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The Ashbory concept

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zerozeddy, Apr 27, 2005.


  1. These little Ashbory basses sound very nice, but look daft and are (for me) faffy to play because of their size. There must be a happy medium where you can get a Steinberger 6 string sized bass with thinner rubber strings etc. I'd buy one. But only if it didn't look like a kid's toy.
     
  2. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Been tried, won't work.

    The Ashbory is the size it is because after very many experiments, it was found that this was the only scale length that would work passibly well with silicone strings. That's the sole reason that the Ashbory is the size it is. There's not a lot of flexibility within the rubber-string concept (no pun intended); it's sort of a fluke that it works at all.
     
  3. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    These guys weren't too insecure to play 'em.
     
  4. I got my first electric guitar aged 16, when I found, quite by chance in a house-clearance shop, the one I'd ogled for years in the window of the local music shop.

    I used to keep it occasionally in the music department's store room at school. One evening as I went to pick it up, the music teacher was around. "I've come to get my guitar," I said. "Oh yes," he said, "yours is the small one isn't it?"

    The next day I went to the music shop and bought the biggest guitar I could find.
     
  5. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    HA!

    I'm a big, scary guy who spent much of his working life frankly getting paid to frighten and intimidate people. The contrast of me with the Ashbory is simply delicious.
     
  6. N*Joy

    N*Joy

    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    They go down well live because it's a bit different and people can't quite believe the sounds coming from what 'looks like a toy'
     
  7. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    The assembled Ashbory scholars of TalkBass may remember the story of one such player who was confronted by a derisive member of the audience who was insisting the Ashbory was a prop and the bass lines were just MIDI files.

    Or the Ashbory player who sold his for cash to some awestruck German tourists on the spot.

    I'm planning to do some jazzy improvisations behind poets at local readings with mine, plugged into a suitably outre-looking Ampeg B-100R.

    Should go over big if I can come up with the right outfit to wear. :p

    "I'm Leonard Pinth-Garnell, and welcome to Bad Poetry."

    [overlong, strident vers libre screed about some kind of oppression]

    [applause]"Dreadful! Simply dreadful, grating and inane, and let's hear the love for the man making low noises out of that distracting and ridiculous device!"
     
  8. If only they still looked like this.

    Can you tune them down to BEAD?
     
  9. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I don't know, but I doubt it.

    There seems to be only a very small window of tonal viability with these strings. Might work, I dunno.

    The picture is of one of the many unsuccessful versions, the MKII, that never saw real production. The current Fender Ashbory (made by Cor-Tek ["Cort"]), is the functionally best one and it mirrors the design of the first practical Ashbory.

    "Interestingly, although not surprisingly, it was decided to opt for the original dogbone shape rather than the later Mk II version. The reason for this was quite simple: The Mark II never reached America (apart from the one which lurks somewhere in the Gibson factory, and maybe one or two other stowaways that managed to flee England) therefore little is known about it in the USA. The Ashbory which had created all the interest was the first Guild version and it is to this that the DeArmond remains faithful, albeit with new improved geared tuners!"
     
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Well, that's it, we're never gonna see it again... swallowed by the Gibson black hole.

    The Ashbory's a cool bass, but works best up to the 12th fret. Intonation can be a challenge. Then again, I didn't keep mine long. I've yet to see someone play Teen Town on one.
     
  11. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    That's not a big issue for me as I rarely play above the fifth fret on a standard bass. I rarely play above the twelfth fret even on a guitar.
    To be fair, that's purely an issue of skill. A short-scale fretless instrument is really going to be tough. Listen to beginners trying to find pitch on a violin. It's a classic torture.
    Ha! That's funny. :D

    The extremely low string tension and rubbery texture would make shredding distinctly difficult!
     
  12. The rubbery texture part can be mostly cured by using a talc powder (go to a billiards supply shop and check out the powder cue stick lubricants). You don't completely lose the rubber squeeks and stretches if you want to use them intentionally though.
     
  13. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Curiously, I've never really been concerned with this problem. It seems like once the strings have been on for a few months, they lose that stickiness, or it may have been due to something else I did to the strings, I don't know. I seem to remember lightly wiping down the strings with ArmorAll at some point right after I got the instrument and that may have had something to do with it.

    Anyway, I tried the talc once and found it a bigger annoyance than anything it solved for me, so I let it go. I experience no noise or squeaking, but it may be because I have a light touch or the strings are aged and slick or ???
     
  14. Futurebass

    Futurebass

    Jun 22, 2005
    I had one of the original Guild ones and had trouble with the talc caking in hot sweaty venues. A bass you can't sweat on is useless. Has anybody come up with a solution to this? Because otherwise I thought it was a cool bass.
     
  15. Futurebass

    Futurebass

    Jun 22, 2005
    So the hands are where Brits put anti-perspirant? That explains a lot. You should try it on other parts of your body as well. :smug: ;)
     
  16. ibz

    ibz

    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I own an original guild ashbory and where I can see where the "toy" concept comes from. The amazing fat uprighty tone I can coax out of it is amazing for my jazz gigs. I haven't ever heard a bass give me a similar tone, shy of a good EUB or an actual double bass.

    It's pinotation is extremely easy if you realize the lines aren't perfect and you use your ear to get the job done. It's not as forgiving as longer scale fretless's though so precision is key, but it can be mastered.
     
  17. I had an original production model. I believe it was slightly smaller than the recent ones. During the years when strings were not available, I broke a string or two. I had it strung up with surgical tubing, which worked but not nearly as well as the real strings. I don't know that I could ever intonate well enough on that little thing to dare playing it live.

    Peace,
    S
     
  18. +1
     
  19. I'm curious to know if Lightwave would custom make a pickup for the Ashbory. I'd be all over that.