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lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 138
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 5:32 pm:   Edit Post

I am like the Scorpion, I do not "waste" anything, and everything gets put to use or recycled, so I need your advice.

I have decided to use my "spare/test" MXY as a third PU an my next Arialembic bass, it will be sitting between the Fatboys/AXYs (when I get them)...

I have a total of 3 X filters, 3 X Q-switches and three volumes plus a couple of pans... (a total of three complete harness, one is actually fitted on my first Arialembic)

My options are:

1) I share a volume, pan, filter + Q-switch between the neck (Fatboy/AXY) and the middle PU (MXY) and the bridge gets its own filter + Q-switch, and everything goes to the stereo jack with a switch that does mono/stereo/reverse stereo (mid + neck PU will be together. I will also use the PU selector to do the four combinations... With this scenario, I'll still have a harness on my Arialembic, but without PUs at the moment.

2) I use the harness from my first Arialembic (which has no PUs at the moment), and use a dedicated filter, Q-swicth, volume for each pickup, still with a PU selector and mono/stereo... switch.


I though that the neck and middle pickups my benefit from sharing the same filter + Q-switch, because most likely, it will be one or the other in use, on the other hand, having three filters + Q-switches, will allow me to get, let's say, more treble from the neck, more mid from the mid, and more bass from the bridge from instance... of course, more can be done.

I would greatly appreciate your comments, advice etc...
somatic
Junior
Username: somatic

Post Number: 46
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post

As you have all the parts, test wire it all up and experiment for a while to see what combinations are most musically useful for you. You can spend years discussing it and theorising, asking others for their opinion etc, but a few hours/days testing will give you the definitive answer for you.

Then hardwire it all together and enjoy.
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 139
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 1:42 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for your input, but this is not the kind of answer I was looking for.

Obviously, if I had it all wired + third pickup already routed, I would have tested it myself, don't you think?

This board is a fine one, where we can get some constructive advice + conversation, and this is what I was hoping for.
You probably haven't followed the whole story;

1) The bass is on the work bench and the third pickup cavity is not routed yet.
2) To test such a configuration (3 x PUs, 3 filter + Q-switches), you need to have things wired properly.
3) To accommodate for an extra filter + Q-switch, you need extra holes and space, and there is no way back.
4) I'd be paying the Luthier if I took the bass back and forth to the shop, to test different wiring, but...
5) as I have already asked advice on hooking up the harness, if someone competent and interested had offered his advice, I could have skipped this question.

Thanks,
LG
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 142
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 2:18 pm:   Edit Post

For those interested, this is the picture I sent to my Luthier this morning, it's not my SB900, mine has a different color but the layout is the same.
So I went for this option...

somatic
Junior
Username: somatic

Post Number: 47
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 5:32 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry you didn't find my reply useful, but it was based upon having tried quite a few different pickups in basses they weren't originally intended for. I've used brackets to position pickups above the strings in the positions where they "would" be placed, and similarly found ways to hold the electronics that I'm experimenting with external to the bass so that I could tweak as much as I liked until I found a configuration that I was satisfied with. Experiments don't have to be neat or perfectly realised, so long as they give a useful result. I've built lots of amps (and other audio and electronic devices) on the bench over the last quarter century using nothing but alligator clip leads and haphazard layout, just to try things. If initial indications are good, I'll lay it out better and test more before building the final config very neatly.

My suggestion was also based on the fact that what you're trying to do is unusual, and there are few Alembics that have left the factory with three pickups, and I doubt anyone here has actually tried to do retrofits like what you're trying to achieve.

Three pickups positioned closely together as your later pics indicate, I've personally found to be of little use tonally when I've experimented on some basses, and I suggested experimenting first to be sure you were going to get a result you'd be satisfied with before you started routing/drilling. I'd hate for you to permanently modify a bass and end up with a result that wasn't worth it in the end. There are a number of possible control wiring options that could be tried, such as a filter per p/u, or two filters, say, one the bridge and a N,M,N+M switch into a second as this would involve less routing and drilling and may be perfectly satisfactory to your needs. Three filters and a forest of knobs and switches might ultimately be best, but you won't know until you try it now will you?

