Author Topic: Alembicized Guild M-85 II  (Read 1294 times)

hieronymous

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Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« on: February 18, 2018, 01:37:10 PM »

My Alembicized M-85 II is here! I still haven't been able to take good pictures but I just can't wait to start this thread! The original Dreaming thread is here. The pickups are a brand new design, meant to be dropped into the original pickup rings for the Guild humbuckers that replaced the Bi-Sonics around 1971. The electronics in mine are Anniversary (volume, filter & Q switch for each pickup) but mono instead of with the stereo option, and with just a 3-way selector instead of the 4-way rotary. So I don't get stereo or a standby position, but that doesn't bother me at all.


Here's a picture of the whole body:





I'll try and post more pics as time goes on, as well as soundclips!

edwardofhuncote

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 03:11:45 PM »
Looks great, Harry.  8)

Interesting about the pickups... wonder if they'd be a drop-in on my DeArmond Starfire. The rings look right. Hmm.


rv_bass

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 03:13:11 PM »
Beautiful, Harry!  I look forward to the sound clips!  :)


soflbass

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 09:51:16 AM »
 Beautiful! I'll bet it sounds nice too.
Enjoy!

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 07:41:33 AM »
Thanks everyone!


Mica sent me the Alembic studio shots she took when I picked it up:






fmm

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 01:35:17 PM »
I'm not a big Guild fan but that's a beautiful bass.
fmm

edwardofhuncote

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2018, 01:44:58 PM »
Congratulations & Compliments, Harry. Looking forward to your fretless posts.  ;)

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 11:22:11 PM »
I've been playing and enjoying this bass! Sounds great with just the neck pickup or with both mixed to give a little bit of bite from the bridge pickup. Did a recording tonight, running through my CAE tube comp & newly refurbished Alembic F-2B, playing along with Mr. Green Genes from Hot Rats by Frank Zappa, plus some free playing afterwards.

Congratulations & Compliments, Harry. Looking forward to your fretless posts.  ;)

And here's the hard part - I gotta practice! Gonna keep recording now and again to check my progress. Whether any gets released is another story - noticing it can be hard to hear in tune while I'm playing with headphones, easier in hindsight listening back...

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 04:38:45 PM »

Finally got in a set of fresh LaBella flatwound strings - I had a set lying around but they were short scale and Guilds really need medium scale because of the extra distance between the ball-end and the saddle. So I thought it was a nice chance to post another pic:





I've been playing the bass a lot with the old strings - they are probably fine (especially since no frets to mash them up and mess up intonation), but considering that they are 8-9 years old and have been undone and restrung when the mods were being done, I want to put on a fresh set. I noticed the G string around the 7th "fret" is dead - is it a dead spot on the instrument? I'll know more soon. Plus I haven't bothered setting the intonation (seems fine, harder to tell on fretless?), which I will do now.


I also unearthed the pictures from the eBay auction from when I bought the bass back in 2009 - will post those later!

David Houck

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 04:48:03 PM »
That does look nice; like an Alembic in stealth mode.

edwardofhuncote

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 10:59:40 AM »
...like an Alembic in stealth mode.

Funny coincidence Dave; Mica used those exact words yesterday when we were talking briefly about my project. You must have been using The Force.  ;D

Hieronymous, I'm wondering if your bass has any side markers? 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.?  Looks like some very faint side dots, though to be fair, I'm looking at them on a little-bitty mobile screen... I highly recommend a 1st 'fret' marker if you don't have one... adding it was extremely helpful on my fretless Distillate when landing those notes in the lower register. There's a lot of really useful ones between the nut and 3rd. 

*and a lot of really bad ones if you miss.  ;)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 01:09:17 PM by edwardofhuncote »

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2018, 05:12:54 PM »
Yes, it's got markers at 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, etc. (19, 22  & 24?) (EDIT: I checked last night - it's 22 "frets" so no 24 lol)


I'm enjoying playing it - I try and play at least 10-15 minutes every day - definitely working on intonation - that nut-3rd fret is quite an expanse! I'm actually kind of enjoying exploring it markerless - I think I really need more work on the higher frets!


Gotta run, psyched for your impeding DeArmond Starfire mod! Just haven't had a chance to comment anywhere.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 08:47:20 AM by hieronymous »

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2018, 10:28:09 AM »
Been in conversation with edwardofhuncote in a couple of places so not always sure where and when we talked about different things, but here is an issue I was having:

With the old (circa 2009?) strings I was having a dead spot at the 7th "fret" position on the G string (D note) - the initial attack sounds great, but dies quickly. Other positions on the G string sounded fine. Well, finally put on a new set of La Bella flatwounds and it is much better, but still seems like a dead spot. Not a big deal - I'm not going for big sustained tones, I approach this fretless more like an r'n'b thumper - but I did notice something else about the saddle - it's almost like two grooves were cut next to each other:







You can kind of tell that the saddle looks darker than the others - might be a replacement, badly set up? Unfortunately these saddles are really rare to come across. Do you think it might have any effect on the string? Possible contribution to the dead spot? Something I would like to get fixed, even just for my OCD's sake, but I'm not worrying about it right now.


A lot of people don't like the "harp bridge" but I kind of like it for this bass - if it was fretted I might have upgraded earlier on. I do have some metal replacement saddles which I might switch to at some point, I just like the idea of wooden saddles - what a kooky design! Apparently these were made by Hagstrom and shipped to Guild with the saddles in place - see this thread at letstalkguild.com where someone exchanged emails with Karl Hagstrom Jr.:


http://www.letstalkguild.com/ltg/showthread.php?153290-Saddle-Talk

Maybe someday there could be further Alembicization of this bass - Alembic bridge/tailpiece (in chrome), and also if the fingerboard ever got really chewed up maybe they could replace it with ebony, and install LEDs! I guess this should go back in the dreaming thread...

keith_h

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2018, 10:57:09 AM »
I think you have a version of the Fender dead spot. It has to do with resonance and sadly isn't limited to Fender basses. You might be able to move it to a less conspicuous location on the neck by adding some mass to the headstock (i.e. Fat Finger). I just live with it on my Fenders and if I really need the sustain move to the D string for those notes. 

hieronymous

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Re: Alembicized Guild M-85 II
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2018, 11:11:02 AM »
I think you have a version of the Fender dead spot. It has to do with resonance and sadly isn't limited to Fender basses. You might be able to move it to a less conspicuous location on the neck by adding some mass to the headstock (i.e. Fat Finger). I just live with it on my Fenders and if I really need the sustain move to the D string for those notes. 
Thanks - I actually do have a Fat Finger - I should experiment!