this is kind of low on the priority scale - I just don't play enough fretless to warrant it, plus there are other projects like having my doubleneck brought back to Bass VI territory - but it's fun to imagine!
 
(Message edited by hieronymous on March 15, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: tmoney61092 on March 16, 2015, 04:22:03 AM
Guild makes a Bi Sonic pickup now, not sure how they sound but they are ok bestbassgear.com for $99 each so it couldn't hurt to try them. Also Curtis Novak makes a Dark Star pickup but those are $275 each but sound incredible(I have one in a Hollowbody bass I made)
 
~Taylor
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: keith_h on March 16, 2015, 04:56:31 AM
I guess the place to start would be to determine what the dimensions of the pickup and control cavities are. Also what are the diameter of the pot mounting holes. Just a cursory look at the picture would lead me to believe Anniversary/Signature electronics are worth considering as most of the holes already exist and seem to have a lot of room between them. Can't say on the pickups but Alembic does offer a few options.  
 
You might also want to consider EMW with the current 5 hole layout it would only require one more for a Q-switch/control.  
 
Keith
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 16, 2015, 08:07:20 PM
Taylor, I have looked at the Curtis Novak pickups a while back online but couldn't remember the name - thanks! (Haha, in fact, I started a thread on them a few years ago - totally forgot that! http://club.alembic.com/Images/449/166239.html?1372194318 (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=16891))
 
I personally would go for one Curtis Novak pickup - don't know anything about the Guild reissues - are they faithful designs or something totally different under the hood? I don't hang around the Guild forum that I used to so I'm not up on the most current knowledge... :p
 
Keith, you make some great suggestions. I still need to experiment more with my Stanley Clarke bass with Anniversary electronics, but I've really been favoring just the neck pickup. So I am open to the idea of just replacing one pickup and leaving the other alone, maybe even just disconnect it (the bridge pickup). I always plan on stringing this bass with flats so I just don't think I need the brightness that the bridge pickup provides, though of course in conjunction with the neck pickup it does really change the sound...
 
The really important question is - do I want to be able to return it as stock as it was when I got it? It's in very good shape, but was missing the truss rod cover and original pickup selector bat - in fact, I wonder if the whole switch hasn't been replaced, the Guild bat is silver and very distinctive, not sure if it fits on a standard Gibson shaft which is what is on mine.  
 
But I think I would go Anniversary since that is what I am most comfortable with. EMW definitely sounds interesting, but I really like to set the bass outside of the instrument - I use a lot of effects, and prefer to tone sculpt the final signal instead of the signal before the effects.  
 
Of course, the coolest thing would be to have a project where I can use the bass regardless of what pickups are in it! What I really need to do is sell off stuff that I am not using...
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 16, 2015, 11:22:36 PM
Alembic pickups and electronics would be the way to go, especially yummy with the fretless!
 
My 02c.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 20, 2015, 11:29:45 AM
Agreed Edwin, it's a great bass as-is - with Alembic pickups/electronics it would be killer!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 20, 2015, 11:44:33 AM
A custom Alembic Activator kit with two discrete channels perhaps ?   Volume / Filter   &    Volume /Filter ; wired with a stereo/mono switch.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 20, 2015, 12:00:09 PM
Also ; replacement of the existing pickup selector switch with a rotary Alembic type . As a cherry on top, replacement of all the knobs with the popular Alembic/ Raytheon  old style knobs.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 20, 2015, 12:11:51 PM
( double post correction )
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 20, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 20, 2015, 12:16:20 PM
To go the  Whole nine yards  Alembic bridge & tail piece with brass block. If you set the tailpiece back further you will be able to use long scale strings. I have two short scale instruments set up as such .  You will hear a difference with the alembic bridge and brass block.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 20, 2015, 01:12:32 PM
Excellent ideas Wolf! Double Activator sounds pretty intense! I think I would be satisfied with just standard two pickups with single volume/filter. Not sure that they do pickup selector switch with such an Activator setup though. I really like the idea of the rotating selector in the existing spot - I tend to hit the current switch by accident when I'm in the middle position.
 
Are the old Raytheon style knobs different than the current witch-hats?
 
