Post Number: 262
|Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 - 1:49 pm: |
For a few years, I've been hanging onto a Stars Guitars fretless explorer, but an upcoming move to a new apartment will leave me with limited space for gear, so I've gotta thin the herd a bit.
It's a 34" scale with maple neck (with skunk stripe) and maple fingerboard. No side dots or fret markers of any kind, so it'd be better suited for someone more fluent on fretless than myself. The body was actually made by DiMarzio; the neck and hardware from Stars. It's been dated to the 1980-1982 range, and is in good functional shape, though it could use some TLC. The body has some old water damage on the lower bout, just a bit of discoloration from mold or mildew, but it's dry and stable. With a little sanding and a light finish, it could look great again. The neck was a little bowed when I received it, but with a couple washers added underneath the truss rod nut, it's set up nicely with a medium action.
It's with the electronics that things start to get interesting.
The pickup I'm not certain about - I'm thinking it's either a Duncan or DiMarzio, and the preamp is the Startone (2nd generation). I've exchanged emails with a former Stars employee (Brian C.) and he had this to say about the Startone:
>>>The Startone is a state variable sweep filter, similar to the Alembic Bass design but with much simpler circuitry. The middle pot (rectangular, two section black) is the sweep. It goes across the spectrum from 40hz up to about 2Khz in an approximately one octave bandwidth. The shorter black rectangular is the gain pot and will give you up to +18db boost or down to -18db cut at the frequency the sweep pot is set at. The switch is a bypass. The batteries are paralleled so that they still only supply 9 volts to the circuit but last a lot longer that one battery. You can use two or only one. With one battery you should get between 40 to 60 hours continuous use. It's a good idea to put some electrical tape over the battery connectors as the battery compartment has been painted with shielding paint and if the connectors touch the sides of the cavity they could short. If you decide to use only one battery, put some plastic foam or piece of a sponge in the compartment to keep the single battery from flopping around. I can't see the output jack, but it should be a rectangular black type. It has a shunt on it that turns the circuit on when a cord is plugged in, and off when you unplug it. So, don't leave the cord plugged in when you are not playing it as the batteries will continue to drain.<<<
That being said, I just don't hear any change in the tone when turning the knobs (except the volume knob, which is scratchy and effectively mutes the bass when turned down a quarter turn). I don't know if the pots are simply in need of cleaning/replacement, or if the preamp has been bypassed, but the raw sound is pretty pleasant, and I can provide sound samples for anyone interested.
The bass also has a few little flaws; a small chip on one side of the neck pocket, a bit of white paint on the tip of the headstock, etc. I can take detailed photos for interested parties.
No case, but it will be very well packed. I thought about putting it on eBay, but I figure this is a good place to stop first to see if someone wants to put a little elbow grease into a very rare and eye-catching instrument.
I'd like to get $500 plus actual shipping cost. I'd also consider trading this bass plus cash for a lower-end Alembic, either fretted or fretless. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Post Number: 208
|Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 - 2:50 pm: |
Adam, this thing screams 80s!
Post Number: 263
|Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 - 7:25 pm: |
Jarek, you say that like it's a bad thing!
An update on the electronics: I hadn't been hearing the effect of the Startone's controls as I had the switch set to 'bypass.' I guess I flipped that switch a long time ago when the batteries died. Flipping it back (after putting in fresh batteries), the controls came to life. There is a wide tonal palette on this beast, with the frequency sweep and 18v boost/cut acting similar to the band pass setting on the SF-2 (albeit admittedly less sophisticated).
The pots seem to be beyond the point where cleaning would help. I'll try and get the pots replaced before I sell it, just to ensure that it's in ship shape functionally.
Post Number: 211
|Posted on Monday, September 08, 2008 - 12:45 am: |
I absolutely didn't mean it as a pejorative or anything else. I just meant this bass has a strong 80s vibe, that's all ;-)