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EB-0, Mudbuckers, DarkStars and DiMarzio

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CThompson, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. I just won this on ebay:


    68 Gibson Melody Maker bass. I've found precious little information about what makes a Melody Maker different from an EB-0, all I get are offhand comments about how the Melody Maker is in fact Mahogany.

    What sets this one apart is that it's Funk as Puck.


    That's right, fire damage. Rock and roll.

    Assuming I can get this thing back together, which it sounds like I will, I'm wholly unfamiliar with EB-0 type basses and the mudbuckers.

    This one has the Dimarzio Model 1 in it, which I take was a popular upgrade.

    I just finished reading the Darkstar thread and there are a few EB style basses in there but most are dual pickup. Kenny Allyn's got the leCompte with the Darskstar in Mudbucker position, and I there was a tele-bass style with one in that position as well.

    For the record, I am not one of those guys who thinks the bass has to cut through and be prominent out front. I like the p-bass with flats sound. But I'd like to hear some experiences from people with mudbuckers, dark stars or the Dimarzio.

    I obviously don't need to maintain any collectibility on this one, so routing deeper for a DarkStar is OK. I'm probably going to retrofit a Hipshot Supertone onto it (despite the fact this is a two point bridge and the ST replaces a three, I'll redrill and make it work.)

    So, how is the Dimarzio for mud? I do like a bit brighter, more dynamic sound occasionally, is the Dimarzio in the neck position suitably versatile?

    To the guys with DarkStar in the neck position, how versatile is that? It seems like the answer would be "very. and deeeeeeeep" but I have a bit of difficulty spending $200 on a pickup for a bass I paid $190 for.

    How would flats work with all those combinations? I've been dying to try a set of TI Jazz flats on something.

    How about a preamp like an audere, would it help?

    OK, too many questions, I sit back and wait for your informed replies.
  2. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    if you're routing, why not add a second pickup while you're at it?
  3. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    You can wire up the DiMarzio with a single coil/humbucker switch. When my EBO was a normal bass, I used the DiMarzio as a single coil, as a piccolo bass I use it as humbucking most of the time.
  4. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I've got a late '60s Melody Maker Bass:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I love it! They were a budget model, made of mahogany. There are also Kalamazoo models that look very similar, but made of pressboard (?) and with different headstocks.

    One of the main differences between the Melody Maker and EB-0 are the pickguard - almost looks like a Fender pg - but the electronics should be the same. The headstock is different too - the logo is just painted on instead of inlaid. Here's a great page on EB-0's. The tuners are cheaper too (though the cheaper "closed gear" tuners can be found on some EB's apparently.)

    I love the mudbucker. Not "versatile" - with flats it basically ONLY puts out bass frequencies, with little or no midrange and absolutely no treble. But POWERFUL! I used an EB-2 with an acoustic group and they loved the sound - pure bass, didn't compete with the guitar frequencies at all. I usually run my mudbucker basses through distortion and effects - I find that they push pedals differently than other pickups, partly due to the volume, but I think it's also due to the extreme bass frequencies that they put out.
  5. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    The Dark Star is an amazing pickup. It has a very wide frequency response, so it's not only deep. I have one in the P position, but I've also played a Lakland Decade with dual DS's (the neck one is right up on the neck, as it would be in the EB-0). In fact, Lakland still has the sound clips up for a DS-equipped Decade (despite the fact that the page shows a Chi-sonic equipped Decade), so you can hear for yourself.


    I get what you're saying about putting a $200 pickup in a $190 bass--but to me, the fact that you got it cheap just means you have more money to spend on upgrades if you want.;) And the DS is well worth it, IMHO.
  6. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Are you asking whether the DiMarzio will keep the mud, or eliminate the mud?

    Back when I used an EB-0 (which admittedly was many many years ago) I put a DiMarzio Model 1 in...and it was still muddy. I guess the "timbral versatility" [sic] of the series/parallel switching made it worthwhile, but it barely seemed like an improvement at the time.
  7. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    What a great Ebay find ...

    I can see it refinished in that Pelham blue like the one above with maybe a black picguard!

    Deep but not muddy with a fast attack and even response pretty much sums up the Dark Stars ... even in the neck position you get goodGHS Pressurewounds on it now and still sounds great, next I might try D Addario XL Chrome flats.


    :) ... Can't go wrong with a DS IMO and Fred is such a great guy!
  8. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I had that idea a while ago but never followed it up. Maybe now's the time? :ninja:
  9. I tried the Model One in an Attitude bass, and it was clear as a bell. Not a mudbucker at all, though, with enough EQ work, I suppose it could be muddied up just fine.
  10. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I put a Model-One in a Schecter Stiletto Elite. It was dark-ish, but very solid and had a nice 'grunt' with some sweet top. Good p'up.
  11. I've had a pile of old Gibsons, including one I put a Model One in, one '67 Starfire with the Hagstrom pickup which was the basis for the Dark Star,and currently play Alembics. They are more different than possessed of things in common.
    The Gibson humbucker is pure blood and guts, a brute that pumps low end with no subtlety or dynamics at all. It is possible to cut one of the coils out of the picture and make the overall sound more civilised but much less interesting.
    Much more fun is the earliest Gibson bass humbucker, which you'll usually find under a brown or black pickup cover (with the pickup slugs set dead center) on basses made up until 1961. That was a beautiful pickup. One huge coil around ceramic magnets always sounded good to me. Killing off that design was one of Gibson's first really bad decisions.
    The Model One is a very refined pickup by comparison to the mudbucker, kind of like listening to a passive Fender Jazz and a Sadowsky back-to-back. The second one is very user-friendly, but kind of blah compared to the first. They're versatile but unremarkable. Never tried one with a preamp but Mike Watt did, with a Bart harness, and sounded great.
    But the Hagstrom...except for the Alembic single coil, the Hagstrom pickup the Dark Star is based upon may be my favorite pickup ever. It just does everything. With a little luck, Fred Hammon will have his reward for reminding us how great that design was.
    As for your bass, man, I hope it takes string tension. Start with something light-gauge, like TI Flats.
  12. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
  13. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Wow, that's going to be a great bass. I'd say wire it up with the Dimarzio and give it some time to see if you like the tone, and if the bass it'self is stable. I'm a huge Darkstar fan, but I like the tone of the dimarzio's, and there was a reason that they were such a popular upgrade.

    Be sure to let us know how the project turns out.
  14. The guys at reranch are urging me to refin it in Arctic White or Pelham Blue. My first thought was to stabilize and keep the mojo of the "real" relic.

    If I do refin, I'm thinking black with a tort pickguard. I'll have to mock something up with photoshop to be sure.

    If I'm going to that amount of trouble, I might as well just put a bridge pickup in as well. So that'd be $400 worth of pickups in a $190 bass. Of course then I could get an audere preamp, and...

    I'm a big fan of the deep, even, uh, mud I guess of a P-bass with flats. Most of the time the tone I want is very close to what I hear on that lakland page.

    While I'm looking for SOME versatility, I'm not looking for one bass to rule them all and in the darkness groove them. I've got Two P-basses, a Fretless J and an Alembic Spoiler, so if I had to have something completely opposite the mud, I can find it.

    Hopefully it'll arrive soon.

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