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  • #16
    Not a bass player, but Ive been kinda wanting one for years so I could add bass tracks to my up until now bass-less recording projects. Spotted a too-good-to-be-true deal on a used ESP LTD C-304 4string. 5piece maple and walnut neck-through-body neck, maple body wings, quilted maple top, EMG HZ humbuckers, 3band EQ. Paid 360 for it. Thing roars like a jungle lion on anabolic steroids. I'll post pics soon.


    • #17


      • #18
        It's a good thing it has all those lines on it. Now you can always be sure your strings are

        Seriously though, that's a beautiful bass. You need an old fender bassman amp.


        • #19
          Those darker brown lines are actually pieces of walnut sandwiched and glued between pieces of maple. It all extends from the headstock, down through the neck, and down through the body, which is why it's called a "neck-through" design. The neck and center of the body where the pickups are mounted are essentially the same piece of wood to allow for better transfer of vibrations between the two, and thus theoretically a better overall sound than if the neck and body were 2 different pieces bolted together. They also tend to use multi-piece necks on neck-through basses in particular because multiple pieces of wood glued together is actually stronger than one single piece of wood and it resists the tension pull of bass strings better.

          Nah, I can't afford a tube bass amp at the moment. I don't think I'd want one either. Sure, they sound good, but tube-less tends to be more trouble-free (depending on the maker... again, FUCK CRATE AMPS) I played through plenty of tube-less solid state Fender amps back in the mid 90's when I was test driving things in different local guitar shops as a teen. My favorite of the 90's Fender solid state amps was the 2x10 or 2x12 (I forget) Fender Princeton Chorus, which had built-in stereo chorus and real spring reverb, way cool. It wasn't a death metal amp, but I swear, the chorus effect on those amps sounded better than any stereo chorus pedal I've ever heard. I've talked to plenty of people who bought different types of those black-panel solid state Fender amps back in the 90's, and almost all of them say they've never had one single problem out of them.

          Anyway, I went with a new Fender Rumble 100 1x12 combo. The choice was between that or one of those Ampeg 1x12 combos. The Fender Rumble sounded a lot more "classic" with how it handled the built-in overdrive. The Ampeg got a lot more distortion, but it was a little too intense for my tastes. The Ampeg only had a typical 3band EQ with low/mid/high, whereas the Fender Rumble had a 4band EQ with bass/low-mid/high-mid/high, so it's a little more shape-able. And the overdrive on it is outstanding. It's a class D amp, and somehow it kinda mimics the compression and breakup of tubes with an automatic limiter and compressor that works according to how you set the level and master volume knobs. It's genius though, because for once in my life, a tube-wannabe amp actually kinda does sound and react like real tube.

          As I was sitting there in the store fucking around with the amp, I got curious about what it might sound like with a regular guitar through it instead of a bass. I grabbed a Fender Strat off the wall, tweaked the EQ to remove most of the overbearing bass from the sound (it IS a bass amp after all), cranked the overdrive gain all the way... and I was blown the fuck away by how incredible it sounded. The overdrive on it hits the perfect sweet spot for a nice vintage blues amp crunch sound. Not too much, but not too little to where the crunch fades and sounds clean if you pick attack lighter. Unfortunately... I don't own a Fender Strat though. But it's definitely on my wish list now.


          • #20
            Back in the 90's, I used to read guitar magazines all the time. I used to notice print ads for the new reissued Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi fuzz/distortion pedals. Apparently the originals were USA-made in the late 60's and throughout the 70's and were considered highly collectible vintage pedals. The new 90's reissued Big Muff pedals were now being made in Russia by Sovtek (the tube company) as a subsidiary of USA-based Electro-Harmonix. And at the time, these new Big Muff pedals really weren't very popular at all and not many people even considered them when shopping for a fuzz pedal. Everyone wanted one of those circular Dunlop fuzz face pedals. I was more into death metal at the time, so I was after more of a tight white-hot solid state sounding distortion and I really didn't give a shit about fuzz pedals either way.

            In probably '96, I stopped in at my favorite local guitar shop to pick up some strings and browse around a bit. I saw one of those black Russian-made Big Muff pedals sitting next to a slightly larger green Big Muff pedal. I said what the hell and decided to plug it up and give it a whirl. I forget what guitar I was using, but I remember I was playing it through an old 90's Laney tube head into a 4x12 cab. From the first note I was totally in love with the pedal. On lower sustain/distortion settings, it sounded like pure 70's sweetness. When you cranked the knob past half-way, it got even filthier. It sounded terrific playing old Black Sabbath riffs with it. I wanted to buy it right then and there, but they were asking about 80 bucks for it, and I only had enough money for a few packs of strings. Every time after that whenever I'd swing through, if I was testing pedals, I'd always spend about 5 minutes playing through the Big Muff again before trying out other stuff.

