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Intermediate Member
Username: moonliner

Post Number: 157
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 3:15 pm:   Edit Post

I'm having a Guild Starfire modified by the good folks at Alembic. Soon I'll have to choose what pickups will go in it, and truth be told, I know NOTHING about gear/pickups/etc.
I was wondering if any of you might be able to help me out and tell me what my options are, and what might be best for getting that early 70's Phil tone.
Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!
Intermediate Member
Username: sparechaynge

Post Number: 131
Registered: 6-2010
Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 - 2:10 pm:   Edit Post

I'm no expert, but maybe talk to Ron/Mica about the 40th anniversary electronics? Seems like that may be just it, based on the title. Maybe "regular" Series I pups are the same, I don't know.

Edwin has some great sound with his vintage carmel pickups, so maybe talk to him about that.

A search of the forum never hurt, I recall reading a similar discussion here once but I can't seem to find it now.
Intermediate Member
Username: moonliner

Post Number: 160
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 6:57 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for the response. I appreciate it.
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1290
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry I didn't jump in before - one interesting option would be some kind of Bi-Sonic/Dark Star replica - I bet those would sound sweet through either an F-2B or SF-2 - or both! Anther possibility up this alley would be Chisonics from Lakland/Hanson.

I can second the Anniversary electronics setup - "closest you can get to Series without being Series" - that gives you separate volumes for each pickup and a pickup selector. Some people prefer the blend control, in which case the Signature electronics might be fine too.

Notice I've been saying "electronics" - pickups are another - perhaps even different - part of the equation. I would think pickups that fit the already existing cavities would be preferable, so that will limit the options. There is also the issue of MXY vs. Fatboys, I know it was discussed recently but can't find the thread at this moment. And, of course, vintage Alembic pickups like Edwin has would be amazing!

Another possibility would be Activators or maybe one of the other electronics packages. I bet other people will chime in! Psyched to see how your bass turns out - I saw it on the rack when I went to drop off my Stanley Clarke!
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2964
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post

I have not ignored you my friend but I have been deliberating on what I would do if I did it again ____
About 40 years ago I had two Guild Starfire Modifications projects .



Since you are even getting a new Alembic head stock I would recommend an Alembic brass bridge / brass block, with tail piece (if you set back the tailpiece you can use long scale strings)

For Pickups ; I recommend for you the Series II Electronics/Pickup package .
Perhaps you could get a beautiful wood panel on lower front top of the instrument for the control plate .

I have had the Original Guild /Hagstrom Bi-Sonics my remaining Mahogany Starfire and were they great (sold them over 30 years ago) I would love to have heard them with the Darlington-Pair Emitter mod as Alembic had done with them decades ago. I still plan one day on doing that perhaps as I have procured a few of these semiconductors and will purchase some reproduction pickups,but that project on a Gibson EB-3 or reasonable facsimile there of is for for a long rainy day.

My Best "Sonic Regards" to you !
Intermediate Member
Username: moonliner

Post Number: 161
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 7:42 pm:   Edit Post

thanks guys.
I was wondering if you can run Alembic electronics through a bisonic pickup.... sorry, I'm a bit gear illiterate. I like the idea of two volumes and a master (more knobs the better) :-)
I'm familiar with Anniversary electronics, as that is what's in my Stanley. I read up on the difference between MXY's vs. Fatboys, and it seems Fatboys might be nice and bassy.
Series II could be great, but I don't think I can afford them just yet. Might be nice to plan ahead and have a dummy hum cancelor. As you can see, I'm just not sure which way to go.
I will have sustain block and tail piece, and a lovely burl wood control cover.
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1585
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 7:59 pm:   Edit Post

I wouldn't worry about getting enough bass. I've had Dark Stars, Bartolini triple coil (kind of like a series setup in each pickup, with a dummy coil in the middle) and early Alembic trapezoidals, which are in there now.

My favs of this list are the Alembic and Barts. (The Dark Stars were a little wooly. I'm looking for an EB3 or EB0 in which to put them.) The Alembics are by far the clearest sounding, but are also probably the priciest. I don't know if the fact that my pickups are on the older side and have a very low impedance (resistance is well under 1k ohm) makes a difference in the sound. The newer ones may have a slightly different tone and the non-Series pickups may also sound different. However, I would not suggest the Fatboys. My only real complaint about my pickups is that they are microphonic and thus start squealing before I can get any really fun feedback out of the bass.

I'm also waiting on a pair of SGD ND3 pickups for my Modulus Q6. They get great reviews, although it takes forever for David to get them made and shipped.

Whatever pickups you use, they should all work fine with Alembic electronics.
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2969
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 10:00 pm:   Edit Post

Moonliner ,
Anniversary Electronics with a hum-canceler and a 5 Pin is a good alternative perhaps . I am happy for you ! I will watching the thread for up dates and progress .
Intermediate Member
Username: moonliner

Post Number: 163
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, July 01, 2013 - 1:37 am:   Edit Post

Thanks Sonicus and Edwin.
Wooley as in not much definition? I know Alembic pickups are renown for clarity, but sometimes they can be a bit too high endy (so hard trying to describe sound with words!.... at least for me!) On my Stanely I had them install bass boost and cut and treble boost and cut switches and I tend to boost the bass and cut the treble in an attempt to get away from a too clean and sterile tone. Deep and dark with a bit of punch is kind of how I like my tone. What is it about Fatboys that puts them out of favor? Sorry for all the questions. I really appreciate hearing from others who are on a tone quest. :-)
Oh, has anyone tried the Curtis Novak bi-sonics yet?

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