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jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3759
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post

I have an all maple bodied Europa with sig electronics and 3 purpleheart lams in the neck. The view I have got from the forum, rightly or wrongly, is that maple is inherently bright in sound and less bassy than other woods used in alembics.

However this bass has become my first call bass for reggae because the bottom end is so clear and powerfully punchy in a way that my other basses don't feel. Even with the filter closed on the neck pickup and no Q, the sound still has a touch of mid range which keeps the note articulation. But it sounds superbly massive at the bottom end. I only use the bridge to give me a different tone character for different tracks but it's never a major part of my reggae sound.

For example I did a reggae gig last night at a benefit concert at a music college in the city. There were about 4 reggae bands on that session and I got so many positive comments from musicians and the sound crew about both my playing, which is always good to hear, and also raving about the the sound of my bass.

For my rig I used my F1-x and gave the sound guys the DI out from the front panel and put the full range out into the return socket of the bass amp which was an Ashdown combo. That didn't sound that good on stage but the FOH was coming back very meaty.

Is there something more to maple than meets the ear.
On the other side of the scale when I've played it on gigs and used the bright side of the spectrum it is exceptionally crisp and it gives the filters a lot of scope in sound shaping.


Jazzyvee
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 210
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 12:05 pm:   Edit Post

IMO - maple rules.

I've noticed no lack of low end from my mostly maple basses.

Plus, I think the articulate tone that you are hearing that cuts through the mix is due to the influence of the maple.

Your 3 purple heart neck lams are pretty formidable as well. My Spyder has the same configuration (plus a walnut core) and it is pretty meaty in the low end dept.

All of this is good to hear because my bird's eye maple / purple heart Europa 5-string is due to be ready to ship any day now.
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11262
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 4:12 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee; two things from your second paragraph speak to Maple - clear and punchy.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3761
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 1:28 am:   Edit Post

I guess so Dave but I thought the maple punch was in the mid and upper range than the bottom end which is how I've understood it's application for cutting through the wall of guitar sound in some rock type bands.
I guess that's why I'm surprised, pleasantly, at how well it works in a reggae band.

Definitely a wolf in wolf's clothing.
Jazzyvee
xlrogue6
Advanced Member
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 277
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 8:24 am:   Edit Post

Given that the onstage sound was only so-so, I'd say you had the all too rare experience of an FOH guy who knew how to EQ and mix bass properly. He was probably really happy to have a great player, a great bass, and a great preamp(or at least a bit of one) coming out of his XLR.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 8074
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 3:43 pm:   Edit Post

You're also using it with the filter turned down, right? That will make only super clear bass shine through!

Also, what strings are you using?
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3762
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 11:18 pm:   Edit Post

Yes Mica the filter is closed all the way down. My other alembics have equally masses of bottom end it's just the maple has it plus a punch that the others don't seem to posses unless I open the filter slightly to allow some of the lower mids to come through.
I'm just surprised I suppose that a bright wood like maple sounds this heavy on the bottom.

Strings are D'Addario ProSteels EPS170-5 Regular Light 5-String Bass Strings 45 -130.

Jazzyvee
ps: Mica did you manage to make any headway on that mod we talked about on the phone a few weeks back? There is no urgency at all but would be cool if there is anything to report. Can you drop me an email. please, cheers
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2649
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 11:52 pm:   Edit Post

I don't get to play my Alembics very much these days because my bandmates prefer the tone of my lesser instruments. Not sure why.

There are many things about your bass that have an impact on tone. Things like the neck through construction and the strings you use are critical to the tone achieved.

As far as maple goes, I know from baseball bats that maple can vary a bit in grain and density. If your bass is on the heavy side, then you probably have some pretty dense maple. I have a Peavey neck-through that is an extremely heavy slab of maple that has bottom for days, maybe even weeks. Wood is really just a filter. When combined with the construction methods, your bass will have a particular resonance response across the frequency spectrum. A "bright" sounding bass doesn't boost the higher frequencies as much as it absorbs the bassier energy. This allows the higher frequencies to ring out and what you get through the pickups is a relatively bright tone. Gluing together different types and grains of woods can stiffen the overall product to reduce some of the absorption as well.

Neck woods are key to tone. One of my two has purpleheart in the neck, the other one has that as well as ebony. Both have tremendous low end response, especially compared to other Alembics I had owned with only maple in the neck. One of these days I'm going to have to get my hands on a set of "regular" AXYs, or at least a neck pickup, to see if I can be "allowed" to play my babies in the band context again. I think the FatBoy pickups add a bit too much meat to the tone that put it over the top for my band.

In any case, the purpleheart in your neck, the tight glue joints, and maybe a dense piece of maple combine to limit the absorption of low frequencies by your bass, so that meaty full tone is what is ringing out for the pickups to capture and the filters to mold.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2155
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 - 7:15 am:   Edit Post

bsee..maybe you piss them off with your superb tone!
Jealousy, inadequancy, maybe they have lesser instruments..
If a band told me to use something else I would tell them to ***k off and get another bass player!
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3767
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 - 11:20 am:   Edit Post

My band mates have no choice as I only use alembics so if they wanted anything else they would have to find another bass player or buy me another bass.... :-)
Fortunately they seem to like the sound too.

Jazzyvee
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2651
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 - 11:14 pm:   Edit Post

I just haven't done enough experimentation with strings and things - but I think losing the FatBoys would be a major change. I'm flexible, and the tone they like comes from a Zon, so it's not like I am playing anything too far down the food chain. They actually do appreciate the purpleheart-only Alembic, it's the one with the ebony that seems to shake the walls.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2156
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 1:39 am:   Edit Post

bsee..well let it shake the walls!!
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3770
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 3:16 am:   Edit Post

I think I would be interested in trying fatboys especially on the neck pickup, and as it's a bigger pickup I'd have it located right on the lower edge of the truss rod cavity to get some of the meatier lower end tones that would be naturally available in that position.


Jazzyvee
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 3076
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 12:22 pm:   Edit Post

A couple of years ago member 0vid lent me a Fatboy to try out. I found the low-end boost very nice in the bridge position, but a bit too much in the neck position of my Spoiler (which is also a bit closer to the end of the fingerboard than usual). Either way it lacked high end sparkle, so it's not my cup of tea - but it might be just the ticket for those who like to keep their filters way down!
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 215
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 1:13 pm:   Edit Post

Fatboy works great in the treble (bridge) position on Crown of Creation.

Very punchy.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2653
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 1:51 pm:   Edit Post

I will have to look at the guts of my two basses. Both are the same size and shape, so if the leads are long enough I could swap the neck Fatboy from my custom with the bradge AXY of the more standard bass. Either that, or I need to pick up a single neck-length AXY to try. The basses are also a year or two apart in birth, so they may not have exactly the same plugs on them.

I think I was using Chromes at the time as well, so the neck pickup was all meat and relatively little sizzle. I'll get it back into the rotation for a practice one of these days and maybe change some minds. You hear the fatboy described as more like a Series pickup and that gives the idea that it must be better, since Series is better than Signature, etc. That's not really true, it's just different, and better is in the ear of the beholder.

But we've moved away from the topic of deep sounding maple, and I apologize for that.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3774
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post

No problems with the diversion. I'm learning other things as a result of it. :-)

I do wonder now how a maple core series bass would sound.

Jazzyvee

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