The tone of your response to me indicates that you expected someone to 'give you an answer' when as I said, I doubt that anyone on this board has done exactly, or even a similar mod before. Most members of this board simply buy Alembics and few if any modify theirs. I've had my own electronics installed externally on my S1, and when I get around to making some decent PCB's for them I'll install in the cavity "permanently"; I'll be able to fully retrofit the existing PF6 any time I like as there will be no permanent mods to the bass.

Layout configurations are a personal preference, so anyone else's opinion is fairly irrelevant, simply because we can't know what you like, and if you know, why ask us?. Not having your boards in front of me I can't suggest what might or might not work physically.
Now, moving on to tone, how in heck can any Alembicista have the faintest idea of what you're attempting will sound like when it's an extremely unusual setup in another brand of bass and we have no idea of your tonal preferences? Internet fora are possibly the worst way to attempt to communicate sound.

So, ultimately I'm sad that you didn't find my initial response useful, as it was intended to save time, money and most importantly, potential heartache on your part so that if it didn't turn out the way you'd hoped you would 'have a way back'. You are attempting a very unusual mod and I'd hoped you'd think outside the square a bit more. I will watch with interest.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1726
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 5:53 pm:   Edit Post

"there are few Alembics that have left the factory with three pickups"

Once again us six-stringers get short shrift. LOL

Tributes? Furthers? California Specials? Spectrums?

3 pickups the last time I looked!

Also, my Alembicized Fernandes has 3 pickups:

http://alembic.com/club/messages/449/27907.html?1152125927

Nevertheless, I agree 3 pickups on a bass is unusual. In the pics above, the middle pickup looks like a hum canceller in a Series instrument.

And, FWIW, I thought Brett's suggestion was offered with good intentions and was pretty good advice.

Bill, tgo
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 145
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:14 pm:   Edit Post

Sure. In fact, I wish you told me all that before, that is more interesting and constructive.

I didn't want to give the impression that I was asking the typical X vs Y questions, such as; brown vs dark brown, which is best?...

I don't have your knowledge when it comes down to electronics, and without the right guidance I wouldn't mess around with my Alembic harness without knowing what I am doing.

I have already tried what you suggested, I even used blue tack to hold the pickups, and to be able to hear two harness, I had to use two separate batteries and two mono jack going left + right on the sound card, and sum it to mono (if you see what I mean), because I didn't know how to sum the two harness properly.

The fact that I have an extra MXY, and that I REALLY like the sound of the pickup in the middle, I wanted to have this option available, being able to hear this "sweet" spot that I like.

So, it will end up with three PUs, as shown on the photos. Further, I was wondering about the sonic possibilities (I imagine thought) of having a filter for each pickups, but that meant that I would loose/use the harness from my first Arialembic.

I haven't been able to hear the difference it would make, and I wish I could have. But, I'd have to ask the Luthier to do a temporary wiring, and get back to him and so on...

So, I decided, to use the above setting (on the photos), but FURTHER, I had a FANTASTIC (for me it is) idea an hour ago; I am going ask the Luthier to use the PU selector (which I wasn't going to use), and turn it into a "Filter Combination" selector! If you see what I mean; now, I will be able to decide which PU has a filter on its own, and which pair share a filter. The PU selector has four positions, so it will give enough options!!!

I am so exited about this idea, I hope that most of you understand what I mean. If you don't please ask.

In fact, I'd like to hear what you think about it.
Wether you like it or not, I am going for it :-) LOL

Thanks,
LG
alembic_hawaii
New
Username: alembic_hawaii

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:19 pm:   Edit Post

Good answer Somatic!

