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active bass

New custom Alembic bridge :: 1999 DeArmond Starfire Bass [9.7 lbs]

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New custom Alembic bridge :: 1999 DeArmond Starfire Bass [9.7 lbs]

A 1999 DeArmond Starfire bass in for a custom Alembic-style bridge and tailpiece installation.

The tricky part of this installation requires routing the tone block of the bridge into the arched top.  The photo above shows my custom saddle slotting jig modified with guides sized to rout the mating pocket in the top.

You can see the original DeArmond factory routs extending outside of the new bridge.  The player and I considered various cosmetic options to hide them.  In the end we decided to just let them show as they are not that much of an eyesore and fit the vibe of this player-grade workhorse. 

This bass is decked out with a crazy amount of wiring ala Phil Lesh.  The pickups are Fred Hammon "Dark Star" pickups that are based on the Hagstrom BiSonics.  These pickups are recreations of the originals that were popularized by Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane) and Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) in the late '60s.  Note if you are interested in these pickups, check out Curtis Novak as Fred has stopped producing them.

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1985 Philip Kubicki X Factor [8.6 lbs] :: setup

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1985 Philip Kubicki X Factor [8.6 lbs] :: setup

A wild Kubicki bass in for a setup.  A few high frets up the neck needed to be tapped back down and the output jack rewired to improve the connections.

How about this bridge?  It's not the best for fine tuning the action as you can olnly rotate the saddles in 180° increments.  But the "water wheel" tuners are pretty unique.  I always have to think a little harder when the tuners aren't up on the headstock.

Oh and check out the built in drop D capo!  #slickness

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Short circuit & loose frets :: Ibanez BTB775PB [9.8 lbs]

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Short circuit & loose frets :: Ibanez BTB775PB [9.8 lbs]

A beastly Ibanez 5 string bass in for an intermittent short circuit and fret buzz.  I traced the output issue to a bad 25k volume pot that needed to be replaced (see video below for the replacement).  As for the fret buzz, treble side fret ends 12-20 were playing it high and loose.  The inexpensive fix was to glue and clamp them back down.  Doing a fret level after they were locked back down would have further improved clean playing up the neck.

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Half round setup :: Schecter Stiletto Studio 5 [9.2 lbs]

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Half round setup :: Schecter Stiletto Studio 5 [9.2 lbs]

The player wanted to try a new set of strings on his 5 string bass.  He decided to go with a set of Ken Smith Slick Round [44-62-84-106-130].  These strings are similar to flat wounds but still retain more of the brightness found with regular round wound strings.  These strings are also known as half rounds.  Check them out, they're a really cool mix between flats and rounds.

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