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Entwistle's Explorers - many pics.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Entiwistle - Explorers: Doth Rock.

    I'm not like some huge Entwistle fan, but I totally dig on his basses and his rigs. His bass setups rivaled Keith Emerson's synth/keyboard rigs. Really really on his own planet, thinking way ahead of everyone else. Great ideas to get that sound he so loved. Thunderously loud stage rigs. And I totally dig Explorer basses. This is just some of my picture collection of Entwistle's gear, mostly centered around his Alembic Explorers.

    1976 - Alembic 4 string.

    1979 - Alembic 4 string.

    1982 - Alembic 4 string. And his insane Sunn amplification rig. Everything in this picture was his gear. Off to the left is the Gelf amp rig. 4 Sunn Coliseum 300 watt amps, a special Alembic signal splitter, and twin Stramp preamps on the top at an angle. Every cab in this picture was part of his rig. He had THREE of thos amp rigs, all built by Kenny Flegg (aka "Gelf"). Oh yea, and the bass rocks!

    1982 - Alembic 4 string.

    Alembic 4 string in the studio.

    Alembic 4 string

    Alembic 4 string.

    Alembic 4 string.

    1977 - Alembic 8 string.

    1977 - Alembic 8 string.

    1977 - Alembic explorer, side view. Nice and slim.

    1977 - Alembic rear view. If you look you can see the holes in the cover plate that give access to the trim pots on the internal preamp so he could tweak stuff with a small screwdriver.

    These are of his Alembic Explorer that is on display at the Hard Rock in Berlin.

    The pickup in the middle was a dummy pickup added to cancel hum, it produced no sound.


    Check the hand made nut.

    Controls controls controls! The webs are hand-linlaid silver, it looks like brass due to the fading clear laquer, but it's actually inlaid silver. Same with the webbing on the other end of the body. You can see the little wire by the neck pocket that powered the LEDs that ran the entire length of the neck. The inlays on the fretboard were musical note representations done in some gothic alpha-numeric characters.

    More controls. The 5-pin connector was for the multi channel outputs, plus DC power to run the LEDs that ran the full length of the neck. You just got to be diggin on the totally hand made bridge and the hand made tailpieces.

    1979 - Alembic 4 string and you can see that Gelf amp rig in the background. 2 Stramp preamps on top, an Alembic signal splitter and 5-pin interface just under the preamps, and four Sunn Coliseum 300s in the rack.

    His Hamer 12 string Explorer.

    Guys like him just don't exist anymore. Some fiddle with their stuff on smaller scales, but nothing like what he did in the manner of developing a live sound all his own.

    I hope you enjoyed this. Explorers rock bones!
  2. rolleharris


    Nov 10, 2002
    Falun Sweden
    And after all those years and all the big amps and expensive basses hes best sound is still a pbass on live at leeds and woodstock :p
  3. Mike in Chicago

    Mike in Chicago Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    "live at Leeds". I loved it in the Quadraphenia book that came with the album...re his sound..."his bass sounded like a bleeding VC10".

    Here's me w my Hamer Explorer, late '70's w my SVT to the right

    Attached Files:

    • 1978.JPG
      File size:
      38.9 KB
  4. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
  5. AtomicPunk

    AtomicPunk Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    Detroit Metro, MI USA
    That Hamer 12 string (wish it was a bigger picture) looks like a Quad Bass, which was also the first model Tom Petersson had. All those volume controls allowed the player to adjust the volume of EACH STRING individually, the pickups had seperate controls and one coil for each set of strings, with 4 individual coils, each along the line of the string, not across them like a standard pickup.
  6. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Iconic to say the least
  7. I personally don't care for the Explorer body shape for a bass... Only Entwistle made it look and sound awesome!
  8. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012

    But i'd definitely got one only because of John
  9. don't forget my personal favorite:

    Karl Rico likes this.
  10. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    Awesome batch of pics! He was definitely one of my bass idols!
  11. Thanks, I'm glad they gave some enjoyment! :)

    Gabeja15, I totally swiped that picture! Is that one of the twelve Gibsons that he had Gibson make for him that he never ended up using because he discovered Alembic? It appears to be a reshaped T-bird with a Fender neck. I like it!

    I like the Explorer shape, I have a physical disability that doesn't agree with having my right elbow kicked-out and forward the way many guitars/basses force the arm to position itself when using a pick. I have to either wear the bass really low (which I don't really like doing, that limits what my left hand can do on the neck too much) or use a body with a lot of the upper edge cut down, like the Exlporer or the Steinberger. Problem is I am a towering giant of a person coming in at an overbearing 5'6". Like Tommy Shaw of Styx.


    So when I use a bass like an Explorer I look like a little kid that put on his dad's bass for a picture to be taken. All that's missing is the pajamas!

    So getting "THE shape" has been a quest of mine for a while now. I may end up making something like this crappy pencil sketch .....


    I might start by hacking on an inexpensive Squier J I have, just to test the shape ...


    Or maybe buying a Warmoth bare body for $135 to begin with some shape test-cuts on.

    Dunno yet.

    Anyhow, I'm glad this was entertaining. :) I also like his Buzzards, especially the Status Graphites. Entwistle's great posture also helps make those body types look ok, he had such excellent playing posture. I can't see the fretboard well enough when I stand so straight, I'd have to stuff something behind the bass to angle it towards my face a bit if I stood like he did.

    He certainly was his own self.

    Flux of Earth.
  12. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Awesome thread, Flux! Thanks for sharing these great pictures. Entwistle just looks so badass in that 1st picture with the sunglasses, ha ha :D That headstock looks lethal. Very cool.
  13. Dude! Love the "Earth Shoes". I wore Wallabees, still do! That pic is awesome! My wife saw it on the screen and said "Woa, how 1978 is THAT!" (her and I have been together since 1979, been married 30yrs this month).

    Totally far out pic!
  14. Thanks man! I've only recently had Entwistle on my radar. I'm a hopeless Keith Emerson fan and Entwistle's approach and willingness to go over the top is the same thing that attracts me to Emerson. ELP was the first music I picked out for myself on my 12th birthday. It was their debut album and it captured me from the very first time I heard it.

    Entwistle's apprach to the bass is a lot like Emerson's appraoch to the synth and the Hammond. "Screw everyone else, I'm doing it THIS WAY!"

    Glad this thread is something entertaining for you!
  15. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Funny you mention ELP. I started checking them out about 2 months ago. I have their first two albums. Good crazy stuff!
  16. tinman 1967

    tinman 1967

    Mar 6, 2010
    I have to second that statement.:)
  17. A really good one is the triple-live album called "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends...". The first side isespecially good. The Tarkus suite is insanely good.

    And of course Brain Salad Surgery is a staple item. So is Trilogy. I'd go no further than "Welcome Back my Friends" though. After about 1977 they went to crap. "Works" (both volumes) sucks pond water. And "Love Beach" is a total joke. But their first - oh - let's say six releases are golden. Truly experimental UK progressive rock. Greg Lake's bass tone is like ultra hi-fi. He was another Alembic player. Here's a bunch of pictures of Greg Lake I psoted in another thread ...


  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.







  19. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Gotta love everything related to Mr. Thunderfingers
  20. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012

    And now, to be "in topic":

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