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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those who don't remember - NBD thread here

And for those who can't be fucked to click the thread, this is what it looked like when I got it...





Needless to say, this was converted at some point in its long life. It's a 1986 Charvel 3B.
Looks like this as stock:



It was upgraded with full-fat EMG's at some point too. Something I'm a huge fan of on bass (I really dislike passive bass pickups) so that's something I didn't want to fuck with.

Anyway... I felt that this bass had an amazing core tone, but that the 8 string nature of it was a bit of a novelty, and that this bass would go to waste. 8 strings aren't easy to play unless you're just holding down root notes, but if you want to do anything riffy then it's sort of out of the question. Not to mention slap, which I play a lot of.

I recorded one song with it as an 8 string, because I do have one slow plodding song that I thought it would suit, then I begun the conversion.

The first thing I needed to do was plug all those now-superfluous holes.



I'm not a refinishing guy, and I wanted to be really pragmatic about this, so wasn't fussed about the end aesthetic so long as it kinda looked ok, so I simply used nail polish to black out the plugs, then re-drilled the original holes in their original place...



Ignore the gun, it was there for wasps coming into my workshop...


The rear of it still looks like the hull of a rowing boat, but it's kinda cool. Like a reminder of what it was.


Then it was time to do the bridge



I knew I was converting all the hardware back to black as stock, but there was no way I was going to use anything other than a Hipshot Kickass. Anybody who's into bass owes it to themselves to use this bridge, it's my absolute favourite bass bridge no matter what



After getting it aligned I drilled it and fitted it.
Then I made and fitted a graphite nut, strung'er up and had a fiddle.



Despite the fretwork on this being fantastic (very nicely finished ends) there was some slight unevenness to it. Not surprising for such an old neck. The frets were actually very un-pitted so I wonder if it was refretted when it got converted to an 8...

In any event, I decided to give it a fresh start with a fret dress







After some further tweaks post-fret-dress I came to the conclusion that this might now be the best playing bass in the country. Unbelievably shreddy for a bass. I fucking love it.






So the sound...
I will post clips in the next couple of days, because you have to hear this to believe it. But to help convey how much this thing slays, I put my Spector up for sale within half an hour of plugging this in, and I'm not looking back.
 

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Guiterrorizer
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15,696 Posts
Good work dude.

How does that bridge differ from the babicz bridge?

Despite not playing bass nearly enough, I want another one :lol:.
 

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Arrr, Matey!
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1,798 Posts
Good work dude.

How does that bridge differ from the babicz bridge?

Despite not playing bass nearly enough, I want another one :lol:.
It's like a hot rodded Badass bridge with adjustable string spacing. I had one on a parts bass and it was fantastic.

That Charvel looks awesome now! Out of curiousity, what preamp is in it?
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Kickass is a take on the Badass bridge, just a high mass stable-as-hell chonky plate of win which is heavily adjustable. It gives the bass a really solid feel, like you really feel that zero string energy is being wasted.

As for the preamp Alan, none! It's just a EMG P and J straight into 25k pots, no bullshit, just pure tone, and it's fantastic!

I also love that the P is staggered reverse to normal, with the bass side being nearer the bridge and the treble side nearer the neck, which makes much more sense than the original if you think about it. Just like Spector.
 

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Arrr, Matey!
Joined
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1,798 Posts
The Kickass is a take on the Badass bridge, just a high mass stable-as-hell chonky plate of win which is heavily adjustable. It gives the bass a really solid feel, like you really feel that zero string energy is being wasted.

As for the preamp Alan, none! It's just a EMG P and J straight into 25k pots, no bullshit, just pure tone, and it's fantastic!

I also love that the P is staggered reverse to normal, with the bass side being nearer the bridge and the treble side nearer the neck, which makes much more sense than the original if you think about it. Just like Spector.
Yes, the reverse layout really does make so much more sense. Thinner strings sound fatter and thicker strings are less muddy, so the whole thing sounds more balanced.
 

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Super Moderator
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13,448 Posts
As unique as it was as an 8 string, I can't imagine using those kinds of doubled-up strings that often myself, so I probably would've had more use for a 4 string too.

I'm also 100% on board with you about active pickups. Ever since I was a teenager, I've always thought basses with active pickups sound so much better than basses with passive pickups. I've owned 3 basses with Bartolinis, one with EMGs, and 2 with passives (and the 2 with passives were by far the worst sounding - but they were also the cheapest).

Looks really good, man. Can't wait to hear how it sounds.
 

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Premium Member
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23,428 Posts
Good work!

We can has 80's thrash album now?
 

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Banned
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3,697 Posts
Great work. That's the one benefit of all this lock down, - getting all of those guitar projects you dream about done finally :lol:
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
Nice! I love EMGs on bass.
 

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Thread Killer
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2,196 Posts
Nice work mate. Like I said in the other thread, I've been playing with a guy for the last 25 years who has this exact bass factory original, I know how utterly awesome they play and sound.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice work mate. Like I said in the other thread, I've been playing with a guy for the last 25 years who has this exact bass factory original, I know how utterly awesome they play and sound.
You weren't wrong dude. Monster bass!
 
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