Author Topic: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)  (Read 1994 times)

daan

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Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« on: December 17, 2016, 10:53:19 AM »
So my Dad has been retired for a couple years (good for him, 34 years in the Army, he deserves some time off!) Anyway lately his thing has been going to yard/garage/barn sales. He called me the other day to tell me he found a guitar, did I want it? Sure, why not? How much? "$65, but maybe I can get them down a little." So even if it's total trash, I can leave it out so my kids don't wreck my "good" stuff (ha, my $100 guitars aren't valuable to anyone but me) I kind of forgot about it, Kid #4 has been kicking our butts, not much time for playing, let alone building stuff. So I come home from work last night to this:

It's an "Austin" brand P copy, with embroidered gig bag, with a tuner/metronome, a bunch of tools (Allen keys, etc) a bass instruction book with extra sheet music and a couple CD's, and an amp! Jeez... Dad says he paid $50 for it all, the seller says "It doesn't work". Most of the screws are missing from the pick guard, but the wiring seems to be all there underneath. The bass itself seems to be a thin-ish body, the neck is HUGE, but feels really nice (the shape and either it was sanded down, or just has a really nice feeling matte finish), and was still (mostly) in tune despite being in the back of my Dad's truck for the last week, and then in my garage most of yesterday...

So if the little one gives me enough time, I bet I could get this to work...
If it was good enough for Danny Bonaduce, it ought to be good enough for fake bass players everywhere!

Dave W

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 02:26:44 PM »
I'll bet you can.

Austin is a branch of St. Louis Music, which was bought by LOUD (owners of Mackie) about 10 years ago. I've seen the basses in stores for about $200 new and maybe $120 used. Never played one, but I would guess they're about the equivalent of a $200 Squier. If the neck's good and the truss rod works, it's a good deal. At that price, you can spend a little to get the electronics working and not feel bad about it.

daan

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 08:07:21 AM »
I do think it's kind of funny that when I thought of what my "bass collection" would be, a bunch of black Fender copies wasn't at all what I imagined... And the fact that I got this entire setup for about a tank of gas' worth of $ is pretty cool.
I had 6 minutes to futz with it last night, I still can't get sound out of it, but it's still in tune, despite the massive temp. swings it's been subjected to. (It's -21f where I live right now)
So next Q, now that I have TWO bass amps (never thought that would happen, either  :) ) can I somehow hook both the amps up to the bass, or maybe hook the one amp up to the other one, to change the sound? Or, ha ha, somehow trade my entire pile '0' plywood for a NR bird?  :mrgreen:
If it was good enough for Danny Bonaduce, it ought to be good enough for fake bass players everywhere!

Dave W

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 10:34:00 PM »
You're talking about two inexpensive combo amps, right? It might be possible to connect the amps, depending on what jacks there are on each amp, but you aren't likely to accomplish much other than creating nasty ground loop buzz. OTOH you can use a signal splitter to run the bass to both amps.

amptech

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 11:25:05 PM »
What Dave said, bevare of ground loops. Phase problems too might trouble you, might be difficult to balance them without reversing one of the speakers. A tip would be to keep the speakers in line; on top or next to each other - not different places in the room. But it´s definitely possible, I often play a clean musicman rig paired with a dirtier marshall super bass 4x12, works fine.

Gerald Weber got a whole chapter about the topic in the book ´tube amp talk for the guitarist and tech´.

Psycho Bass Guy

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2016, 12:05:09 AM »
Gerald Weber got a whole chapter about the topic in the book ´tube amp talk for the guitarist and tech´.

...just ignore what he says about tube bass amps, specifically vintage SVT's. He's full of $hit.

amptech

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 08:09:37 AM »
...just ignore what he says about tube bass amps, specifically vintage SVT's. He's full of $hit.

I would not say that he is full of £hit, maybe more like 50/50. He is definitely no Frederick Terman,  but I do like to read books by contemporary techs. Ok, so Weber gets somewhat hung up on a Texas tone mission; you'd think there is only one correct guitar tone and for thet you need three tube amps.  But many of them tech-authors specialize 'modding' or having in-depth knowledge on amps they love, and see things from a different perspective. Sometimes tech experience can add to the picture, though I'm more fond of the classic tube amp books from the 40's up to the 50's. I like Randall Aiken, amongst other 'young' techs. Aspen P. on the other hand :sad: All in all I try to avoid Google. Hey, and I read you too PBG, read through most things you've said about Mesa/Boogie :)

Regarding Weber's Ampeg papers, maybe he has more to offer for the guitarist than the tech. He gives us a peep throgh the ampeg factory door, nothing wrong about that. What exactly 'bout his SVT work is it that you don't like? The way he describes the biasing process?

slinkp

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 10:46:56 AM »
No harm in trying the two-amp setup and just see what happens! I've sometimes found when playing borrowed rigs that two cheap amps sound better than one, maybe due to just moving a bit more air.  If it doesn't sound good, no harm done.

