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Azola bug repair

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by biddypatrick, Dec 4, 2016.


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  1. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    Some years back I had an incident travelling with the bug. The SKB case it travels in was heavilly damaged on end of the headstock. It looked like some big heavy thing just slammed into it. The bass was still in one piece just had a small crack at the shoulder. SKB replaced the case and I took the bass to a guitar luthier who repaired the crack. The luthier didn't do any other repairs, just the crack. Since then I don't think it's been 100%. I'm wondering if such an impact from the headstock end could make the rod bend a bit? Since it happened the small silver button that goes where the allen key screw is won't stay there. This happened lots of years ago and I've stopped travelling for years now too and use a regular bass for gigs and practice..but I can't stop..and haven't stopped thinking about the bass and what happened. I wish I'd been more with it at the time because the instrument was insured and Azola basses were still in business at the time. It would be nice to get this instrument back to 100% but I don't know who could even repair it.
     
  2. The rod?
    You're talking of the rod that's inside bass guitars necks?
    As far as I know, the BugBass neck doesn't have a rod, like all double basses.
    I don't think there's anything to worry about your instrument.
    If it's been stable since the accident, then everything seems ok for me.

    Hope this helps!
    François

    P.S. I had a Bug for about two or three years, twenty years ago.
     
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    There is no rod in that neck. Even if Steve were still building basses I don't know that you'd need to spend the money to send it to him. It is a fairly simply built instrument. I'm sure an experienced double bass luthier closer to you could solve these problems.
     
  4. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    Thanks for the replies Francois and Jeff. I always thought the tilt neck was a rod like guitars for some reason..?? The main problem I had since the accident was noticing the G string was weak compared to the others but now I think of it I did change my amplification set up and I've changed it again since then too. It's been haunting me that maybe the instrument suffered some kind of internal problem. I've got the lightning bug with floating top tilt neck. I'm going to try it out with it's original amplification set up ( GK MB150) and my current ( AI head w/ Crazy8 speaker ) and go from there. I suppose if there's still problems with the sound balance across the strings I'll have to find a luthier.
     
  5. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    I am still curious why the cap that covers the screw wont stay in anymore. That's what made me worried initially. I remember telling Jill and she said it was strange. Maybe it doesn't matter or maybe it's because the whack it copped has done something..?
     
  6. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Can you post some pics of the cap problem please? And maybe also of the pickups.

    String imbalance is more likely a pickup issue, rather than a amplifier/speaker issue. I have never seen an Azola Bug bass in the flesh*, but pics I see elsewhere suggest it has 2 wing-mounted PUs. Maybe one of them stopped working or became unseated. Tap the bridge on each side to diagnose, you should get a similar response.

    *: before you ask: but I have built 4 EUBs & have a basic understanding of PUs.
     
  7. To continue in Ortsom's direction:
    Maybe the pickups are out of phase.
    Reverse the mounting of one of them and see if it changes something in the sound coming amplified.
    Maybe I didn't choose the right english words to explain that, my primary language is french, sorry.
    I mean: on one of the pickups, put the side that was facing the wing to be facing the leg.
    That will reverse it's phase by 180 degrees.
    Leave the other PU alone.
     
  8. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    Ok thanks Ortsom and Francios.. I'll post some pics tomorrow and experiment with the PU. I am a little confused what you mean Francios but maybe when I post some pics it will be clearer. I'll post some pics of the cap and the PU. Thanks for your help.
     
  9. Do you have two pickups or just one, on the bridge?
     
  10. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    There's two.. One is in the slot the other is wired inside.
     
  11. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    IMG_0712. IMG_0713.
     
  12. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    And here's where the cap is supposed to fit but doesn't since the airline damage. screw hole.
     
  13. Try to place the wing pickup upside down.
     
  14. You can try what Francois suggested, but this doesn't change phase. These pickups sense pressure and it would be the same (pressed together) regardless if they are mounted upside down or not.

    If they would bend like a piezo disk, the phase would be reversed, but not the bridge wing piezos that are pressure sensitive.
     