Bridge & tailpiece would be cool too, but I kind of like the current setup with flatwounds and fretless. If it was fretted I would definitely be more inclined to replace the harp bridge.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 20, 2015, 06:34:38 PM
Hello Harry ,  In  old  Raytheon/  Hat knobs  I am just referring to the standard old non collet  Alembic knobs .
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 20, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: zomnius on March 21, 2015, 01:00:00 AM
hi, great idea, nice bass! If you get the alembic pickups in, I would like to get your Guild humbuckers.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 25, 2015, 04:38:42 PM
zomnius, are you on the hunt for Guild humbuckers? People are really divided on these, some love them, most seem to hate them! I'm kind of on the fence - they are very powerful, but also kind of blah sounding.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 05:09:20 PM
Harry brings out a  note-worthy point here in my opinion as well .  
What really surprised me was that Guild is selling their re-issue Bi Sonics as our friend Taylor points out in thread above  !   Like WOW man !!!!!!   LOL __   I am really tempted to install two of those in a long scale  Epiphone EB-3 that a friend of mine layed on me a while ago. I was thinking of also instaling an Alembic Strato Blaster !  
Instant  LESH  1970?    That was a great sound .  Add the Mcintosh 3500 amps , Alembic  F2B ( or preamp out from Fender Dual showman) , Sunn Cabs with JBL K140 's and there we have it ?   Peter is that correct ????    Calling Cosmic Cowboy our equipment historian !
 
 
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 25, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 25, 2015, 05:21:39 PM
Add Pyramid Gold flats. But I think that the short scale adds to the tone. I have a 60s shell of an EB bass waiting for this treatment, but it needs extensive finish work before it's ready to start the routing and wiring. I have all the parts (including the Showman and Sunn w/JBLs) but not the time.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 05:34:30 PM
Edwin , Yes indeed , The Pyramid Gold Flats . I have a few sets in my stash , Both Long Scale and Short .  I think those strings added quite a bit to  That  sound to that we both know and can identify !  
I know you like it too .  
Wolf .
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 25, 2015, 06:28:08 PM
I do, indeed!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 25, 2015, 08:10:12 PM
Wolf, I haven't done any digging but I am very suspicious of the new Bi-Sonic that Guild is marketing. $99 apiece apparently. I dug a little and came up with this thread from Let's Talk Guild (http://www.letstalkguild.com/ltg/showthread.php?184693-New-Starfire-bass-with-2-pups target=_blank). I don't like to be negative but I personally wouldn't expect much from them.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 08:42:47 PM
Harry _____@ $99.00 a piece is cheap in deed , Perhaps in sound as well !  
As you say . However my plunge router is already smiling to do some work !    They even offer a router template . How nice of them . The experimental cadaver body might be an Epiphone  long scale EB -3 . Not a Vintage 60's Gibson.  I have to sleep on this anyway .  
Wolf .
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 09:02:44 PM
( wrong thread)
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 25, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 09:02:54 PM
( server anomaly)
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 25, 2015)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 25, 2015, 09:18:38 PM
I say go for it!
 
But you know me.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 25, 2015, 09:40:58 PM
Edwin , I think those new Guild BI -Sonics , must be at least,   a bit better then those Epiphone EB-3 pickups , I would think ( hopefully). I seem to have so many irons in the fire ! LOL ___  If nothing  else ,  Mr. Plunge  Router will have had his dinner !  
 
 Wolf
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 25, 2015, 09:51:39 PM
And if nothing else, you'll have excellent holes routed for Dark Stars, Curtis Novaks, or even Alembics!
 
My suspicions about the new Bisonics is that their resistance is so low compared to the old ones, but that doesn't really mean anything. You just don't know until you get them in there.
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 25, 2015, 09:56:38 PM
Wolf, you would actually be doing everyone a great service! Could you record the bass with the current stock pickups, then record it under similar conditions with the Guild Bi-Sonics? I'll have to do that with mine b/n the humbuckers and whatever gets put in!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: sonicus on March 26, 2015, 01:43:18 AM
Edwin ,  Yes I agree .  
 
Harry , Ok,I can do a before & after recording. I have a feeling that , before may end up to be much sooner then   ,after.
 
Wolf
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on March 30, 2015, 10:20:23 PM
Despite teaching class in the morning and a dying car battery, I made it up to Santa Rosa today:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/402/208034.jpg)
 
Details to be worked out, but this bass will be Alembicized to some extent!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwin on March 30, 2015, 11:44:45 PM
Ah, the infamous couch!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: moonliner on April 03, 2015, 05:07:32 PM
I have one of Curtis Novak's BiSonics in a Jerry Jones bass. It's very fat and warm sounding. I don't have much luck with it on tunes that need a quick attack, but for everything else it's pretty special. I'm intrigued to see Guild has reissued the BiSonic for $99. At that price it's very tempting to try. The Novak one I got has the coil tap to go from vintage to Dark Star specs. The lower output setting is the one I use most.  
I put anniversary electronics in my Starfire that Alembic finished for me a few months ago. It's a potent and versatile package for sure.  
I look forward to seeing what you do with this lovely bass!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on April 03, 2015, 07:09:32 PM
Hey moonliner - thanks for stopping in! Your Starfire is a sight to behold - definitely part of the road that I am traveling now.
 