            I kept reading guitar mags, and read about how many of my favorite death metal bands were all using the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal, so when I had saved up enough money to finally get myself a distortion pedal, I decided it would be a better idea to try to sound just like all those idiots and get a Boss Metal Zone instead of the Big Muff. I rationalized that it was more important to sound exactly like Cannibal Corpse, and that later I would save up more money and then get a used Big Muff for probably less than a new one. As the years rolled on, I completely disregarded pedals and focused on building a very expensive rackmount rig.

            Two weekends ago as I was shopping for that ESP bass, I browsed through a used music shop and spotted two of the newer post-2000's USA-made Big Muff pedals. (Apparently around 2000 they began moving production from Russia back to the US) Both were used and priced at 56 bucks. I had already spent a lot of money on the new bass, so I didn't grab one of them.

            Thursday of last week, I thought, "Man, I'd really like to finally add one of those Big Muff's to my collection finally, but I dunno if I should look for an older Russian-made one or a newer US-made one." So I looked around on youtube to find a video comparing the two side by side, and the Russian ones definitely sounded better. Both have pretty identical overall fuzz/distortion "texture", but the newer US versions have a distinct scooped out midrange, whereas the Russian ones seem to have a flatter natural EQ to them with maybe a very very slight uphill boost to the midrange, which I liked better. Also, the tone knobs on the two versions seem to work very differently. On the new US versions, it acts like you'd expect it to. With the tone all the way down, it muffles and closes up the tone. With the tone all the way, it brightens and opens up the tone adding clarity to the high frequencies. Basically, it does the same thing that a presence knob does on a poweramp or a tone knob on a guitar does. The Russian ones do that... and more. In addition to muffling and opening up the tone, it also kinda acts like a 2-band active EQ. With the knob all the way down, it significantly boosts the bass frequency volume and cuts the treble frequency volume. With the knob all the way up, it lowers the bass volume and boosts the treble volume. It's really weird how they managed to make one single knob do two things at once. So unique, because I've never heard of any other pedal working like that.

            So I began looking around online for prices on the old Russian Big Muff's. Since I saw the used US one's in a store priced at 56 bucks, I figured an older Russian one would probably go for right around that or even less.

            OH HELL NO. No no no no. Apparently in the years while I wasn't paying attention, people have finally caught on to how terrific and unique those old Russian Big Muff's sound, and they've become highly collectible vintage pedals. The blue and gray "Civil War" Big Muff's go for aound 1000 bucks! The big honking green Russian Big Muff's made from 1994-1999 go for anywhere from 300 bucks on up to 400+ now. The black Russian Big Muff's with smaller thinner housing go for anywhere from 100 on up to 200+. My jaw hit the fucking floor. I could've had one of those green ones if I would've bought it instead of the Metal Zone back in the 90's, and it would be worth 4x or more what I would've paid for it!

            Anyway, I spent all day Friday calling around to every music shop within 100 miles trying to find someone with a Russian Big Muff for sale. I was finally able to find ONE up for sale at Sam Ash in Atlanta. It was missing the rubber feet and the battery door on the back, and the previous owner had drilled out a hole in the front side panel to route a 9v battery to AC adapter through it (1st pic, bottom left of front side panel). They had it listed for 100 bucks, but I was able to talk it down to 90.

            Sooooo happy to finally have one of these in my arsenal after all these years. I was thinking I would've rather had one of the older big fat green "bubble font" Big Muff's, but the black and green Big Muff's are pretty identical in circuits. As it turns out, the one I got is one of the last ones they ever made in Russia, and by that time, they began adding true bypass switches to them, whereas all the previous ones did NOT have true bypass and would deaden the guitar signal through them when the unit was switched off. A lot of people with the older ones end up modding the switches in them to make them true bypass, so it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about doing that now.

            I DO NOT plan on ever using this thing with a 9v to wallwart adapter like the previous owner. So I need to figure out how to secure the battery inside the hole with the door+battery holder missing. The easy solution would be to get a pack of battery holder clips at Radio Shack and maybe use some JB Weld to secure it to the top of the housing. But I'd prefer not to alter the unit itself further like that just in case one day this one becomes a 400 dollar collectible like it's earlier green brothers and sisters. So I guess I'm gonna try to somehow custom fab a new door from some sheet metal and then JB Weld a battery holder to the door. Other than that, it needs new rubber feet too, which won't be a problem at all, I can find those at a hardware store all day everyday.


            • #21
              Does anybody still read this stuff? I drop in now and then, rarely do I log in though.

              Made some pretty significant additions and changes to my gear.