  15. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    The pickup wired inside the bridge is sensitive to very minor changes in bridge tilt concerning the feet meeting the body of the bass. Try pushing the top of the bridge slightly toward the tailpiece and try pulling it toward the fingerboard too. One of these positions may give you a better sound.

    I lost the adjustment hole cap for my Azola years ago, but if it is the one with many prongs that go into the hole, you might try gently bending some of them out to create a tighter fit of the cap.
     
  16. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Thanks for the pics. This PU arrangement is different from what I saw elsewhere (which seemed to have 2 symmetrically placed wing PUs, but that was called 'Bug Bass 2' I believe). As DM says, phasing in a compressional PU is independent of orientation, while for a flexural one the phase flips with the orientation. Here the wing one appears compressional, but I don't really know what's inside, so it might still be flexural. What the other cable does I don't know, can't see.
    Suggest the following:
    • While connected to your amp, tap the bridge with your index finger. Tap in 4 different ways: EV=downwards (so downwards to the top) just outside the E-string; EL=sideways, on the edge of the bridge near the E-string (so in the direction of the G-string); GV=downwards outside the G-string; and GL=sideways @ edge near G-string. That should give the prime sensitivities of the PU system (Vertical & Lateral), and EV & GV should be similar, as should EL & GL. Significant differences in output suggest differences in sensitivity, yet the lateral ones might normally be less loud than the vertical (radial) ones in this geometry. If you get pair-wise good balanced outputs, it is not in the PU system. Strings? String heights?
    • If you do not have good pair-wise balance, try what ctxbass suggests: try with bridge crest pushed down or up; first down, towards the tail end. The crest has to move a bit (a mm or less) over the strings. Though feet contact appears good, compressional PUs are quite sensitive to placement & contact, so that might help (the bridge will bend a little). Also try wiggling (sideways) the wing PU a bit, and inserting further & less far. Careful, these things are fragile.
    • If that doesn't help (still uneven output), pull out the wing PU altogether, and test just the other one alone. Gives a fair output? Does wiggling it improve the output? (But be careful there, it might be integral in the bridge, along the lines of a Wilson or Bassbalsereit, and even glued in.) If you get no/ very little/ no good output from that one, it may have a problem. Is there a problem in the connection of the plug? There are signs of movement of the cable at the top of the plug, it might be that the signal line is broken inside.
    • If the other PU seems to work fine (note that one alone is likely to give imbalance across the string locations, that would be normal), insert the wing PU again, but this time upside-down to test François' suggestion. It's not likely to be flexural, but it could be, so better test.
    • If no improvement, put back to original. Then I can't help.
    On the cap: what you're showing there is the neck-body attachment. That should be tight. If there was a cap over that, I'm sure that was just cosmetic. Bit of double-sided sticky tape below it?

    Good luck!
     
  17. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    Thanks so much for all your help Francois, DoubleMIDI and ctxbass. I've been playing the bass all morning and I'm happy again...after a long time. So I can chill now that that dreaded airline incident didn't do anything to the bass. Before I put it away for the past 4 years I did restring it with Thomastik solos ( yellow end ) and since then I'm using a crazy 8 speaker instead of the AI coda. Ctxbass, you made me think about how I'm using the pickups. Since the one that is wired into the bridge is so sensitive I turned it all the way up and then blended the wing pickup. Anyway it's sounding and feeling good. Thank you for helping me sort it out.
     
  18. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    I just saw your reply Ortsom.. thanks so much for this info. I'm not going to worry about the cap.
     
  19. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I'm glad this worked out for you. I also just blend in a bit of the wing pickup.
    I have an Azola Acoustic Baby Bass and I don't play it that often. When I first play it again, I tend to compare it to a full double bass and I am dissatisfied.
    When I get over the comparison and play the instrument for what it is, I am happy again. Steve made some really good basses.
     
  20. biddypatrick

    biddypatrick

    May 4, 2007
    Portugal
    That's when the penny dropped..thanks so much. I've played the bass all day and I don't think I've connected with it so much as I did today. I can't believe I've had the bass for so long and only just connected with pickups now. lol.
     

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