Your Curtis Novak Bi-Sonic sounds very cool! Would love to see a pic - I've never owned a Jerry Jones bass - is it the Danelectro kind of thing? Sounds like an interesting axe!
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: moonliner on April 05, 2015, 12:50:41 AM
Hi Harry,
 
Thanks! I'm really thrilled with how the Starfire turned out.  
 
Yes, the Jerry Jones basses I have are Danelectro longhorn remakes. Well built, lightweight, short scale? and weird looking!
:-)
My main longhorn is cooper burst. I found this aqua burst on ebay a few months ago and thought I'd use it to test the Novak Bi-sonic.  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/402/208202.jpg)
Title: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on April 11, 2015, 10:45:12 PM
I seem to remember seeing a picture of Jimmie Vaughan playing a 6-string Longhorn, maybe on the inside of the SRV double live album - I always thought they were cool - that one is supercharged!
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on February 14, 2018, 01:49:12 PM
Made the trip up to Santa Rosa to A) try out Pliny the Younger at Russian River Brewing Company (https://russianriverbrewing.com) (waited in line for 3 1/2 hours!) and B) pick up a couple of instruments at the Mothership! Here's a preview - my early '70s solidbody fretless M-85 II has been Alembicized - more pics of the pickups when I get home tonight!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4766/39372958215_4269eb07dc_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: StephenR on February 14, 2018, 02:00:27 PM
Hey Harry, great to hear you were successful in your quest to taste PTY. Hope you found it worth the wait. Looking forward to seeing pics of the Guild. Did you pick up your double-neck, too?
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on February 14, 2018, 02:40:22 PM
Yes, the doubleneck came home too! The 6-string neck is now tuned EADGBE like a Bass VI - feels so much better to me! The Guild sounds great, I played it a bit last night.


The beer was good - glad I had the experience but I'll drink it locally in the future, or just stick with the Elder!
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on February 14, 2018, 07:01:25 PM
Here's some of what we came back with:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4758/40229433602_17c1828a58_z.jpg)

One beer from a 6-pack of Pliny the Elder, and a now-Alembicized factory-fretless Guild M-85 II - this is a new shell designed as a replacement for the Guild humbuckers - it's the original pickup rings - Anniversary electronics but mono - volume/filter/q-switch for each pickup - pickup selector (hidden behind the beer) is a normal one, not rotary, so no stand-by position but I don't really use that anyway.


I'll start a new thread in the Showcase when I get some better pictures! Gonna wait for some new strings too before I record it.
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on February 14, 2018, 07:39:26 PM
Lookin' good Harry!    8)
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: rv_bass on February 15, 2018, 03:47:36 AM
Looks great, Harry; a fretless, I bet it sounds beautiful!  Is the M-85 a solid body, or chambered?  Nice mod to have the pickup shells fit the original rings!  Awesome craftsmanship   :)
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: growlypants on February 15, 2018, 06:16:22 AM
Beautiful.  (They can do ANYthing, can't they?!)
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on February 15, 2018, 08:24:22 AM
Thanks everyone! I'm really enjoying this bass, I love the way it feels and plays and now sounds!

Looks great, Harry; a fretless, I bet it sounds beautiful!  Is the M-85 a solid body, or chambered?  Nice mod to have the pickup shells fit the original rings!  Awesome craftsmanship   :)

The earlier M-85 were usually semi-hollow, though apparently there are a few hollow-bodies out there. By 1971 or so they became thinner and solid like mine - I think mine might be one of the early solid-bodies - pretty soon after they added a master volume control.
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: gearhed289 on February 15, 2018, 10:12:29 AM
Nice Harry! Love the M-85. Still missing my '73 JS-II.
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: StephenR on February 15, 2018, 10:15:39 AM
Definitely a cool bass and the new electronics must help take the sound to a completely new place.
Title: Re: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
Post by: hieronymous on February 18, 2018, 10:16:39 PM
Yay - finally started a thread in the "Instruments Customized by Alembic" section of the Showcase!

http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=23492.0 (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=23492.0)



Nice Harry! Love the M-85. Still missing my '73 JS-II.


I think a fretted short scale Guild with these pickups & electronics would be pretty cool - if not formidable!