Author Topic: LIve Fire Exercise  (Read 2732 times)

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« on: September 03, 2014, 10:39:39 AM »
Dreaming is all it is... for now. I haven't a clue how long it might take, but I suppose step one is starting a fund, the size of which to be determined by what appointments are built into the order. I'm not a full-time player anymore, just a working guy with 15 years to go before even considering retirement. I do have a handful of steady, sometimes profitable gigs, including a repair shop where I work on upright basses, so there's at least there is a stream of disposable funds to put toward a bass order.
 
Discounting the possibility that I may find The One already built between now and then, this will just be a live fire exercise... just having a little fun... dreaming. If it happens, well, the build sheet can come straight from this thread, and it'll be a cool story.        
 
To start with, if I were going to commission a new bass, it would (obviously) be an Alembic, but what would it be?
 
So Far:
 
1. Five-string
2. Neck-Thru  
3. Maple/Purpleheart neck laminates (3)
4. Lined Fretless, Macassar Ebony board
 
 
Not much to go on... but it's a start. I simply don't have nearly enough experience yet to make good choices, especially on the electronics. Love my Quilted Maple Persuader with PJ/PVF Activators, wired Volume-Pan-Filter & 3-position Q switch, but I'm looking for a fretless contrast to that sound. Traditional soap-bars have a sound that appeals to me. Bass/Treble Boost/Cut works well for about anything I do musically, but the Filter is also a magical tonal experience.
 
We'll see where this goes.

jazzyvee

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 01:04:58 PM »
Seems you are making a good start in your dream. Have you put any thought into a body styling? For me Europa/Elan body styles balance incredibly well but you may not be a fan of that style. Here is one of my favourite looking alembic's.
http://www.alembic.com/info/fc_smootho.html
 
The Europa electronics package on this bass is really great to use live and with the bass and treble quick change switches you can do a lot with the flick of a switch without even adjusting the filter.
 
From my experience with single filter alembics and dual filter alembics, you will get much more tonal flexibility with a two filter system. It does however take quite a while to grasp what is going on tonally with two filters and the Q-switches but the rewards are immense.
 
Here is another great fretless bass at the higher end of the alembic spectrum.  
http://www.alembic.com/info/FC_purpleprincess.html
 
I look forward to reading your dream idea's developing as you continue to think them through.
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

keith_h

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 01:30:22 PM »
I went with a set neck for my fretless as I wanted the mid-rangy bump similar to what you get with fretless Jazz Bass. Like the first bass JV posted I went with sidelines and dots instead of ghost frets and they have worked out well. Based on your update I agree that the Europa would be good to consider. I'm also of the opinion that it is the most performance friendly of the various electronics packages available.  
 
Here is a link to my fretless for some other ideas.  
 
Keith

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 04:59:01 PM »
Wow, those are some beauties fellas!
 
I do actually prefer the Europa/Elan body shape of all, but the cone headstock appeals to me a tiny bit more than the Orion.(I have to admit though, that the Smooth Operator's headstock is slowly changing my mind!) Conversely, I'd also given some thought to building an homage to McVie's famous continuous fretted omega cut.      
 
And I'm fine with the longer (34) scale, having started out on upright. I would actually prefer 35, simply because it's what I'm used to. My two go-to basses are the aforementioned Persuader, and a Turner Electroline 535, a disparate pair to be sure. I'll go ahead and add the long scale to the list.    
 
The sidelines are a very nice touch too. And I can't say enough about how much I like the continuous wood options... that's just awesome craftsmanship.
 
For wood selection, I would request the warmest, woodiest tone possible, but with lots of sustain. I'll agonize over the top laminate... my favorites are Quilted Maple, Cocobolo, and Walnut.
 
The electronics... well, I need to make it to a meet-up somewhere within a days' drive of Virginia I guess, and play a couple. I played a Distillate 5-string about 15 years ago that just branded me for life... and may well be the bass that solidified my resolve to own one someday.

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 05:02:43 PM »
1. Five-string
2. Neck-Thru
3. Maple/Purpleheart neck laminates (3)
4. Lined Fretless, Macassar Ebony board  
5. Extra-Long Scale 35
6. Europa/Elan body (maybe)
 
(Message edited by edwardofhuncote on September 03, 2014)

hammer

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 06:32:54 PM »
If you're looking for fundamental sustain and a big low end, you definitely might want to consider adding an ebony laminate to the neck recipe. Two purpleheart lams with an ebony stringer between has provided me with a monster low end. As far as the headstock goes, take a look at the following for a sampling of what the mothership has done in the past: http://club.alembic.com/Images/393/82450.html?1281325818

jacko

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 04:26:21 AM »
I'd go along with earlier comments that the Europa electronics package is one of the easiest to use on stage. if you like the feel of the p bass / jazz body, consider the Rogue. After some thought I went with a lined fingerboard on mine.  
 
graeme

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 05:55:01 AM »
Settled on the Europa body last night... it's lines are just so graceful and unforced. I'm leaning toward that electronics package too. Still need to try one somewhere for firsthand experience, but the sheer sensibility of 2 MXY's, Filter/Q-switch, with Boost/Cut switches for Bass/Treble... I don't imagine a way to go wrong there. So...
 
