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An Artcore with the soul of a Casady

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Sep 17, 2008.


  1. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Ok,
    So I haven't been posting as much as I used to around here, but I have been busy on some projects. The first of which is this. An Ibanez Artcore AGB-140 with the electronics package from an Epiphone Jack Casady bass.

    I picked the Ibanez up on sale with case from GC after the full scale models were discontinued. It had couple of features that are harder to find on semi-hollow basses. Namely that it's very stable neck was full 34" scale, and it was a nice wide "P" size neck rather than the skinny necks that seem to be the standard for semihollow. I loved the binding, two part bridge (less problematic than JC bridges) and the beautiful brown rootbeer finish.

    However, it was hampered by a pickup that was only adequate, and as a large-pole music-man look-alike it appeared totally out of place on this vintage looking instrument.

    Enter the purchase of a Jack Casady electronics package. Sourced with the help of "Rodent" of Shuttlefunk guitars who was installing a darkstar on a Jack Casady bass for a customer, I got the pickup, pots, three-way transformer and chickenhead knob. I picked it because of the size, tone, and because the color matches the binding on the Artcore, and is much more in keeping with the Vintage look. Oh, yeah, for some reason, I love that it says "Electar", very nice!

    I had do a bit of routing to deepen the cavity and widen it by about a quarter inch on each side. I did it all with a hand held dremmel, and it worked like a charm. Third Coast Guitar works wired the parts from the Casady together for me, and I installed it myself. Here is the result. My appologies that the pictures aren't better.

    artcoretall.

    artcoreclose.

    Notes of interest.
    -The Schematic that Gibson sent me was actually incorrect.

    -The tech at Third Coast Guitar works also informed me that they had seen several versions of Casady wiring and pot selections over the years.

    -The pots are 25k, and have a very serious jump from 9-10. I may switch them out for 250k or 500k with a non-linear taper.

    -I decided to drill for the three-way transformer switch at the lower heel. this resulted in the transformer it'self -a metal box about an inch square ending- up just under the f-hole. rather than drilling holes inside the body, I used some rubber cement to glue it to the side of the body inside. It holds very well, and can be removed later if necessary.

    -The pickup ring is a bit longer than the route, but it is exactly the same width, so I had to drill the holes very carefully.

    Oh yeah, how does it sound...

    It sounds great! I am playing with a country band, and when we play low-key gigs, this is the bass I bring, and I use it as my backup. It played a benefit gig at a restaurant with 40 patrons last weekend night, and it played half of the set when we were one of the openers (several thousand in attendance) for Trace Adkins, and it pulled off both with aplomb. I go for a tone rolled off volume rolled up setting, and it sounds round, smooth and puncy, but definatley not dead.

    Like all my 4 stringers, I have a set of Fender Pure Nickle "original bass" strings on it that have warmed up nicely over time. Also I have found that all three positions on the vari-tone are usefull, but I use the deepest and middle selections most.


    Cons
    The sharp jump on the ends of the pots turning results in a big jump from bright to deep on the tone, but both sounds are nice. It would be nice to have more tonal options with the tone knob, but manipulating the vari-tone and amp make all middle tones available.

    The volume knob has the same issues, but it hasn't been a problem for me. I play it full on, and when I need volume changes I do it with my fingers.

    End Analysis.
    I really like this bass, it has the tone I like, and with the cream colored pup and a pair of amber top hats, it definatley has the look. I may switch out the pots, but it works fine as-is, and I will not be messing with it for a while.
     
  2. waynobass

    waynobass

    Feb 27, 2008
    Texas
    Very nice. I've always liked the "giant Les Paul" look of the Artcore. Does it neck dive?
     
  3. YCBass

    YCBass Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    SoCal
    Nice job Bro! I had this bass till a couple months ago when I stupidly sold it - I miss it!

    Anyway, I agree with you on the look and sound of the pickup... Thought long about a swap but never got around to it then I sold it.

    I get the feeling I'll buy one back if I find a good deal again.

    Enjoy!
     
  4. bassicsax

    bassicsax

    Jul 29, 2007
    Memphis, TN
    thats pretty sexy, any sound clips?
     
  5. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Thanks folks,

    Waynobass,
    It does have a bit of dive, but it's not noticable with a strap. The strap I have (a vintage cowboy belt) is not at all wide.