You know----?, I have an Excel with one pick-up and I get so many different sounds from it that some envious people even ask me why I would even want another Alembic (which I do and will be ordering custom soon). But my point is that from all of the threads and Alembic owners I've talked to through the years say that why would you even want more than two pick-ups with all of the sounds you can get already?
Amazing, I guess there are some people that want to make a bus out of a Volkswagon if they can.
But I think your opinion about setting it up the way you like it is the only thing that is going to make you happy. Nobody can tell because the wood has different sound, the bass has different sounds, etc.
somatic
Junior
Username: somatic

Post Number: 48
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:20 pm:   Edit Post

"there are few Alembics that have left the factory with three pickups"

Once again us six-stringers get short shrift. LOL

Tributes? Furthers? California Specials? Spectrums?

3 pickups the last time I looked!


Geetar? I knew as soon as I posted someone would mention "them".
I know Alembic also make beautiful guitars but they usually fall below may awareness threshold, as GAS is killing me now and thinking about an Alembic six stringer makes my wallet cry. Best way I know to clear a room is for me to pick up my Peavey T60 and start making noise with it so it's probably not the best idea for me, or anyone within earshot. Second best is to pick up a bass...... <vbg>
My guitarist housemate once asked me in all seriousness "if I played one of those Alembics, would you still always be screaming at me to turn it [insert string of expletives] down?".

Your Fernandez is beautiful. I love the inlays, and whilst I can't "inhale" anymore, I would dearly love hemp to be more widely used in fabrics and it's myriad other uses.

Cheers
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 146
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:27 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, it's a very nice inlay you have there, I hope one day I'll be able to get one done...

Regarding Bretts's suggestion, I am fine, but I just wanted make it clear that I have done everything that I could try within reason when applicable, before posting. Sometimes, there are "funny" thread with "X vs Y" topics, and this is NOT one of them.

I was sincerely looking for constructive advice/conversation on the subject, although I have already decided. It's always good to know what people think, and what experience they had, but obviously, it's always quicker and easier to try it and see for yourself... and once again, when I can try it, I surely do it. You should know me by know! lol

I didn't/don't want this thread to be comparable to something like;
"Is chicken nicer than beef?" :-) Do you get me? lol
somatic
Junior
Username: somatic

Post Number: 49
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:46 pm:   Edit Post

Sure. In fact, I wish you told me all that before, that is more interesting and constructive.

I sort of thought I did, just in shorthand. I will endeavour to answer in a more detailed way in future.

I didn't want to give the impression that I was asking the typical X vs Y questions, such as; brown vs dark brown, which is best?...

Which is the way I read you initial post. Apologies.

So, I decided, to use the above setting (on the photos), but FURTHER, I had a FANTASTIC (for me it is) idea an hour ago; I am going ask the Luthier to use the PU selector (which I wasn't going to use), and turn it into a "Filter Combination" selector! If you see what I mean; now, I will be able to decide which PU has a filter on its own, and which pair share a filter. The PU selector has four positions, so it will give enough options!!!

Sounds like a plan. It might still take some experimentation with the p/u selector switch to determine which two p/us will go into the switch and second filter. Based on my previous experience (and personal preferences) Id go neck and middle, with the bridge having its own filter. I doubt in practice that youll use all three p/us at the same time.

Good luck and if you can send me schematics, Ill help technically in any way I can.


alembic_hawaii said: You know----?

Possibly, perhaps a definite maybe.
I do know that the more I learn the less I really know and that true understanding is transitory and fleeting. But I am sure I don't know what you mean Paul. :-)
Cheers
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1346
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:54 pm:   Edit Post

Looking at that bass, I would consider the third pickup added closer to the neck. I would call the factory positions bridge and middle...

Consider, also, that the usual recommendation from Alembic is a Fatboy at the bridge and a regular AXY at the neck. Putting the MXY at the neck would abide this advice.

(Message edited by bsee on October 17, 2006)
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 147
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 6:58 pm:   Edit Post

Alembic_hawaii, just to answer one of your question, having the PU in different position DOES make a BIG difference to the sound, period.

