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NOBD: Univox "Coily" - Pix, Impressions, Questions...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rllefebv, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    As the title implies, I recently picked up a new-to-me bass, an old Univox "Coily" in great shape... First up, pix:

    Full Body


    Closeup - Front


    Closeup - Back


    Closeup - Headstock


    First Impressions - After replacing the unknown rounds that it was wearing with some new Chromes, I like this bass, A LOT... When I received it, the sound was full, rich and deep but the output was low. Raised both pickups and this improved dramatically! I've always been a fan of the old cheesy 'staple' pickups for their round tone, and these don't disappoint! On two pickup basses, I usually blend full or favor the neck, but this bass is one of the first where I actually find the soloed bridge sound pleasing... Nice honk and cut while still holding a lot of bottom! The soloed neck pickup is warm and pillowy and exactly how I pictured this bass sounding for the past two weeks that I have been looking at it on craigslist... Blended is a bit of a different story, and I have some questions later...

    Played this bass during rehearsal on Thursday, a wine-bar gig on Friday and on a four-hour bar gig last night... Light enough and easy on the shoulder... I have a bit of, ummm... girth, so the body took some getting used to, but I got acclimated fairly easily... The body is both shallower and smaller than a Jack Casady and tended to hang better for me (Nothing against the Casady which is a GREAT bass!). Neck-dive was minimal and the bass balanced well... As far as the neck, I totally dig the chunky U shape! I cautiously adjusted the truss-rod after stringing the Chromes and it has taken well... If it hadn't, I would have been following Bluelick's excellent truss-rod repair, but happily I appear to be in the clear... As far as sound in a band mix it sits deep, supportive, and authorative... No lack of bottom. The band-mates dug both the looks and tone!

    My only real question is around the blended pickup position... on mine, while both pickups are definitely in use, only the 'front' controls adjust anything... It is actually louder with the volume on 8 than 10 (I realize that this may be the typical phase thing that sometimes shows up with three position switches). The tone, while still smooth and creamy, is a bit thinner and lower volume that with either pickup solo. Does anyone else have that or similar experiences? Bluelick?? Pilgrim?? Others?

    I realize that I am still in the 'honeymoon' phase (and haven't we all been here before?!?!?) but for now, I am enjoying the heck out of this bass!! :D

  2. Avalon


    Feb 28, 2009
    First let me say that you've got yourself one beautiful bass there. I would really love to get one of those myself.

    Regarding your pick up blending, it sounds like your Coily has the same problem as my Hofner 500/5. While I am no expert on the matter; after much opinion seeking here on TB, after much analysis, after much genuflecting, after staring and scratching my head.... I came to the conclusion that my pick ups were wired out of phase.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't know what to tell you, but man, that bass is super hot!
  4. Rugaar


    Apr 11, 2007
    Love it. I've been dying to get one of those. Can I ask how much you paid? I've been searching for awhile but I'm being patient. Kinda.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Love it! Beautiful bass, nice shape. Hard to tell what's going on with 40 year old electronics...my Univox pots are crackly. Practical answer is find a setting that works and enjoy it. I usually run both pots up full and it sounds fine. Mine is.much like yours...

  6. Torren61


    May 25, 2011
    I'm far from an expert on bass but I have wired many a guitar. Those semi-hollow bodies can be difficult but I'd suggest a rewire. Four quality pots, a new Switchcraft pickup selector and a couple of vintage paper in oil caps should put you in complete love with this bass.

    The whole project should cost less than $100 if you do it yourself. A bit of time researching will reveal the correct pot and cap values. There are heaps of suppliers out there for quality electronics. You can pm me for suggestions if you don't know of anyone.

    Nice bass.
  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Hey guys, thanks for the comments... I am getting into this little bass more and more, (which is typical for me to an extent, but rarely this much)... Just ran some quick 'tone test' comparisons for a blind listening in a few days to see if it's the newness of the axe or a true tonal preference... While cranking these out, I did notice a definite 'feel' difference that I'm liking very much!!

    Yeah, I'm pretty much certain of this now... Odd that only one set of controls shapes the whole shebang, but there've been weirder things!

    Thanks Jimmy! It's no 'Realistic', but I dig the vibe! It sounds lovely through my Ampegs :D

    You'll have a PM shortly sir...

    Thanks Pilgrim... I've admired your Special in other threads... I'm usually in the 'set-it-and-forget-it' camp when it comes to finding a workable tone, and everything full up is my usual mode... The issue that I'm having is that ALL of the positions sound great, with the 'blended' setting being the least 'full' of the three... I know that there are some great tones in there that are dying to come out... Did I mention that I have a fondness for these old 'staple' pickups??

    This is where I'm heading... I've got a good line on components and will order things up in a few days... I've got another gig coming up on Friday and then will tear into it on Saturday... I'm not afraid of wiring at all, but the body-style will present a few challenges... Never done a hollow-body-through-the-F-hole thing, but I've heard of the surgical tubing trick and will give it the old college try! And yes, it is fully hollow... No 'tone-block' running through it... I'll get picks when I'm working on it...

    Thanks again guys!

  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    The trick with this bass is NOT to work through the F-hole.

    Remove one pickup (you'll actually end up removing both, as they're all tied together by the harness) and tie long threads of monofilament fishing line to each pot. Pull the innards out carefully through the pickup hole, and leave the fishing line in place through the mounting holes so that you can pull each pot (or its replacement) back into the hole it came out of.

    Another popular trick with pots is to get surgical tubing and force it over the stem of each pot...then you have a stronger physical connection to each pot.

    It's kind of a like a jigsaw puzzle, but it beats the heck out of trying to work through an F-hole.

    A little more Univox eye-candy:


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