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alembickoa
Intermediate Member
Username: alembickoa

Post Number: 112
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 8:25 pm:   Edit Post

I am having an interesting time getting the Orion set up. I have never owned a 6er so I am flailing. I was wondering about making a run up to the nest in Santa Rosa. Would that be possible to get the real deal set up? I am not happy with the strings I have, and just not doing well. I figure the folks that created the instrument will know more than I do...
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2963
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 11:35 pm:   Edit Post

Are you following Joey's rules?
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1960
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 6:13 am:   Edit Post

Set ups - the golden procedure
1. No distractions at all ie no kids, wife, girlfriends etc.
2. All tools and equipment at hand
3. Read Joey's post once, read it again then read it again with your bass in front of you
4. Take your time..don't rush this job.

Alembics are tough, adjustable instruments but still can be broken if you are reckless and impatient.
No luck involved just patience.
tubeperson
Advanced Member
Username: tubeperson

Post Number: 377
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 6:27 am:   Edit Post

Terry, I don't think they are tough to adjust, taking time to do it right makes it easy. In fact, my tech loves adjusting Alembics because they are so easy and flexible. After reading Joey's post, and this should be required reading other than reading music (heh, heh, heh), I plunged in and found it a pleasure and fairly easy, and believe me, I am not a "handy Al from Tool Time" type. Now reading music is not easy (sorry Joey, had to have some fun)!

How do we get Joey to make a video to go along with his written work? I am serious about this! Joey, Mica, is there anyone out there?
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1961
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post

tubeperson..I meant they are tough instruments,they can take some punishment..maybe my grammar should have been corrected..oops!
Yes a video would be most helpful indeed
tubeperson
Advanced Member
Username: tubeperson

Post Number: 378
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:08 am:   Edit Post

Terry:

Your explanation makes sense to me (thanks for the clarification) and yes, Alembics are rough and rugged, even if we also tend to baby them. Let's start a thread for joey and Mica to make a set up DVD!!! Moderators, how can we do this?
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1919
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:14 pm:   Edit Post

I think a video would be a hoot, thought the real Academy Award winner would be a collection of shorts along the way as I taught myself. You must remember I'm part Sicilian and part Texan, so you don't want to strike a match around my temper on the wrong day !

"I Turned My Alembic Into A Log", yeah, now there's a working title. Not quite the alchemy RW and Susan had in mind, I'm sure !

Or, to quote Jimmy, 'HAH !'

J o e y
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1920
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:46 pm:   Edit Post

Steve, it's not that hard.

Tune your bass to pitch.

Hold it by the body (DON'T be a dork and set the butt on the floor and put one finger under the headstock and sight down the fingerboard, wrong way to do this) in a playing (horizontal) position.

Look from the tailpiece end down the fingerboard. The strings, natch, will form a laser-straight line. If you look, they will cast shadows on the fingerboard. You should see a slight dip around the middle length of the fingerboard, with the shadows closer to the fingerboard at both ends. In other words, the strings' shadows should form just the slightest curve along the length of fingerboard and frets.

Take that image in your mind and put it together with what your hands are feeling.

Basically, if it's buzzing in the middle, there is not enough relief in the neck, it's too straight. If it's buzzing at either end, there's too much relief, or the nut or bridge are too low. If it's one side or the other the bridge and/or nut is low that side.

That's a VERY basic primer, but may be enough.

I know a six-sting may seem to be more daunting, but set-up is the same regardless of how many strings.

The strings basically vibrate in 'jump-rope' patterns, not just side-to-side in a flat plane. What we're after is to find that 'compromise' between enough relief/string height and what feels best to YOU. There is no empirically correct, rosetta-stone set of values that work for all basses and all players: No two axes adjust identically (wood, after all) and no two players have the identical feel they're after.

It takes a little while (well, half a forever in my case) to learn the interplay of relief, string height, and feel. But Alembics are almost singularly perfect vehicles to learn set up practice: An adjustable nut, a one piece bridge, and the twin-truss rods are a great lab to teach this to yourself. Understand that on a basic PBass or most anything else, you have to fill or replace the nut to change height there. The bridge would have individual height adjustment on each saddle. The truss rods could even require pulling the neck bolts to get at the truss rod on old-school Fenders. We get to skip ALL of that.