Psycho Bass Guy

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 10:53:10 AM »
What exactly 'bout his SVT work is it that you don't like? The way he describes the biasing process?

He says to bias an SVT like one of "his" guitar amps and recommends installing huge screen grid resistors to limit screen current, no big deal if you like burning up output tubes in months while killing all your headroom and power, but the worst sin is his assertion that an old SVT with the switching jack "can't make full power" unless you put a dummy plug into the main jack and run a 4 ohm load off the extension speaker output from the 2 ohm tap tripped by the dummy jack. That halves the plate voltage safety factor and makes the amp unstable at idle, not to mention exponentially raises the possibility for catastrophic destruction should anything go wrong. That's OT coupled output stages 101 and he has it exactly wrong.  Following his advice could take a healthy or borderline SVT and destroy it completely.

Besides, I've heard plenty of Kendrick amps and they all sounded very much like contemporary mass produced PCB and and IC infested Fenders. Leo's tweed Fenders, his "shtick," all came straight out of the RCA Receiving Tube manual, yet he acts like he's discovered some kind of mysterious secret that only he fully understands.  The BEST book by far about amps is the long out-of-print Electric Guitar Amplifier Handbook by Jack Darr; it's concise, technically accurate and while not exactly layman-speak, easy to follow.

Edit: found a link a reprint on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Electric-Guitar-Amplifier-Handbook-Jack/dp/1882580486

(and I fixed some typos in my original post because I'm a bit OCD)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 03:32:05 AM by Psycho Bass Guy »

amptech

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2016, 12:11:22 PM »
but the worst sin is his assertion that an old SVT with the switching jack "can't make full power" unless you put a dummy plug into the main jack and run a 4 ohm load off extension speaker output from the 2 ohm tap tripped by the dummy jack.

I was rather puzzled by by this too.

The BEST book by far about amps is the long out-of-print Electric Guitar Amplifier Handbook by Jack Darr; it's concise, technically accurate and while not exactly layman-speak, easy to follow.

Thanks, I´ll have to check it out!

EDIT: By the way, PGB - from one thing to another.. Did  you ask about Winged ´C´EL509 II tubes a couple of years ago? I might be able to get hold of some, just PM me if yo´re still after them!

Sorry for the detour, daan :)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 12:20:38 PM by amptech »

Dave W

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2016, 02:45:11 PM »
Gerald Weber, is he still around? Sure got tired of all the free publicity he got in Vintage Guitar magazine back in the 90s. I figured he was all hat, no cattle.

Psycho Bass Guy

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2016, 03:33:08 AM »
By the way, PGB - from one thing to another.. Did  you ask about Winged ´C´EL509 II tubes a couple of years ago? I might be able to get hold of some, just PM me if yo´re still after them!

Not for awhile, maybe never.

FrankieTbird

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2016, 06:39:46 AM »
Gerald Weber, is he still around? Sure got tired of all the free publicity he got in Vintage Guitar magazine back in the 90s. I figured he was all hat, no cattle.

He is still around, somewhere in the Fort Hood, TX area.  A friend of mine had some "work" done on his amp a few years back, so he still gets occasional e-mails from GW.  Apparently, he's on his marketing list.  He usually forwards the messages to me as they're good for a few laughs.


daan

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2016, 03:32:51 PM »
So I snuck away from all the festivities yesterday, to futz with the Austin. I got the guard off of it, I don't know why I'm still kinda weirded out that nothing is attatched to the guard...

But anyway, it APPEARS to be made of wood. I suppose there could be plywood under all the buffing compound in there, but I'm not worried about that

So 30 seconds after getting into it, I realized I wasn't getting any sound, because the ground wire was broken off the back of the pot...\
If it was good enough for Danny Bonaduce, it ought to be good enough for fake bass players everywhere!

Pilgrim

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Re: Accidental NBD ("Austin" Pbass, maybe project)
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2016, 08:57:55 PM »
Typical problem. You just made the deal better!
Good sloppy playing is an art in itself. (Uwe)