Then, I personally like single middle PU too, and maybe why you are so happy with your instruments, is because it is positioned at a nice spot.
Saying that, I like the sound of the bridge PU mixed with the neck too...

Personally, I like to take advantage of options when they are available, and everyone think different, so do I.

Bootsy Collins for instance, is well know for his eccentricity, and I like him, his sound and his style.

You know, there are basses with a single PU close to the bridge, some close to the neck, some in the middle, and so on...
Yet, do they all sound different? Absolutely.

Every-night, I plug my basses and jam other various songs, and I keep swapping, none of my bass gets "ignored", yet, I can tell you one thing for sure, they all sound different and some work best with one song, and some work best with other - NO MATTER what setting you use or fingering style or strings... It is nice to have tonal versatility.

One the other hand, if you play with a band, and are representing the bottom end, and this bottom end is the signature of your band, then in that respect, and I can understand why one, would stick witch the same instruments/sound.

And let's NOT forget, Dave Houk has got a three PUs Alembic, and if I remember right, he said that he preferred the mid PU over the neck PU.
http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/31801.html?1159926964
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 148
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:04 pm:   Edit Post

Bsee, I thought AXYs and MXYs were the same, have I got this wrong, or am I confused?

I personally don't like the sound of the PU when its too close to the neck, but that is my personal taste.
I see we all have different taste, which is what makes life interesting. Imagine if we were all wearing the same clothes? :-) LOL
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1347
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:22 pm:   Edit Post

The AXY and MXY are the same internally. The Fatboy is the AXY shape with a larger magnet. The fact that you have a spare MXY gives you the advantage of putting it in either spot where another AXY-shape might not fit anywhere.

It's not about liking one tone better, it's about having a wider pallet to choose from. My bass has two Fatboys, widely spread. They are very distinctly different when soloed, but you can get just about anything you want by blending them. Looking at your proposed setup, the spacing is going to be awfully close between the pickups such that you won't get as much variation to play with.

Since neither of us has heard this piece of wood with the MXY in either position, I don't think we can say for sure which we would prefer. You just have to take your best guess and hope it works out.

Control-wise, do you think you'll be tweaking your filter more than the pan? If so, then go with this layout. If you thought you'd be panning more than adjusting the filter, I'd swap their positions so you don't find yourself reaching into the middle of things in a hurry. Also, Parker has been using a jack that senses stereo/mono automatically without a toggle. I haven't seen Alembic offer this, but it has to be more convenient.
somatic
Junior
Username: somatic

Post Number: 50
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:38 pm:   Edit Post

Though it doesn't relate to Alembic pickups specifically even though he tests a couple, there is a series of threads on Talkbass (titled Dr Dimentos...) where Ron routed out a big bathtub in two of his basses between the neck pocket and bridge and has tried literally dozens of them in all sorts of different positions. Makes interesting reading for those curious about pickup placement.
http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111547
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 149
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:40 pm:   Edit Post

Somatic, thanks for your offer on looking into it if I need help.

The problem I have sometimes, is to make myself understood, on many occasions, when communicating via emails, it would take so many exchanges and lengthy conversations to get things cleared. Sorry, if this is one of them, this happened before.

Regarding the four positions PU selector and its various settings, first, the Luthier is going to have to work it out, as I wasn't able to get any info on the pins layout, but my request is like so:
1) Bridge + mid PUs share a Filter+ Q-switch, neck has its own Filter+ Q-switch.
2) Bridge + neck PUs share a Filter+ Q-switch, mid has its own Filter+ Q-switch.
3) Mid + neck PUs share the same Filter + Q-switch, bridge has its own Filter+ Q-switch.
4) Probably "Standby"
And the PUs that are sharing the same Filter + Q-switch will have a Pan pot as well as a volume

That's what I want to do.
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 150
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 8:04 pm:   Edit Post

Bsee, I am with you on few things. I did not understand at first what you said about the MXY.