If all else fails, WRITE DOWN how many turns you moved this or that: That way you can always put it back !

And remember to deal in small increments: Any axe that is already playable is rarely more than half a turn away or a fraction of an inch away from being spot-on, NEVER two or three whole turns on this or that adjustment.

As always, I'll cop to stealing all of this from Dan Erlewine's EXCELLENT book, 'The Guitar Player's Repair Guide', available like most good things from Stewart McDonald (www.stewmac.com). No home should be without it !

I learnt this as I got real tired of trying to explain to really good guitar techs WHY I wanted my bass to play like a Les Paul or a Strat, 'who would ever want a bass with low action?'. Sheeeesh . . . . . who wouldn't ?

Believe me, if I can do this, ANYBODY can.

J o e y
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1962
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 3:59 am:   Edit Post

I agree on the ignorant thinking of 'basses should have high action' quote..do guitar techs still think that we actually don't play beyond the 10th or dare I mention the 12th fret??
I once played a F jazz of a friend's of mine, I couldn't play it beyond the 5th, his quote 'you have to dig in to get a good sound' My quote ' You must love wrist pain and RSI!'
Oh yes Joey..I will certainly nominate you for the gold statue!
that_sustain
Junior
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 25
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 5:10 am:   Edit Post

My Alembic had a little too much relief when I first got it. It took a bunch of turns to get it where I like. None of the wood cracked. The fingerboard didn't crack and pop up, either. Also, no lumps/bumps formed on the back of the neck.

Should I be concerned? The bass seems fine. God I hope I didn't screw it up in some way.
tubeperson
Advanced Member
Username: tubeperson

Post Number: 379
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 6:42 am:   Edit Post

Hello Joey!

I love your sense of humor, and by the way how is pesto sauce with Armadillo's, fried up?

Seriously, since I was very averse to setting up any instrument, yet your post freed up my thinking, I expanded my tool set. Beyond my stubby fingers (and gut of course), and living the reality that you described, I purchased a rule that is used to measure fretted fretboards for "straigtness", for both 34 inch and 35 inch scales. This allows me to place this "Straight edge" over my fretboard, and adjust for a flat, no relief setup. Alembics can actually handle no relief, they are built to accommodate this. After I achieve a flat fretboard, if I feel the need, then I apply slight relief. I can get very low action, very fast playing surface, and less tiresome hands. It does require the John Entwhistle delicate touch, but you can always practice a light touch on the woman/mate of your choice. This tool is for sale at Stewart MacDonald, or sometimes I see it listed on evil bay. Mine is reversible so one side is for 34 inch scale, and the other is for 35 inch scale. It really works. Now let's talk about adjusting knobs. Who's knobs is up to you Joey! Abbodanza!

I also state that the Guitar Adjustment book sold at Stew Mac is required reading and an excellent reference. Of course, that involves reading!! I still want that video Mica and Joey!!!!!!! When Erik is old enough, he can star in it as well!
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1964
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 9:41 am:   Edit Post

Here is how good they are...it is now 5.38pm UK time, I am gigging tonight and I haven't touched the MK in anger for a week, the weather has turned slightly cold here in the past few days and I thought I would just run a few notes over the fretboard...slight buzz I detected. Out came the spanner(wrench for you USA guys!) Two very small turns..waited and lo and behold..perfect action again. If Alembic made beer, it would most probably be the best in the world..I rest my case!
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5213
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 1:34 pm:   Edit Post

"If Alembic made beer, it would most probably be the best in the world..I rest my case!"

Yea, but you guys across the pond would have to drink it warm ... Lucas refrigerators!

hehehehe

Bill, tgo
that_sustain
Junior
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 26
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 3:34 pm:   Edit Post

Looks like I'm already out of the club.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5214
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 5:07 pm:   Edit Post

No way Daniel. The club is like the Hotel California. You can check out, but you can never leave! Once you've played one of these, you're hooked for life. (If only the first one was free - lol)

Bill, tgo
that_sustain
Junior
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 27
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 7:29 pm:   Edit Post

The bass is fine.

