Author Topic: Starfire with Europa  (Read 1402 times)

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« on: March 01, 2015, 06:42:46 PM »
Hi,
 
I have a Guild Starfire I (recent reissue) and I'm thinking of installing two Fat Boy pickups and Europa electronics.  I love the sound of the Starfire, and with Pyramid Gold flatwounds I can get a sound reminiscent an acoustic bass. I like the bisonic sound, but the G string is a little too bright and crisp, and adjusting for it with the amp (Eden WT550) alters the tones of the other strings too much. I'm thinking the Fat Boys for the robust low end and softer high end, and the Europa electronics to keep it simple, but still have some options for tone shaping as needed. I'd be interested in feedback on this proposed set up. I use this bass specifically for Jazz.
 
Thanks,
 
Rob

sonicus

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2015, 11:04:35 PM »
One word  Excellent

edwin

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 11:51:52 PM »
I have Series II pickups and electronics in my Starfire (you can hear it here: http://club.alembic.com/Images/449/206554.html?1423839784 and there are pictures elsewhere on the site) and my guess is your plan would be great. Maybe get a stereo output and then tilt the pickups with one favoring the high strings and the other favoring the low and then you can EQ them differently.
 
 
Check out the build thread for Keith's Starfire, too.
 
I'm now thinking about getting Alembic pickups and electronics for my Modulus. Alembic setups spoil you.

5a_quilt_top

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 08:20:07 AM »
+ 1 on both. The Europa electronics are very intuitive and easy to navigate when playing live.
 
Word of caution, you may find the Fat Boy in the bass (neck) position to be a little too prominent.
 
I use an FB in the treble (bridge) position only and, for me, it balances nicely with the standard Alembic bass (neck) PU.
 
I never have a problem getting lows out of my Alembics, but when I emphasize the treble position, I find the standard PU to be a little thin.
 
YMMV.

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2015, 05:00:29 PM »
Thanks to both of you for the feedback, good food for thought!  I will look into all of this further.
 
Edwin, your bass sounds amazing, fine playing as well!  Your band gave fine treatment to a beautiful tune!
 
Thanks,
Rob

sonicus

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2015, 05:17:32 PM »

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 05:27:15 PM »
Thanks, Sonicus.  I noticed that one of your basses as well as Keith's recent build have trapezoid pickups .  Can you tell me what characteristics those pickups have?
 
Thanks,
Rob

edwin

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 05:57:34 PM »
My bass has trapezoidal structures in the rectangular shells as well. I don't notice a huge difference between them and traditionally shaped pickups, but they are the only Alembic pickups I've had in this bass. Mine have the wide end under the E string.

sonicus

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 06:56:14 PM »
Hello Rob .  
                 Your Europa or Activator type cuicuit is a different animal and will cost you a bit less to install . You might want to inquire about an Activator fit for your bass as well .  
      I sold that Starfire in 1978 , that would be 37 years ago.Those pickups are even older then that dating to some of Alembics very early designs. Those pickups used hum cancelers that were inside the body of the bass ( you can see them in the pics in the links ) At this time Series I/II use's a hum canceler configuration but with low pass filters and Cue switches on the Series I and CVQ on the Series II . The original Alembic electronics circuit in that bass  did not have filters but buffer preamps and passive tone controls instead.  Your question asks for characteristics and because of my technical background I want to give you a very technical answer as to the exact NUMBERS as far as engineering data in finite measurement terminology. Is that what you would like to know ?  It has been so long ago and I know far more now then I did then as far as how to answer your question.   Back when I had that bass I was an audio engineering student at  The College for Recording Arts at Golden State Recorders. The recording studio owner and my teacher and mentor was Mr. Leo De Gar Kulka and I took the bass into the studio there where he was fascinated by it. He commented thus ; What a wonderfull full spectrum sound your bass provides !  . _______Quite certainly today's Alembic products can give you that and even more without any RF-EMF noise . The earliest Alembic cuircuits sounded awesome as far as frequency response and dynamic range and clarity compared to anything alse available but were a just a little more interferance sensitive then what can be provided at this time.  I have a Bass with a PF-5 example as well as with the new version Series cuircuit. Both are wonderful but the newer very quiet.

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 08:05:05 PM »
Thanks, Edwin for your update, and thanks Sonicus for your comments as well.  I'm not familiar with electrical engineering, so a technical explanation would go over my head.  I was just curious about tonal quality.  I appreciate all of the feedback, and I think for now I'm leaning towards my original idea of Fat Boys with Europa electronics. I think that will get me what I'm aiming for in tone and functionality.
 
Thanks again,
 
Rob

moonliner

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 12:00:08 AM »
I highly recommend putting Alembic pickups in your Starfire. The combo of hollow body warmth and thump with Alembics powerful, clean, even, and crisp tone is quite amazing. Especially with flatwounds.
The trapezoid pickups in my starfire have regular magnets in them, so they are trapezoid in appearance only.  At the moment Alembic doesn't offer that shape of magnet. The entire bass was a tribute to the early days of Alembic, so I wanted that shape, whether the magnets were that shape or not.

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 06:03:16 PM »
Thanks, Moonliner, I saw your bass on the Build page, beautiful and I'm sure it is a dream to play!  After hearing what you all have said, I'm going to see if I can get the alembic pickups installed in my Starfire.
 Thanks!
 Rob

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2015, 04:13:11 AM »
I had a very nice talk with Mica yesterday, the wheel is turning...

rv_bass

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 09:55:42 AM »
Hello Everyone,
 
Just wanted your opinions on pickup pan vs. individual volume controls.  I have an Orion bass with pan control, which works nicely, but I haven't used a bass with the individual pickup volume/Q-switch set up.  Do you find a major advantage over pan control with a single volume?
 
Thanks,
Rob

jazzyvee

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Starfire with Europa
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 11:04:14 AM »
Here is a good thread to read which discusses this very situation.  
http://club.alembic.com/Images/393/12728.html?1095692060
For guitar I find that most of my tone changes are gained by switching pickups and so for that I find a single volume to be most suited to my needs.  
 
For bass, which is the point of your thread. I have both of the options you are considering and whilst at first I preferred the pan pot, now I would actually prefer individual volume for each pickup plus a master volume. That way when I have found a tone that I want to stick with I can just lower the overall instrument volume with out affecting the ratio of one pickup to another. Trying to tweak the individual volumes by and equal amount to keep the tone can be a bit tricky until it becomes second nature. But I'd go with a master volume also.
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!