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bearhart74

how to ruin a decent instrument

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I wouldn't want to drill the neck like that, myself; four holes across the top of the neck, positioned just right for a crack to propagate, and with the four original strings putting tension on the area.  Trouble waiting to happen.

Edited by alyctes
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On 20/05/2020 at 12:57, alyctes said:

I wouldn't want to drill the neck like that, myself; four holes across the top of the neck, positioned just right for a crack to propagate, and with the four original strings putting tension on the area.  Trouble waiting to happen.

Doesn't look like the mods are recent so presumably it's stable. Odd decision though, the rest of the work looks very competently done. You'd think some sort of individual ball-end retainer adjacent to the tuners would seem more sensible.

On the whole I think it's an interesting, and well executed mod.

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4 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Doesn't look like the mods are recent so presumably it's stable. Odd decision though, the rest of the work looks very competently done. You'd think some sort of individual ball-end retainer adjacent to the tuners would seem more sensible.

On the whole I think it's an interesting, and well executed mod.

Presumably it is stable.  But the modder didn't know that at the time ;)

Edited by alyctes

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58 minutes ago, pete.young said:

That bridge looks suspiciously like the one on my Hondo Alien, except for the double saddles.

It looks just like the Schaller bridge I recently purchased to convert a Thunderbird into an 8 string. I'll be changing the neck though.

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Darn - there's a Rickenbacker doubleneck on ebay for $20k, so I don't think I'll have any loose change left over for this one.

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Regarding the bridge, around the time the bass was made, Gibson was using a bridge that appeared to be a Gibson version of a Schaller 3D. It functions exactly the same as a 3D, but has a slightly larger footprint. If you check out photos of Gibson Victory basses from this period, you can see the bridge on any of those. I'm not sure of the actual arrangement Gibson had with Schaller at the time, but the bridges are obviously connected, and I think they were also using their machineheads.

Getting back to the Explorer, if you look closely at the closeup photo of the bridge, you can see a faint outline that shows the slightly larger footprint of the original bridge. So the new bridge they have on there would've been a direct swap for the original, with regard to screw placement.

Personally, I think it's a great mod they've done, but like a few others have mentioned, I find the positioning of the strong retainers really odd. If you think of Gibsons, and the damage they would be most associated with, one that would spring to mind is a snapped headstock. So whoever did this either wasn't familiar with Gibson, or was supremely confident in their abilities to get it right.

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6 hours ago, bassaussie said:

Regarding the bridge, around the time the bass was made, Gibson was using a bridge that appeared to be a Gibson version of a Schaller 3D. It functions exactly the same as a 3D, but has a slightly larger footprint. If you check out photos of Gibson Victory basses from this period, you can see the bridge on any of those. I'm not sure of the actual arrangement Gibson had with Schaller at the time, but the bridges are obviously connected, and I think they were also using their machineheads.

Getting back to the Explorer, if you look closely at the closeup photo of the bridge, you can see a faint outline that shows the slightly larger footprint of the original bridge. So the new bridge they have on there would've been a direct swap for the original, with regard to screw placement.

Personally, I think it's a great mod they've done, but like a few others have mentioned, I find the positioning of the strong retainers really odd. If you think of Gibsons, and the damage they would be most associated with, one that would spring to mind is a snapped headstock. So whoever did this either wasn't familiar with Gibson, or was supremely confident in their abilities to get it right.

Yes, Gibson used Schaller made hardware (with Gibson logos) on the Explorer, although the bridge was a chunkier affair than the 3D.  Pickups were the same excellent single coil units as used on the Grabber.

The necks were maple so much less prone to snapping than the earlier mahogany-necked basses and guitars that gave Gibson their deserved "fragile headstock" reputation, but I'm with alyctes on this - it's a very poorly thought out mod.

I used to have a Ferrari red '85 Explorer bass, one of the few basses I really regret moving on.....:|

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2 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

Yes, Gibson used Schaller made hardware (with Gibson logos) on the Explorer, although the bridge was a chunkier affair than the 3D.  Pickups were the same excellent single coil units as used on the Grabber.

The necks were maple so much less prone to snapping than the earlier mahogany-necked basses and guitars that gave Gibson their deserved "fragile headstock" reputation, but I'm with alyctes on this - it's a very poorly thought out mod.

I used to have a Ferrari red '85 Explorer bass, one of the few basses I really regret moving on.....:|

I didn't know that about the pickups being the same as a Grabber. I'm not hugely into Gibson basses, but I do like Grabbers, they're sensational instruments.

Also interesting what you said about the neck joint - again, something new to me. I had an Anniversary Thunderbird for a while, from 1976 - absolutely mint condition, so beautiful, and with a great tone. But I ended up selling it as I was always terrified of it falling over and have the headstock snap off.

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24 minutes ago, bassaussie said:

I didn't know that about the pickups being the same as a Grabber. I'm not hugely into Gibson basses, but I do like Grabbers, they're sensational instruments.

Also interesting what you said about the neck joint - again, something new to me. I had an Anniversary Thunderbird for a while, from 1976 - absolutely mint condition, so beautiful, and with a great tone. But I ended up selling it as I was always terrified of it falling over and have the headstock snap off.

I think Gibson introduced the routine use of volutes on the headstock/ neck join from about 1973 onwards in a deliberate effort to strengthen that area (most of their guitars & basses switched to use of maple for necks at the same time), but have to say I'm not sure about the Thunderbird range, which of course being neck-thru design stayed with laminated mahogany necks.  They did reduce headstock size though, to reduce risk of damage.

Those bicentennial 'birds are lovely and getting rare now; you should have kept yours!   I have a 1965 Thunderbird IV, almost inevitably with the neck repair, and despite its flaws - to me it has just about the perfect tone :i-m_so_happy:

 

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4 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

Those bicentennial 'birds are lovely and getting rare now; you should have kept yours!   I have a 1965 Thunderbird IV, almost inevitably with the neck repair, and despite its flaws - to me it has just about the perfect tone :i-m_so_happy:

 

Yeah, it was a real battle for me. I wanted to keep it because it was lovely, but I was always worried about the neck. Fortunately it's now owned by a very good friend, so I can go visit when I need to! :D

The tone of the bass was amazing - every time I played it, it was everything I wanted from a bass. I can imagine a 65 version would be incredible. Funny thing - I've always heard that when older Gibsons (guitars and basses) suffer the inevitable break, they usually end up being a more stable instrument provided the fix is done correctly. I've had quite a few people say that to me, although whether it's correct or not I don't know.

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On 22/05/2020 at 06:11, bassaussie said:

Regarding the bridge, around the time the bass was made, Gibson was using a bridge that appeared to be a Gibson version of a Schaller 3D. It functions exactly the same as a 3D, but has a slightly larger footprint. If you check out photos of Gibson Victory basses from this period, you can see the bridge on any of those. I'm not sure of the actual arrangement Gibson had with Schaller at the time, but the bridges are obviously connected, and I think they were also using their machineheads.

Indeed they were - I've had a NOS set of l/h Gibson-branded Schaller M4S tuners in my spares box for years, waiting for the right l/h neck to turn up so I can do a reverse headstock project. Still waiting!

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