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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive through September 10, 2014 » Spoiler electronics mods « Previous Next »

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Username: nameless_v2

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2014
Posted on Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 2:34 am:   Edit Post

Hello Alembics lovers

I'm a fresh owner of a beautifull Spoiler in excellent condition. Trying to learn more about this fantastic bass, I read somewhere(I don't remember where) that some official mods on the electronic exist.
Indeed, it seems that the 4 positions pick-up selector can be replaced by a real Pan (I mean continuous) like on some other Alembics. Is that true ? Is it usefull ? Is it recommended and does it need to return the instrument to factory for upgrade or buying sub-circuit and install it ourself is possible.
Just to be curious because this bass sounds so great like this that i'm not sure I would touch anything on it. ;-)

Keep on playing...

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2110
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 02, 2014 - 9:48 pm:   Edit Post

The short answer is they can do anything.

I have a five-string Spoiler, and had considered the trade-out from the 4-way to a pan. I played with the pickup heights and preamp gains and eventually found a tone on the BOTH position on the 4-way that suited me.

Strangely enough, I ultimately decided against the pan as I really liked the STANDBY position on the 4-way. I've still had this floating around as a Definite Maybe, so one day, who knows?

Alembics generally run plug-in solderless electronics, so IF the 4-way and the Pan used the same plug-in, it might be pretty painless, though I doubt it's that simple. I do know the hole for the rotary switch is smaller than the hole for a pan pot, so some minor surgery would be required, at least.

J o e y
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 3083
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 02, 2014 - 11:56 pm:   Edit Post

Definitely recommended. About ten years ago, my Spoiler guts were modded at the mothership with a pan control and a three-way Q switch. You just get so many tone options that way -withput them, the Spoiler is like a three trick poney.

You do need the proper tools to loosen the knobs, and unless you have the original tool set, it's hard to find those funny inch sizes in continental Europe.
Username: nameless_v2

Post Number: 4
Registered: 1-2014
Posted on Monday, February 03, 2014 - 12:20 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Adriaan and Joey,

Thanks a lot for your comments.This mod seems quite interesting as well. Adriaan, did you have to enlarge the bore for the pan switch as mentioned by Joey ? Something not so difficult to make but hurting my 'Old Lady'... Which i'm not intending to do at that time. Moreover, I guess that the full off pan position is the same than this usefull 'click off position' for the 4 positions bridge selector. Right ?

On the other hand, when you mention appropriate tool set... I guess that's just inch wrenches and keys instead of metrics (stuff that I have, spending some of my leisure times on Vintage British Cars).

Lastly, what´s this 3-way Q switch ? Just an intermediate position or one more boost on the low pass cut frequency ? In the same mood : is it just a plug and play upgrade ?

Really glad to be part of the 'Alembicers' since one month as the community is so nice as well as the instruments !

Kind regards,

Username: adriaan

Post Number: 3085
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, February 03, 2014 - 1:40 pm:   Edit Post

No way you can avoid the drill - to be honest, I chickened and asked a local luthier to do the dirty work.

The pan pot doesn't have a "full off" position - you go from all bridge pickup, adding more and more neck pickup, then a center click with both equal, and on to less and less bridge pickup until you get to all neck pickup. With the standard pickup selector switch, you have neck only, or both pickups, or bridge only, or no sound (which is not a true standby, because the battery will still drain).

The 3-way Q switch was indeed plug & play for me but I sent the whole lot (preamp, pots, switches and jack) over to Santa Rosa. The standard 2-way gives you 0 or 8 dB boost at the cut-off frequency (at 0 dB, there's still the natural bump of a LPF). I had mine wired for 0, 3 and 6 dB - I found the 8 dB a little harsh, and those 3 dB increments are just strong enough to make a difference.

If you spend more time here, you will find that vintage British cars and Alembics go together well - you'll fit right in.

(Message edited by adriaan on February 03, 2014)
Username: keith_c

Post Number: 5
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Saturday, August 09, 2014 - 8:25 pm:   Edit Post

I've pondered modifying my '83 spoiler's electronics. Wondering if anyone has a suggestion on my idea. First, I never found the 'both' pickup position useful. There seems to be too much cancellation. Secondly, I really like the blend knob on the J-basses I've played. Thirdly, I'm a Chris Squire fan and I really want to explore a stereo rig. IDEA: Double the circuit (there's another version of the chip that is used in my Spoiler that essentially is two of the same thing), have two volume pots one for each pickup, have two Qs one for each pickup, have two line outs each going to separate amps- my Trace Elliot 1210 Combo and another amp yet to be determined. Any problems foreseen or suggestions?
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1759
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, August 09, 2014 - 9:50 pm:   Edit Post

"...I really like the blend knob on the J-basses I've played."

Every J-Bass I've ever encountered had either 2 volumes & 2 tones, stacked, or 2 volumes & 1 master tone.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11451
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 7:04 pm:   Edit Post

It sounds like what you're wanting to do is very similar to the Anniversary electronics package.

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