    YCB,
    Get out there and find another one!

    Bassicsax,
    Sorry, no sound clips. It sounds like a Casady with a touch more bite. probably because the pickup is a bit closer to the bridge than on a Casady. I prefer a very round deep tone, and, this is one of the few single pickup basses with the pup south of the mid-position that get's deep and round enough enough for me.
     
  6. savit260

    savit260

    Mar 6, 2006
    Boston
    That's awsome. I was hunting around a while back for a Jack Casady p/u and harness, for a project , but had no luck.

    That's one cool Ibanez!!
     
  7. nagarjuna

    nagarjuna

    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Hey! That was my pick-up! Rod did the job on my Casady,(and a great job he did) and I was delighted. So glad that it ended up in a bass that gets played. It looks fabulous! Enjoy. :hyper::hyper::bassist:
     
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Hey there,
    I didn't know you were on TB, though I probably should have suspected. Thanks again for the pickup/electronics, it has really taken this bass from good to Great! I also had a good time watching the progress on your JC on the dudepit. That was a sweet project.

    If anyone has reason to, nagarjuna is great to deal with.
     
  9. nagarjuna

    nagarjuna

    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Thanks Eilif!!:)
     
  10. main_sale

    main_sale

    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    Nice job! I'm a huge fan of the low-impedence Gibson humbucker, owning both an Epi JC Sig and Gibson LP Sig. I'll bet your bass is one great sounding aminal!
     
  11. nagarjuna

    nagarjuna

    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Hi Again, In the spirit of this show and tell, I thought that I should show some pix of the forementioned Jack Casady Bass that the illustrious Rodent converted for me. I hope that you are cool with this Eilif.:D I don't mean to derail this thread. :rolleyes:

    Here she is: Keep in mind that Carey Nordstrand took the neck contour WAY down to more of a late 60's EB size. He offered to buy it twice!
    jack1.
    jack2.

    You can see some mods. New knobs, a Has Sound Varitone that is composed of Orange Drop Caps! Heres a pic:
    jack3.

    Here is a pic of the Mod Bar behind the bridge. This thing makes this bass sustain for days. Basically a rolled stainless steel bar that the strings go through.
    jack7.

    Here's a pic of the Ultralites on the headstock. These machines simply rule!!:bassist:
    jack5.

    Finally... a long pic of the dragster @ rest:
    jack4.

    Strung with Thomastic flats.In retrospect, this bass really IS the Jack Casady model, whether Jack knows it or not!! :bag: ;) It sounds absolutely diabolical! The more you dig in, the more she roars! Thanks again to Rod for the gracious work and attitude. I'll never forget you dude. Oh... one last
     
  12. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    Eilif - I was about to post to you that it was great to see that all worked well with your intent to acquire the guts from the Cassady I modded some time back ... and then I see that nagarjuna dropped in to say 'Hi!' as well :)

    I used to have soundclips of that electronics set in the Cassady before the mod, but the server I had them hosted on crashed. too bad, it would have been very interesting to hear an A/B of the same electronics in two very different basses

    nagarjuna - great to know you're still digging the Darkstar mod to your Cassady. I know there were a lot of people writing me that it was totally nuts to do the change-out - but I really dug the resulting sound. And that is ONE KILLER NECK on your bass!!! (am I far back still in line should you ever sell it? :D)

    all the best,

    R
     
  13. nagarjuna

    nagarjuna

    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Hey Rod!! Great to hear from you.:) Are you up and running yet? I was gonna send over a Jazzmaster that I wanted inserts put in at the heel. PM me and let me know your schedule.
     
  14. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I would, but my PM box if waaay full :(

    drop me an e-mail at my TB address when you get the chance

    all the best,

    R
     
  15. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    nagarjuna,
    Thanks for posting that bass. I didn't know that the neck had been shaved. I'm sure it sounds and plays like a million bucks. The orange caps are the perfect match for the darkstars, I have a pair of them in my darkstared t-40 and it just kills!

    Rodent,
    Again, thanks for facilitating the pickup exchange. I probably wouldn't have kept the artcore if I had to keep the stock pup. With the possible exception of a DS upgrade, I now can't imaigine anything in it's price range or even considerably above that I would want to exchange it for.
     

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