Author Topic: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer  (Read 808 times)

el8ed

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Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« on: May 16, 2016, 02:01:09 PM »
A little while ago I traded 2 guitars for a FANO 8-string bass - the first bass/guitar Dennis Fano built (1989). I love the bass (which lead me to look for and purchase my Alembic Spyder-8) but the "straight" J-bass sound leaves me wishing for more - especially when I switch from one of my Alembics.

So, I have been thinking of upgrading the PUs to Activators. As you can see in the photo the bass has a 4-control-knob setup right now, which makes me wonder what electronics configuration would be possible.

Any ideas and/or advise would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Oliver
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 02:45:09 PM by el8ed »

mica

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2016, 02:47:42 PM »
You can fill those 4 holes with volume, pan, bass, treble or with Signature sans Q: volume, pan, filter x2. If you have room inside and are willing to drill 2 holes you can add the Q switches from the Signature electronics. Will have to see "under the hood" to get an idea of how much room is available, including if you need to add a battery.

el8ed

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2016, 03:06:39 PM »
Thanks for chiming in so quickly - that sounds like a lot of options.

I will take a photo of the electronics cavity - it seems to be quite good sized according to this photo.

Volume/Pan/2x filter/2x Q switch sounds yummy - just like my Spyder (it's younger brother from another mother :) )

Cheers, Oliver

mica

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 04:53:42 PM »
Spyder will usually have 2 separate volume controls, a pickup selector and a stereo/mono switch, but they are closely related for sure.
Won't really have any idea until we can see the cavity itself.

el8ed

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2016, 01:14:34 PM »
I took a few detail photos of the electronics cavity and of the PU's for size and configuration.
Is there a way to do Volume, Pan, Filter and Variable Q (only one for both PU's together)?

Please let me know what you think.
Thank you!
Oliver

mica

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 01:57:59 PM »
Looks like there's room for a pan, volume, filter set up. The Q is only available as a 2- or 3-position switch except on the Series II models. You will need to shield that cavity too. I didn't measure the pickups, but those must be standard Jazz bass size, correct? The kit you would need is a JZ/PVF-2 and then specify if you wanted a 2- or 3-position Q-switch.

el8ed

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2016, 03:29:33 PM »
JZ/PVF-2 with 3-position switches sounds very tempting.
Is there an easy way to shield the cavity?

What's the best way to order this as well as a power supply of my Series II?

mica

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2016, 04:19:38 PM »
You can email me. Send me your shipping address and phone number (also serial number of your Series II). Then let me know if you would like me to call you for credit card details or if you would like an invoice emailed to you that you can pay with Paypal. We'll go from there!

el8ed

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 11:17:22 AM »
Alright, the deed is done. I ordered a set of Alembic J-Bass Activators and Signature electronics with 3-way Q switch.


The package from Mica came last Friday and I installed the new PU's on Saturday - worked like a charm, no issues whatsoever - top notch solid product in every way! The knobs that were on the bass did not fit the new pot-stems, so I had to order replacements, which came in on Wednesday.


I spent a few hours with the bass since to explore the new tone territory. I was an interesting ride indeed.


Having my 2 Alembics (Series II and Spyder-8) in mind, I expected the Fano-8 to end up in the same tonal vicinity. Well, I was wrong - naturally. The basic tone of the bass is still very Jazz-Bass-ish for lack of a better expression. When I activate (see what I did there) the filters and Q though, the tonal possibilities become seemingly endless. With separate filters for the 2 PU's I can direct the focus of the tone on the bass or octave string and shape the tone at the same time. It is quite astounding - and I haven't even scratched the surface yet. Little (tiny really) adjustments go a looooong way.


Final verdict ... I am thrilled that I did the conversion. I loved the bass to begin with, but it was a little on the stale side compared to the liveliness of the Alembics. Now I have a bass that retained everything I loved about it, but offers a vast palette of tone to play with.


Sorry to sound like a mindless fan-boy, but I am really excited about how this adventure turned out.


Back to the bass...
Oliver

StephenR

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Re: Activator for FANO 8-String Explorer
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2016, 01:19:41 PM »
Nice upgrade! Good to hear that you are happy with the results.