I understand what you're saying about PU placement and more/less variations, I though about it, but the thing is I do slap as well, and the PU too close to the neck is not great for that (me at least).

Further, you answered something that relates EXACTLY to my post, SPOT ON! you say: "Looking at your proposed setup, the spacing is going to be awfully close between the pickups such that you won't get as much variation to play with." This is exactly why I wanted the third filter + Q-switch! So, I am aware of this, and for now, the good option is the PU/Filter selector "trick" that I described above.

Regarding placement, again, I am with you, I would prefer the Filters closer to the PUs, but I am trying to keep things tidy and minimize cable extension, because the Q-switches would be further away from the Filters and would require some extra work. Anyway, you are right, I am going to get this positioned properly, after all, once it is in the cavity, who cares what it looks like!?
So the volumes will becomes the Filters and vice versa.

Thanks for pointing this, this is very important. I did think of it, but now I am going to get it done properly for sure. Luckily, the Luthier hasn't stared the wiring yet. Now, I have to decide where to fit the "Filter" selector.

Somatic, thanks for the link.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1727
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 7:44 am:   Edit Post

"I didn't want to give the impression that I was asking the typical X vs Y questions, such as; brown vs dark brown, which is best?... "

Dark Brown - no contest.


"Best way I know to clear a room is for me to pick up my Peavey T60 and start making noise with it"

Peavey T60 - unheralded good basic instrument. Haven't run into one of these in years.


"I am going ask the Luthier to use the PU selector (which I wasn't going to use), and turn it into a "Filter Combination" selector!"

LG: This might just be the bee's knees for studio work, but if you play live you might want to think about the ability to switch "on the fly". A former denizen of these parts has a Series I and a Series II - both very beautiful basses. He prefers the Series I for just this reason - he feels the Q switches are easier to use in a live situation than the CVQ pots. Some believe there is such a thing as too many controls. My Alembicized Fernandes has one master filter and 3 position Q only. It works fine and I don't notice much of a disadvantage versus my Series I which has a separate filter & Q for each pickup.

Hemp - Lifeline to the Future!

Bill, tgo
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 151
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 8:36 am:   Edit Post

Bill, so you prefer dark brown then? I prefer dark black! ;)

Well, I don't do gigs, so the more the control the better for me, the bigger the sonic palette the more flexible and enjoyable it is.

I usually run the software called "Live" by Ableton, and I jam over drums loops, chords progression/guitars and so on... the drum sound always change, I never stick with the same drum kit/sound and groove, then I also jam over real finished song...

I can happily recommend this software for jamming, its loop orientated and optimized, and it syncs automatically virtually anything, and if you don't have sample loops, you can always chop any parts you want from an existing song, and dump then in Live and it will sync it in real time. Although, depending how you trimmed the loop, if it doesn't lock properly, you can also adjust it in real time.
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 162
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Saturday, October 21, 2006 - 6:32 pm:   Edit Post

Ah ah! I can see that Alembic has done this PUs placement before although as a dual PUs... I am happy to see that. I enclose a photo;Fatboy/AXY_bridge+MXY_middle
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 166
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post

Hi Somatic, in case you're around, I posted a question over there:
http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/32671.html?1161708023

Would you be able to advise or help?
Thanks,
LG
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1099
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 1:53 am:   Edit Post

Then there is Ernie's Custom Orion from a while back.
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1100
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 2:18 am:   Edit Post

And there is Barry's Triple Pickup Rogue - if only photoshopped.
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 171
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 4:28 pm:   Edit Post

OK, feedback + photo is coming soon!

I'll keep everything for a fresh thread...
lg71
Intermediate Member
Username: lg71

Post Number: 172
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 4:36 pm:   Edit Post

Adrian, thanks for posting those links, very interesting.
I haven't seen many Alembic 3 Pickups versions, they look amazing.

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