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Username: laverneous

Post Number: 1
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 2:04 pm:   Edit Post

I love alembics... My only concern is the use of active electronics. Would they make my effects boxes unusable? I've heard that (maybe just a bad rumor) and active electronics render a tube screamer or a compressor useless(or actually they render them harsh and bad sounding/non musical). Currently I rely on a Teese Wah, Analogman Bi-Comp and Analogman Tube Screamer. I would love to purchase a skylark and have this rig rock the house, but am wondering the logistics of it all... pls advise. thanks, jason
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 93
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

Active electronics and floor effects pedals should be completely compatible, with some caveats. First, the output level of active instruments is often higher, and can be quite a lot higher. Presenting a really high output level to effects pedals that care about the input level can really negatively effect their behavior. For something like a distortion box, you may overdrive the pedal getting a different fuzz effect than you expect. A compressor is sensitive to the input level, so you will need to adjust your setup to get the proper behavior from the box relative to another guitar. Other level sensitive pedals like an envelope follower may also need adjustment to work properly.

The good part about active EQ is that all you need to do is turn down the volume on the instrument to match it to the level of a regular guitar, without any negative effect on your tone. On most Alembics (but I'm not sure about the guitars), there are gain trimpots that let you set the output level lower to match your other instrument's output level.

The other thing that you will want to look out for is that an Alembic guitar, independent of the active electronics, will sound a lot different than a Strat or Les Paul (due to the different electronics, woods, contruction, etc.). So, you'll have to factor those differences into your sound as well, just as you would for any other guitar.

David Fung
Intermediate Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 140
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 2:51 pm:   Edit Post

I have to disagree with the above statement, at least with regards to fuzz pedals. There have been many posts where it was suggested that simply adjusting trim pots or rolling back volume will produce the same tone in a Fuzz pedal as achieved with a passive guitar. This is simply not the case (at least with my Zvex Fuzz Factory, Octane III, Woolly mammoth, or any other germanium fuzz I have used). All that having been said, I never encountered any problem with modulation pedals, and I suspect wah and compressor would be fine as well.

Those primitive fuzz boxes just do not respond to buffered circuits at any level. Funny enough, I thought my Rat, Boss, and DOD distortions all saounded better than my germanium transistor fuzzes. Still not great, but better. I think you will find most of the guitar folks around here achieve their distortion by running Mesa Boogies hot.

This phenomenon eventually led me to sell my Alembic guitar (more money in effects than I had in guitar), and buy an Alembic SF-2. Now I can put my fuzzes between my Giffin and my sf-2, and get alembic filtering with sweet fuzz tone. The best of both worlds really. This would be my suggestion for a die hard fuzz/distortion lover, if you have the resources, and can find a good playing passive guitar, of course.
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 589
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 3:11 pm:   Edit Post


First of all, welcome to the club.

I also use a Teese - the picture wah (absolutely LOVE it), an Analogman modified MXR Dynacomp - the "dynaross" mod, and a silver mod TS-9. When I play my '83 Electrum I have no problem with the tubescreamer and the compressor. The Teese, on the other hand, just doesn't like the Alembic. On songs where I use the wah a lot, I switch guitars.

Bill, the guitar one
Advanced Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 213
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 6:01 pm:   Edit Post


I, too, have had problems with fuzz pedals and my Alembics (one of which has Skylark electronics). The Little Bear and the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face was a disastrous combination. However, I haven't had any real problems with my Frantone "Sweet" fuzz pedal. I guess it's all about trial and error. Haven't noticed a problem with any other distortion or overdrive pedals.


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