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Thread: modifying the vintage Starfire

  1. #1

    modifying the vintage Starfire

    It's not as bad as you think! No worries, I'm not cutting up the squeaky clean 1970 Starfire, but here is a very useful, easy modification that I wish I would have thought to try sooner
    As mentioned earlier this year, I had removed the tone-suck circuit from my 1970 SFB with favorable results; a bigger, more open tone from the Bisonic. After pulling the guts out of the old Starfire again recently to clean the pots a bit, I noticed another original resistor in the circuit, unrelated to the tone-suck, that I hypothesized could also be suppressing the signal of the pickup(?). In any case, I decided it was time to think about a replacement for the whole harness. Incidentally a trade-offer for a pickup I was selling on another forum, made a custom Kelling Sound Bass Varitone circuit materialize in my hands. It was a solderless passive harness originally intended for a P bass -- volume with treble bleed, 12-position rotary switch with various capacitors, resisors, and an inductor, and a tone knob that controls the bleed of whatever rotary setting is selected. It dropped right in and the rotary switch now lives where the tone-suck used to live. I'm super thrilled with the results and big variety of tones this has opened up in the old Starfire; including the first position of the switch which is a complete bypass of any tone capacitor. I plan to record a demo track within the next week or so and will be posting it here, but for now, here's some eye candy!







    Last edited by mellowgerman; 11-18-2017 at 02:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Looks strange but it is reversible so... Look forward to comments and clips.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    Looks strange but it is reversible so... Look forward to comments and clips.
    Yes, it does change the aesthetics a bit... First I had a more sleek, skinny black knob on the rotary switch but the chicken-head pointer knob just makes it easier to distinguish on the fly where in the available 12 mid-notch spectrum it is set.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    You are to be commended for NOT putting 12 brads in so you can tell where the rotary switch is set ;-)
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  5. #5
    Looking forward to more reports!

  6. #6
    hey mello i like it a lot actually, just the way it is. modding the suck switch circuitry and using that button/switch (or its hole) for something else is pretty well accepted. i like the dial, just by looking at it, it tells me u did something with that switch, and are likely a Guild freak. Phil and Jack would approve!

  7. #7
    You have a lot more restraint than I.


  8. #8
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    Mellow... Very nice. I guess I really don't like the switch knob itself, but I can certainly understand why that'd be a good choice, functionally. In any case, it's really interesting that you transplanted the electronics so seamlessly. Vary nice job!

    Edwin.... Hahahaha! I think *everyone* has more restraint than you. :) :)
    Quote Originally Posted by Neal
    I am going to hang onto this little F-20 and play it as a reminder that life is sometimes rough, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the damage you accrue along the way defines who you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by marcellis
    Growing old is a bitch.
    Guild 12-strings:
    1978 G-312NT (Westerly) - "Franzz",
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Non-Guild 12s:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  9. #9
    Sorry about the delay on posting the soundclip. Working overtime this last week and my girlfriend is moving in, so I've been struggling to find the time to set up for recording. Stay tuned!

    Edwin, I love your Starfire! If I won the lottery or came into a large inheritance of some sort, I'd definitely see about having Mr. Novak wind some low impedance bisonics for me and then I'd ship it all out to Alembic for some superfilters and a new bridge.... maybe in another lifetime!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by edwin View Post
    You have a lot more restraint than I.

    I never tire of looking at your bass.

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