Much of the pressure applied to the neck had been lightened prior to it's purchase. The seller changed to light gauge strings just before I bought it. He had heavies on it beforehand. Plus, the bow wouldn't have been considered a problem, just changed for preference. Both truss nuts were completely loosened, and then I did about 45 minutes of tightening. The strings were detuned a whole step(or a little more) while doing so.

I did slowly add just a hair of relief a couple days after the neck settled.

Thanks to Dan Erlewine's published advice...
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1965
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 6:53 am:   Edit Post

Lucas refrigerators??...Lucas make car parts in the UK..Hotpoint, Indesit, Zanussi yes but Lucas..never heard of 'em!
Ale...at room temperature
Lager..as cold as you can get without freezing!
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1277
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 8:03 am:   Edit Post

That, Terry, is a joke common among Americans who have owned British vehicles, and are thus well acquainted with the actual products of Joe Lucas, The Prince of Darkness ("We're not moving; what the @#$% is wrong with the electronics now?!?!?").

Peter (who had - and loved - a Triumph Spitfire, but is now too damn old to be standing by the side of the road at 03:00 cursing)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5215
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 9:51 am:   Edit Post

Great explanation, Peter!

Bill, wiatpatt (who is about to purchase a Triumph TR3)
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1967
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post

Cozmik..okay I get it but all the Lucas stuff I installed on cars worked perfectly because we get a lot more rain than usual..our standing joke was italian electrics..especially on their motorcycles..Laverda, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Benelli etc
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1278
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 1:12 pm:   Edit Post

Ooooo....I loves me some TR3!!!!!!

Peter
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3239
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 5:59 am:   Edit Post

Bill
Of all the misconceptions you Americans have about us british, drinking warm beer is the one I've never understood. I've been drinking beer (ale if you like) since about 1977 and I've never had a warm pint. I'm also pretty certain they've all been marginally less than room temperature. (p.s. it's very rare that I'll drink lager these days but when I do it's almost freezing).
We also don't still all drive around in 70's british leyland vehicles even though most US movies showing the Uk suggest there are a lot more classic minis and morris minors on the road than is really the case.

graeme. Finished repainting the 1971 MG and starting to rebuild the suspension :-)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5218
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 9:16 am:   Edit Post

Confession: I don't drink a lot of beer - and when I do I tend to drink slowly, so that by the time I'm down to the second half, it's usually warmed up quite a bit. Admittedly, my perception is that the British are sitting around drinking a very dark, thick, room temperature liquid that has an appellation somewhat synonymous with "beer". It may not be accurate, but it looks good in the movies and on TV!

Graeme: What color are you painting the MG? The TR3 I'm getting needs a paint job. Currently, it is a non-original light green, sort of like a Pippin apple. I leaning towards painting it BRG. As for vehicles in Great Britain, aren't you all driving E-Type Jags with the Union Jack painted on? Isn't it just like the Austin Powers movies over there? lol

Bill, tic (tongue in cheek)
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 1788
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 9:45 am:   Edit Post

My guess is the whole warm beer thing developed during WWII. At that time, and still today, Americans were drinking Light Lagers and Pilsners which were served ice cold. Think Pabst and
Budweiser. Comparing this to the typical cellar temperature of 50 degrees for an English Ale the ale would seem warm.

If you had asked this question prior to electric refrigeration you probably wouldn't have received a response about English beer being warm as most American beers were also served at cellar temperature. Likewise with today's resurgence of craft brewing in the USA beers that are best served at temperatures above 45 degrees are more common.

Keith
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 1789
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 9:52 am:   Edit Post

And since Graeme brought up the subject of British Leyland. I drove a 1971 Austin America throughout high school. It wasn't fast but it was the easiest car I have ever owned to set the timing on. The electric heater was also great living in the Chicago area. While others were still waiting for heat I was nice and toasty.

Keith
hammer
Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 228
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 1:49 pm:   Edit Post

My brother's first car in high school was a used TR3 that has a somewhat funny story attached to it (at least from my perspective though not necessarily his).

He saved for 3-years to scrape up enough $$$ to make the purchase. The car arrived in December and when it snowed the next day he decided it needed a garage to keep it warm. He rented one from the neighbor next door that had an overhead, sectional door type with no garage door opener attached.

