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Thread: Me, a blasphemer...

  1. #11
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    You are entitled to your opinion and I tend to learn from the experience of telling someone their opinion is WRONG so I look forward to an educational experience. ;-)

    First I seem to recall a couple people whose main bass is a DeArmond Starfire, although with a pickup swap. They are gigging with it so I have to respect their experience and their choice.

    I disagree with you on the PU position. I own a '67 neck PU and a NS SF so I can A/B them to my heart's content. I had a chance to play gilded's sweet spot '66 with the vintage bisonic and, if it weren't for the sentimental baggage that goes with the '67, I'd swap them both for a sweet spot '66 and be happy. My two pickup basses - the JS II and the Pilot - shouldn't be compared to a Starfire but I have never found a compelling reason to want a Starfire II. But I very much understand this is a personal preference and influenced by technique as well. I find I am varying my tone, when I want to, by moving where I pluck and the results are different for me between the neck and sweet spot positions. The two pickup basses feel like the pickups get in the way of my right hand and when you are old and set in your ways, it is easier to blame the tool than adjust ;-)

    As for blasphemy, I must confess that my custom Betts bass still gets more play time lately than the rest of my Guilds combined so I must be guilty of something.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  2. #12
    neck pickup on the Starfire bass. all day.

  3. #13
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Hey, at least your DeArmond bass doesn't have "Guild" inlaid into the headstock like the current ones being built in Korea...I thought "DeArmond" was a more straightforward and honest approach to off-shore-produced Guilds...OK I'll get off my soapbox now. BTW, I love My DeArmond Starfire Special.
    "The air's as still as the throttle on a funeral train." John Prine

    '76 D-25M
    '99 DV-52ABHG
    '98 DeArmond Starfire Special
    Takamine Acoustic Flying "A"
    Crate CA-125D Acoustic Amp
    Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Amp

  4. #14
    I hear there's a kimchee odor that eminates from the DeArmond sound holes...

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by gilded View Post
    I never spent much time with a neck-only bass once I got out of the '70s, although the removal of the dreaded 'suck' switch might well allow me to change my mind.
    That god damn suck switch just ruins the neck pickup, on or off. I had quite the debacle trying to figure that thing out.

    I'm with mavuser. Neck pickup on the starfire bass, all day. I actually have a SFII and I removed the bridge pickup entirely, but that was because the strings would clank on top of that pickup.

  6. #16
    I am of the opinion that ones SF pup position preference (or PPP, if you will) may vary partly in accordance with what amp and effects the bass is being run through and how the bass, amp and/or pre-amp EQ is tweaked. That being the case I doubt we'll ever reach consensus as to which PPP is better, given that we all probably play through different rigs.

    Hope that muddies the water sufficiently...


  7. #17
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minnesota Flats View Post
    I am of the opinion that ones SF pup position preference (or PPP, if you will) may vary partly in accordance with what amp and effects the bass is being run through and how the bass, amp and/or pre-amp EQ is tweaked. That being the case I doubt we'll ever reach consensus as to which PPP is better, given that we all probably play through different rigs.

    Hope that muddies the water sufficiently...

    I disagree 100%.
    I think the folks with the neck PPP hear exactly the same characteristics I do when I discovered the "sweet spot" right over the fretboard extension on my acoustics.
    Plucking almost at the middle of the string not only seems to bring out the most balanced dynamics between the gauges but also yields a particularly sweet and woody sound.
    So it makes sense to me that the neck p'up is also positioned to capture the same peculiarities in string vibration that color the sound in an acoustic.
    So there.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
    #2: '01 Westerly F65ce "Blondie"
    #3: '03 Corona D40e Richie Havens "Richie"
    All bought new!

  8. #18
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    I am in violent agreement that the preferred PU position is a personal preference and that preference is not the same for everyone.

    I somewhat disagree that the signal chain is a major contributor to that preference because when I switch the '67 and NS all I change is which instrument is plugged into the cable. Yet there is a difference and a preference. My subjective experience with instruments and amps that I do not own attributes the difference to both location and vintage vs. reissue.

    I think we need to start a GoFundMe campaign. The goal will be to gather a vintage, Bisonic SF I with sweetspot, a vintage Bisonic Starfire I with neck and a Newark Street bass in the same place. That should allow for A/B comparisons with the same player and signal chain and produce a reasonable description of how the location effects the sound and how vintage vs. reissue PU effects the sound. Since this is a preference the campaign will not claim one is better but just state the differences. I can bring two of the three instruments. If we do this in the winter maybe it can pay to send me to Texas and gilded. Summer, and the campaign flies Harry to Virginia. Wild card might be everyone descends on New Jersey. We could get GAD to direct and document the experiment.

    :-) :-)
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  9. #19
    "I somewhat disagree that the signal chain is a major contributor to that preference because when I switch the '67 and NS all I change is which instrument is plugged into the cable. Yet there is a difference and a preference."

    You've stated my point better than I did. All variables other than the bass itself should be the same to evaluate the relative merits of the various pup positions. This may not yield the "ultimate" bass/pedal/amp combination, but it will clarify which differences are due only to pup position. Otherwise, some of the tonal differences could be coming from someplace other than the pups.

    "...preferred PU position is a personal preference and that preference is not the same for everyone."

    Agreed. And the genre of music being played and what/how many instruments are in the mix and how they are EQ-ed are also pertinent factors (unless we are talking strictly about "bedroom" tone).

  10. #20
    I think there was definitely variation in tone pots used in the neck position in the 60s (250K and 500K), and this is the main difference in tone *also combined to a lesser degree, with pick up location and wood species (and the suck switch circuit, which also adds caps and resistors). There has been at least one case also, where I have suspected the possibility of some of those extra caps, etc added to the circuit *without the suck switch, just before the suck switch was incorporated (but im not sure). Also some of the early SF Basses had a pickup with one large magnet, where most had 2 smaller magnets. So without knowing exactly what is under the hood of any given bass, it is tough to say exactly what it is you prefer over something else. Probably a lot more accurate to say "I prefer Gilded's SF bass I w/Bisonic to Frono's SF bass I w/Bisonic" than to say "I prefer all bridge position SF I's w/Bisonic to all Neck position SF I's w/Bisonic."

    If you are just talking about ergonomics, that is different.

    A good test would be to play a SF-2 bass and see which pickup you prefer on that one (again, it is not necassarily the location of the pickup that you prefer, just the tone of the pickup- which is a combination of things, and pickup location is part of that combination...)

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