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Build Thread: ACG Finn 5 (the Wal killer)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jared Lash, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    While the thread title is somewhat tongue in cheek, I do fully expect that this bass will get Wal tones while being more ergonomically and aesthetically suited for me and at a price less than that of a new or used Wal.

    For those that don't know, Alan Cringean is a luthier in Moffat, Scotland who builds some amazing and very forward thinking basses. Check out the ACG website for more info and a full gallery of past instruments and current builds.

    I already have one ACG so I know what the build quality and the ACG/East filter preamp (the EQ03 5K) are all about. But when Alan announced the new multicoil pickup option, I decided to order another one immediately. These will be similar to Wal pickups and the hugely flexible preamp will mean being able to dial in Wal tones as well as a plethora of other sounds.

    Here's a shot of the new pickup:
    [​IMG]

    My bass will be a Finn "R-type" which means Alan's Finn body shape with the lower horn from his "Recurve" shape. Here's a previous bass in this design:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The specs on mine are:
    33" scale
    5 strings (tuned E-C)
    Walnut body
    Tasmanian Myrtle Burl top
    Dual veneers (black walnut and maple)
    5 piece set neck (maple/wenge/figured maple/wenge/maple)
    2 ACG MC5 pickups
    ACG/East EQ03 5K preamp
    18 mm string spacing at the bridge
    Gotoh GB350 Resolite Tuners
    Hipshot A style bridge
    Oil rubbed satin lacquer finish

    The top:
    [​IMG]

    And bookmatched
    [​IMG]

    The walnut for the body:
    [​IMG]

    The fingerboard (the bottom one here):
    [​IMG]

    And the top and fingerboard together:
    [​IMG]

    An example of dual veneers:
    [​IMG]

    I can't recommend Alan's basses highly enough. He's incredibly flexible, great with communication (and just a great guy in general), creates beautiful instruments and more than reasonable prices and most importantly they sound amazing. There's the no frills (but still awesome) Graft line, to the regular custom basses (and he'll do headless, ERBs, fanned frets etc) as well as the new "Uber Spec" line (featuring ALL the bells and whistles he can throw at them) which I can't wait to see.

    And for anyone wondering, I do have quite a bit of experience with Wals. I recorded an album using a Mk II years ago and loved the thing. I think they are fantastic basses and when I say I think I'll like my ACG more that is not a slight at ALL, but more a sincere statement of how much I appreciate Alan's work.
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    Just as a side note, while I'm excited about the new multicoil pickups, the other pickup options are also great. The humbuckers on my current ACG are fantastic. Fat, warm and clear with some real punch/aggression when you dig in.
  3. Pj,Rj,Hj

    Pj,Rj,Hj

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    There is some much I like about ACG guitars (never played one), the timbers, the hardware, design of pickups, the EQ, Alan's manner on this forum, he seems a really good guy. All that but the Shapes are just a lil' to out there for me.
  4. eude

    eude

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    Fantastic Jared, I knew this was on the cards obviously, but nice to see it begin :)
    I've played the ACG with the very first multi coil pickup and it was amazing, such an open, punchy and even tone across every string and every fret, married to the new ACG Preamp the options available are insane!

    I also wholeheartedly agree with all your comments about ACG's, working with Alan and the ACG pickups! I've now got 3 ACGs and will hopefully be starting on a 4th next year, I'm unlikely to want to play anything else now, I've found a very good fit :)

    Eude
  5. eude

    eude

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    You should have a look at the Finn or even the J-Type shapes mate, might be more along the lines of what you like...

    Eude
  6. eude

    eude

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    One last question Jared, how come you're going with Gotoh tuners rather than Hipshots?...

    Eude
  7. smperry

    smperry Moderator Supporting Member

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    Great specs. Perfect application for a walnut body IME with Wals. I love the Gotoh GB350 tuners...they're lighter and smoother turning than Hipshot ultralights. I really want to hear these new pickups! Are there samples anywhere?
  8. Skelf

    Skelf Gold Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Builder AC Guitars.
    Not any samples yet since I have the only set in my own bass. It is currently in bits but my playing is not up to much and would be quiet embarrassing for me to make public. I am building another bass to put this set in so once it is done I will see what I can do.
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    +1

    My tastes are fairly conservative but I really like the J-Type and Finn shapes in double-cut. My Finn-in-progress is the middle one (black limba top) in the last photo. There are other Finns and Js pictured, all of which aren't particularly 'out there' in body shape (to my eyes at least).
  10. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    Sub'd and looking forward to the end result, particularly soundclips!
  11. Pj,Rj,Hj

    Pj,Rj,Hj

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    Will do, thanks for the heads up :bassist:
  12. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    That was the most recent spec change. Alan is going to make the Gotohs the standard option but will still offer the Hipshot Ultralites.

    I've never tried the Resolites so I decided to give them a go since I've heard good things about them.
  13. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist Supporting Member

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    Holy smoke that bass is stunning! Is the pre available seperately?
  14. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle

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    nice! so the multicoils are officially available now? might be time to start talking to Alan. :)
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    The EQ01 preamp is available separately and Best Bass Gear usually stocks them. The EQ03 has a few additional features & upgrades and is only available in Alan's basses.

    Yep. I believe there are a couple other builds in progress now that will use the multicoil pickups.
  16. MarkA

    MarkA Registered Schmoozer. Supporting Member

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    For someone with no experience with Wals, can you (or anyone experienced) elaborate on what their pups (or the ACG multi-coils discussed here) can do and what you can expect out of them tonally and in terms of playing characteristics? My experience is limited to a couple of different P and J pickups (my main player is a P/J with a set of 80s EMGs), a set of Bart soapbars, and a Bart Musicman pup. As for pres, I'm open to a good one, but like most of mine enough that I usually bypass them and run passive!

    Looks like a nice bass in the works!
  17. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    +1 - I've no experience of Wals or multi-coil pups, and only a basic 3-band pre. I'm intrigued as it's almost the electronic opposite of my passive P/J build!
  18. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    Someone with a greater understanding could probably explain things better, but here's my simple breakdown of the multi-coil setup:

    Jazz pickups are single coils around a single bobbin which sense a small area of the strings vibrations giving a bright and clear sound that is susceptible to hum.

    P pickups use a split coil (the E&A strings have one coil and the D&G another each with their own bobbin) which means a larger midrange emphasis and a slightly muted top end. The two coils are humcancelling as well.

    The Wal pickups actually use two coils PER string so a total of 8 separate bobbins (10 on a five string) which create a very distinct sound. I believe each row of coils (all the ones toward the bridge for instance) is summed in series and then the two sets summed in parallel.

    As for sound, the pickups are pretty dark sounding (with a big low mid emphasis) while also being remarkably clear.

    Geddy Lee's Power Windows tone is a good reference point, although he plays with a pretty aggressive attack. Flea's tone on most of the Blood Sugar Sex Magik album is a another, as is Mick Karn's fretless tone. Justin Chancellor is well known for playing a Wal, but (while very cool) I don't think of his tone as being all that representative of the Wal tone in general.



    And I'm with you on preamps. All of my other basses are passive but the ACG/East preamp slices the sound in a vastly different (and to me awesome) way than a traditional 2, 3 or 4 band EQ.
  19. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    Jared - thanks for the links. It's an interesting thick-yet-clear sound that definitely works well in those settings. Looking forward to hearing what you do with yours!
  20. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    On a separate note: no fanned frets this time?

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