Author Topic: Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?  (Read 2333 times)

hieronymous

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« 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:
 


 
 
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 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)

tmoney61092

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #1 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

keith_h

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #2 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

hieronymous

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #3 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)
 
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...

edwin

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #4 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.

hieronymous

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #5 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!

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #6 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.

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #7 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.

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 12:11:51 PM »
( double post correction )
 
(Message edited by sonicus on March 20, 2015)

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #9 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.

hieronymous

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #10 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.

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #11 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)

zomnius

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #12 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.

hieronymous

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #13 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.

sonicus

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Alembicize a Guild M-85 II solidbody?
« Reply #14 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)