After driving it over to the garage he had a hard time pulling the door down since it had no handle and so he reached up and grabbed the top of one of the panels and pulled. Well the door closed all too quickly and the tips of four fingers on each hand got caught between the panels and were broken. From his reports he was trapped for about 15 minutes with his fingers in the door unable to do anything.

That meant no driving the car for several weeks while his hands healed which was tough enough in and of itself. What made things even tougher for the poor guy is that approximately 4-weeks after his accident, while the car was still sitting in the garage, the neighbor had a fire and the entire garage, cars and all burned down.

It became known as the cursed TR3.
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3240
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 4:06 pm:   Edit Post

Bill.
It's Candy apple red. I posted photos a year ago but the clear coat went funny so I've had to strip pthe thing and start again. I'm a lot happier with the paint now so I've started the laborious task of wet sanding, compounding and polishing. It's given me some idea of how much effort alembic put into achieving the finish on our instruments. This is the main shell after sanding and buffing. I still have another grade of compounding and a final glaze before it's done...
mg midget

Unfortunately I still have the bonnet(hood), bootlid(trunk), doors and front wings(fenders) to do so I'm not even halfway :-(
As for union Jacks, I'd like to paint flames but Sandra won't let me :-(

Graeme (only 19 days to San Fransisco).
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5219
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 5:25 pm:   Edit Post

Graeme:

Sweet! It looks like you're doing a frame-up restoration. Is that a B or a Midget? Want to paint mine while you're in town? lol. Seriously though, I'd love to buy you a beer or something if you have time to get together. Maybe have Wolf, Harry, and some of the other locals over to my studio for a mini-gathering and break out some Alembics. Room temperature, I promise!

Bill, tgo
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2606
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 6:10 pm:   Edit Post

That sounds like it would sound like fun !
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1270
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, September 03, 2012 - 6:55 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, you always make me regret I never moved to the Bay Area. Too much fun to be had there!
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1968
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 1:41 am:   Edit Post

jacko...did you spray the finish yourself? If you did it is a damn fine job.
Many years ago a friend of mine restored a Cortina MkIII, anyway he got hold of some paint from a dubious supplier which had become illegal to use and when he asked me to help him spray it with the only protection was a dust mask, well let's say the Transport section of a large chemical company I worked for at the time supplied paper J suits, two positive pressure airlines and masks and a 4200 litre air bottle!
If we hadn't worn the protective gear then we would definitely suffered the ill effects of isocyanate poisoning!
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1969
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 1:44 am:   Edit Post

So how did we get from setup of a bass to beer to spraying of cars....
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3241
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 2:09 am:   Edit Post

To futher derail the thread I could mention that Big Tuna played the Kelso Bikefest in july - that would complete the set and Paul would be happy looking down on us banging his heavenly beer bottle. (incidentally I'll be seeing his favourite artiste in LA the week before we head to SF - paul even named his Bass after bonnie raitt)

Just to finish off, Yes Terry I sprayed the car in my single garage. Totally lined with polythene sheet and I used a new type of cartridge based face mask specifically designed for use with Isocyanate 2K paints. I did paint a mini on my dads driveway in the early 80's using 2K but with no protection at all. No way would I be doing that again.

Back on track, my basses need resetting every spring and autummn but I've never had a problem following Joey's instructions. The only thing I would say is that truss rod adjustments really need a day to settle before faffing with the bridge.

Bill. it would be great to get together. I'm only planning to have a car for 1 day so I can drive up to Santa Rosa - that will be Tuesday 25th sept so maybe we could sort something for that evening - I'll mail you .

Graeme
alembickoa
Intermediate Member
Username: alembickoa

Post Number: 113
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, September 07, 2012 - 11:12 pm:   Edit Post

Well...I certainly appreciate the suggestions and the side info, but methinks I shall make a trip to Santa Rosa anyway. There is a neck issue I would be interested in them taking a gander at. Having previously owned and cared for two other Alembics (an 81 Series I and an 82 Spoiler), I have a little bit of knowledge that served me well, but those were both 4 string instruments. The sixer is throwing me a curve. I haven't taken it to my luthier yet. It plays fine. I would just like the folks to peruse the instrument.

Thanks for the beer and car stuff, though. 8^)

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