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Help! Chambered bodies? Different fret materials? Q-Tuners with OBP-3? Piezos?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alexclaber, Oct 7, 2005.


  1. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I normally lurk over on the geeky amp side, but I'm putting together plans for a new bass and could do with some advice. I'm thinking about a 4-string Queen Bee with wenge neck and cherry body, with Q-Tuner pickups, passive electronics and bypassable active electronics. Basically looking to take the design of my '87 Warwick Streamer which has the same wood combo, EMG pickups and OBP-3 preamp, up another notch. Any thoughts on any of this appreciated but the main dilemma I face is over chambering the body.

    I'm hoping to get a more characterful upper register tone, particularly when plucking or strumming chords and have been wondering if chambering the body wings could help produce an airier, fuller and more natural tone. The question is how much chambering is required and where should this be for the best compromise between tight bottom and warm top. Or should I be considering other body woods?

    Whilst I'm here, I'm very keen on the Q-Tuners and had persuaded myself to revert to an all-passive design until I realised I need an onboard preamp for when I'm running effects. So has anyone any experience with the Q-Tuners and onboard preamps - current hearsay suggests their output may be too high?

    And fretwire - I like low frets (a la Dingwall or old Warwicks) and do like the bronze ones on my Warwick. Any notable tonal difference between bronze and normal frets (what are they usually made of). Also wondering about stainless steel a la Parker Fly - that seems an excellent combo.

    One more thing - I've also had thoughts about piezo pickups on the bridge (or inside one of the cavities). Any pros/cons? How does one buffer/mix them with the magnetics?

    Cheers!

    Alex
     
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Bueller?
     
  3. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Speak to Fred at Bee about it. He'll steer you in the right direction.
     
  4. My Stambaugh 6 is chambered, although Chris recommended against it(I was after a vintage Fender tone; he felt that going semi-hollow would dominate the tone). I'm totally pleased w/the results; it's not exactly what I was going for, but an awesome bass nonetheless. My point to you is that chambering did add some depth, detail & volume to the upper-register, but below low D it loses a bit of clarity. It's almost a tube-type breakup, but it's pretty much always there. I'm not complaining, mind you, but be aware that going hollow/chambered will affect highs, lows AND midrange.
    Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean about effects needing a preamp; I've heard(probably more often)that passive basses work better w/effects. My 6 is passive/active- some things work better for one or the other & some don't seem to know the difference.
    Also, as stated above, Fred at Bee is extremely helpful- & I didnn't even buy a bass from him! :rolleyes: Wish I could, though; they are beautiful.
     
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Thanks for the replies guys - I'm currently bouncing ideas of Fred but he's mainly made solid bodied basses so was looking for some more experiences there. There seem to be so many different ways of approaching semi-hollow bodies that it's hard to know how far to go!

    I'm now considering going without an onboard preamp and 'just' having two Q-Tuners, a Graphtech piezo bridge, with 3-way magnetic pickup switch, passive tone, magnetic/piezo blend and master volume. Any thoughts on that?

    Alex
     
  6. I find that the best piezo sounds come from blending with a slight amount of the neck pickup. It's one more control, but you may want to add a balance pot for the bridge/neck pickups as well as the piezo/mag balance control. Best of luck.
     
  7. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Don't waste your time with the graphtech piezo bridge. I've known a few people who got them and quickly got rid of them. They sound terrible.