              I used to play though a rackmount amp consisting of a 1990's Marshall JMP-1 tube preamp, a Digitech GSP2101 preamp & multi-FX processor, and a Peavey Classic Series 120/120 dual mono tube poweramp loaded with 6L6GC tubes, all into a Carvin Steve Vai Legacy series 4x12 slant cab loaded with 4 Celestion 60w Vintage 30's.

              At some point before the end of 2018 I decided that I didn't like that setup anymore and I wanted to go to a traditional head and cab amp setup with pedals instead of mostly rack effects. So I think it was about June of last year that I sold off my Marshall and Peavey units for about 250 each and put that with the cash I'd been saving towards a brand new Orange Rockerverb 100 mk3 head in black tolex.

              I thought my old amp sounded like a solid state preamp that was attempting to sound like an all-tube amplifier, and that's kinda an accurate description for it I guess, but... after getting rid of it, I kinda wish I could've found a way to keep it. You often don't fully appreciate something until it's gone. It was actually VERY pedal friendly, whereas my new Orange head is an old school tube amp, and it's not entirely pedal friendly. Because your input gain is so important to how the preamp section drives to achieve distortion, pedals like a univibe can effect the line gain and as the effect moves, the amount of overdrive fluctuates with the slight differences in input signal strength.

              But my new amp still KILLS. It's incredible sounding. Wasn't cheap, cost me about 2300 with tax, but it definitely sounds like an amp that you paid considerable money for. In another post I said Marshall JCM900's were my favorite amps. Nah, this sumbitch is my new #1.

              Also have a whole slew of new pedals. The black russian Big Muff fuzz, I hardly touch anymore. A good while back I bought one of the new EHX op-amp Big Muff reissues... and that I barely touch anymore either. Just after Xmas this year, I found the one pedal I've been trying for YEARS to find, a mid-90's EHX/Sovtek green russian bubble font Big Muff fuzz. It's a really early version of the bubble font Big Muff, one with several circuit components common to the earlier tall font Big Muffs. It actually sounds more like a tall font Big Muff than a common bubble font Big Muff, which is pretty cool because those are widely considered to be the best sounding ones. It sounds great. Only paid 250 for it, and usually they go for about 350 or 400.

              A little before I bought my Orange head, I bought a new wah pedal to replace my old 1990's Vox v847 US made wah which was worn completely the fuck out. I got a Real McCoy RMC-4 picture wah. Best sounding wah I've ever heard, supposedly stupid-close in specs to the old Italian made Thomas Organ Clyde McCoy picture wahs from the late 60's like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton made famous back then.

              I also managed to find an older model Fulltone MDV1 Deja-Vibe unit. It's supposedly a faithful recreation of the old photocell driven univibe units from the late 60s like Hendrix and Robin Trower used a lot. I LOVE IT. I use this thing TONS now, probably my favorite single pedal.

              Dunno if I posted about it before, but a few years back I got an Ibanez TS9DX Turbo Tubescreamer. I don't use it very much these days with the new Orange amp. But it's a somewhat useful tool for sculpting subtle overdrive tones through a clean amp setting or further blasting some gain on a dirty setting. But my amp sounds so great on it is own that I really don't need to use this pedal for anything like that anymore.

              Hmm, what else. Back in October I bought an EHX Pitchfork pitch shifter pedal. It's... not my favorite thing. For a pitch shifter, it handles chords pretty good, but the tracking to it produced a bit of a delay to the shifted part of the effect, so it doesn't sound as tight and focused as I hoped it would. Probably gonna get an EHX MicroPOG to replace it with before too long, I think one of those will do what I'm trying to do a little better. I'm trying to reproduce the octave sound that Joe Satriani had on his song "Ice 9". It also has the ability to do semi-tones of the dry pitch which allows it to do a detune effect, which is very similar sounding to a chorus effect. So perhaps I'll keep it permanently, I dunno.

              And at Xmas this year I got 3 new pedals.

              Found a used EHX Canyon delay for 100 bucks. It's a pretty handy and versatile compact delay with several different styles like digital, analog, reverse, shimmer, a few others that I forget at the moment.

              Also bought myself a Fulltone Octafuzz. Sounds like an old Octavia octave fuzz like Hendrix used on Purple Haze. Also has a switch to turn off the octave overtone and use it as a straight fuzz pedal, which is great too, because I honestly think the regular fuzz sound is the best part about the pedal.

              Santa Claus brought me a kick-ass deluxe delay pedal I'd been wanting for a while. Way Huge Supa-P-U-S-S (stupid damn word filter, FUCK FUCK FUCK, that's not censored, go figure) analog delay. It's an analog circuit delay with built-in tap tempo button, modulation controls for the delay trails to make it sound like an old tape echo unit, and also has gain and tone controls to further shape color and grittiness of the delay trails. It's kinda complicated with all the knobs and functions, I'm still getting used to it.

              Last edited by Focalor; 02-10-2020, 10:24 AM.