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Username: rusty_the_scoob

Post Number: 23
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Saturday, February 07, 2009 - 7:17 am:   Edit Post

Checking out Phil's EBO, it looks like Alembic put in the Hagstrom pickups and built a new bridge... did they do anything to it electronically? It seems to have kept the stock knobs, but gained what looks like an XLR output, so I'm guessing that they left the controls as-is and changed it to low impedance?

These are the best two pictures I've found, does anybody have more?
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 1194
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 - 8:27 am:   Edit Post

That bass, as recorded on the Skull and Roses album, is one of my favorite bass sounds of all time. My understanding about that bass was always that it was the instrument that, in addition to the mods you mentioned, was wired with an emitter follower circuit, which (as I have read) was the first rudimentary active preamp. I could be incorrect in this. I'd love to hear from anybody with more specifics.

I don't have any more pix than Fred has in his gallery. BTW, I did the mods on the amber EBO with the Dark Star mod and macassar ebony pickguard (3 rows directly down from Phil's bass in that gallery). Its sound had a lot in common with Phil's bass, but didn't have a high mass bridge or anything active in the electronics. I sold it to finance my Brown Bass (a good decision), but never lost the itch. I recently acquired a Guild JSII (with the acorns and oak leaf carvings) and am having it outfitted with a pair of Dark Stars and a high bass bridge. I'm hoping it will complement my Alembic for some of the classic rock stuff I'm playing out lately.
Username: zezozeceglutz

Post Number: 6
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 - 9:00 am:   Edit Post

I just posted about this bass over at rukind with a few pictures. Here are a few pictures and some details/theories.

Close-up from recording of David Crosby's first album

Stage shot, early '71?

Notice that the Hagstrom Bisonics have what appears to be aluminum foil over them in an attempt to shield against hum (as I heard from Fred Hammon back at the dudepit, I believe) and that the bar bridge was replaced with Gibson's later intonatable version (not an Alembic bridge!) and a tailpiece. It also had simple preamps installed directly on the pickups to keep the high-impedance portion of the signal path as short as possible to prevent signal degradation.

It's possible that the tone controls were replaced with active low pass filters but, thinking about it now, could those stereo pots even fit into the thin Gibson body? Notice that the pickup selector has been replaced by a potentiometer and another added behind right next to the bridge so SOMETHING was going on inside. The electronics certainly weren't as sophisticated as the Godfather's state variable filters, of course.

You can see in the black and white shots that the bass was already using a 5 (or more) pin cable to carry power for the preamps and, probably (knowing Alembic), a stereo signal.
Advanced Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 398
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 7:03 am:   Edit Post

I'd love to hear what Phil's complete signal path is on American Beauty. Does anyone know?
Username: rusty_the_scoob

Post Number: 24
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 11:37 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Bassman and Zezo! Those pics are great and the info is really helpful. That amber EBO looks really sweet! Forgive my Guild ignorance: What's a JSII?
Senior Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 1007
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 4:49 pm:   Edit Post

The Guild JS II was a solid body similar to a Gibson SG or EB0 shape with two pickups (hence the II). I believe JS stands for JetStar.
I saw one of the walnut / acorn carved models in Faber Music in Dubuque back in '72 or '73, before I ordered my custom Starfire II.

(Message edited by dadabass2001 on February 13, 2009)
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 1195
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 - 8:01 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Mike. Correcto on all counts. The JS looks like the EBO/EB3 but feels very different to play. First, it's a heavier bass (still relatively lightweight), giving it a bit more substantial feel. Second, the bridge on the JS is located a bit farther up the body from the butt than the bridge on the EB. That makes a little easier to reach higher frets (In my case, my arm doesn't have to stretch all the way across my gut - LOL). These two factors together make it a much more comfortable bass to play and one that will get a lot of playing time out (where ergonomics really count).

The oak leaves and acorn carving is a little goofy (maybe a little more than a little...), but is pretty uncommon, as the carved model was only produced for 2 years in the 70s. Here's a picture of one (I don't have a picture of mine on the work computer). Like Mike, back in the stone ages, I looked at the carved JSII and bought something else - in my case a Ricky that I never really warmed up to. I always wished I had gotten that unusual-looking Guild and was quick to grab mine when it came up on the 'bay.
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 525
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 - 8:11 am:   Edit Post

Let's Talk Guild is a great place for Guild basses. I think the Jet Star is a different body shape - sometime referred to as the "Gumby bass". I love the acorn basses - I'm jealous!
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 1197
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 - 12:47 pm:   Edit Post

The "JS" always implied "Jetstar" to me, but it's definitely nothing like the Gumby basses. I'll post some pix after the bass comes back from the shop.

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