1. Five-string
2. Neck-Thru
3. Maple/Purpleheart neck laminates (3)
4. Lined Fretless, Macassar Ebony board
5. Extra-Long Scale 35
6. Europa body
7. Europa/Elan Plus electronics (maybe)
 
Almost time to start thinking about wood.

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2014, 08:16:37 AM »
I've just had a fairly radical, or maybe downright crazy idea... based on this:
 

 
 
One of the bands I play in would best be described as a neo-oldtyme ensemble, part classical, part string band, part modern acoustic. Anyway, the principal songwriter sent me a demo of somebody she knows playing one. Although aware of half-fretless banjos, I wasn't aware at the time if anyone had ever tried it on a bass.  
 
So, I'm wondering what Alembic's take on this would be? (given McVie's stainless steel fingerboard having sorta' set precedent) We are talking custom here, and I guess this is the place to air out crazy ideas...  
 
Nutty? Do-able? I'd go fretless up to #11...  
 
 
(Message edited by edwardofhuncote on September 09, 2014)

keith_h

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2014, 08:56:51 AM »
If you Google half fretless bass you will see folks have done it. Typically the lower notes are fretted and the upper are fretless but I've also seen some where the lower strings are fretted the full length and higher strings are fretless the whole length.  
 
Would Alembic be willing to do something like this? Only way to tell is to ask Susan.  
 
Keith

growlypants

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2014, 09:34:34 AM »
I don't know for sure, but I'd think buzzing would be a real issue when playing notes around the 9th fret.  Cool idea, though!!

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2014, 10:28:38 AM »
Just for clarity - following the model of the fretless banjo, the brass plate would necessarily be the same height as a fret would be, so that when affixed to the fingerboard and spanning from the nut to where fret #11 would be, it could be played fretless in the lower register, and noted in the upper. The frets from 12-24 would necessarily be below the plane of the fretless segment.
 
A little better visualization:
 
 
 
 
I believe the expression on McVie's bass was continuously fretted... which would accurately describe this brass fretless section.

hammer

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 07:20:09 AM »
There's a local luthier in my neck of the woods who has been doing this for years (Brown's Guitar Factory).  He refers to his basses as frettedless, They are fretted in the lower register and fretless in the upper. I've played some of his creations, (he does custom work as well as having some standard models) and can say that he does excellent work.  
 
Check out his website: http://www.brownsguitarfactory.com/
 
and a YouTube video of John playing one of his more basic creations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-9wY57AZIs
 
I also seem to remember that Ibanez has a fretted/fretless creation of their own.  If memory serves me well its a 5-string bass with the D & G strings fretless and B,E, & A fretted

edwardofhuncote

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 08:17:33 AM »
Yeah, I saw that ^ while reading the various google-button results - *very* nice work. Interesting too, how he's a third generation luthier. I learned a lot of what I know about working on instruments from my Dad, who built banjos, the rest from a violinmaker who didn't mind a pesky apprentice, and of course, the Lifetime School of Hard Knocks & Dumb Mistakes.  
 
I'm really liking this idea of a half fretless (or continuously fretted lower register, if you will) and I'm reasonably sure it *could be* done, especially once the creative force in Santa Rosa got actively involved.  
 
I'm tempted to do a test mod on a fairly cheap bass, simply by de-fretting a neck down to the 12th, and somehow fastening a plate about 3/64th's thick to the fingerboard surface, mostly just to see how usable it will be in the real world.  
 
Here's the reasoning behind this scheme... playing a fretless bass is not all that difficult for me, having been primarily an upright player most of my life, but since spending some time on bass guitar the past few years, I've learned to do some chord-type things up the neck, some of which are very difficult to do (read - dang near impossible) on a fretless bass. But if my bass had some frets up there to assist with the multi-string accuracy...?  
 
I don't know... it may be all-for-nought, but in the spirit of the dreaming for now thread, well... that's what I'm up to here.

mario_farufyno

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LIve Fire Exercise
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2014, 06:37:52 PM »
do you know this convertible fretted to fretless bass?
 
http://youtu.be/J2WOOIZXNks
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MViWP44Abt8
 
 
(Message edited by mario farufyno on September 11, 2014)
 
(Message edited by mario farufyno on September 11, 2014)
Not just a bass, this is an Alembic!