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Thread: b4ce- let's discuss them!

  1. #1

    b4ce- let's discuss them!

    so i trotted my trusty old b4ce out of storage, and for the first time ever, decided to wonder about it, do some research and all that. so yes.

    what is it?
    any updated/current thoughts?
    any opinions on the electronics? do they need replacing? is there a modern unit that works better?
    and tell me about neck resets. my action is a little high- how do i know if i need one?
    what kind of strings work best with it? (for plugged in use, mainly)

    i've had it for more than a decade now. it doesn't get much use because i'm not really a bass player, so it only gets pulled out for recording and odd projects and the like. but i don't think i've tuned it once in all that time, and i certainly haven't changed the strings (as is my preference with basses). but it sounds great, its a lot of fun to play and it certainly gets some attention. am i wrong in thinking the sound is sort of unique? maybe kind of electric-y, but not in a bad way? not a million miles away from a hofner. but maybe its just my set up and the need for better strings.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    I gave my black B4CE to my sister because I needed a pure acoustic that had some volume. After I got the B50, the B4CE just couldn't compete.

    I used phosphor bronze strings on it. I found that, as far as tone goes, it was the most versatile electric bass in my stable. I could get a lot of variety out of the Fishman. I never saw any need to reconsider the electronics and neither has my sister.

    Several other players had told me it needed a neck reset. With fear and trembling I took it to a local luthier who said it did not need a reset and resolved the intonation problems by crafting a new saddle. If I'm buying an instrument I'd be concerned about needing a reset but if I'm just playing I would wait for intonation and/or action problems before I asked the question. There are several good sets of instructions to see whether a reset might be needed out there. Maybe someone else will repost them for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    If I'm buying an instrument I'd be concerned about needing a reset but if I'm just playing I would wait for intonation and/or action problems before I asked the question. There are several good sets of instructions to see whether a reset might be needed out there. Maybe someone else will repost them for me.
    OK I'll help.
    Although I've never owned a B4ce- it's on my bucket list of pieces to get one day to satisfy my inner wanna-be bass player.
    This is aimed a checking an acoustic guitar's neck angel, I suspect it would apply just as well to a B4ce:
    http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musi...neckangle.html
    Specifically I'm citing the "straightedge test".
    I would assume the alignment principle between the plane of the neck and the height of the bridge would be the same, since that plane is used as the basis for selecting an appropriate saddle height.
    And Guilds of the '90's were typically shipped with a "high action" since, if nothing else, it's a whole lot easier to lower than raise it to a given owner's tastes.
    Unfortunately I've never seen a spec for "action height" on a Guild a/e bass.
    I'd assume it'd be a tad taller than the 6/64" on bass E spec'd for all 6-string flat-tops in '97, but that's "based" on my assumption that an a/e bass strings will be more prone to buzzing and so need more fret clearance than typical 6-strings.
    I could be dead wrong about that, in which case you'd simply have a lower spec for action height on basses.
    Note also that alignment check is done with truss rod adjusted for flat and strings at tension.
    Relief can be dialed back in after the check.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
    #2: '01 Westerly F65ce "Blondie"
    #3: '03 Corona D40e Richie Havens "Richie"
    All bought new!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    I gave my black B4CE to my sister because I needed a pure acoustic that had some volume. After I got the B50, the B4CE just couldn't compete.

    I used phosphor bronze strings on it. I found that, as far as tone goes, it was the most versatile electric bass in my stable. I could get a lot of variety out of the Fishman. I never saw any need to reconsider the electronics and neither has my sister.

    Several other players had told me it needed a neck reset. With fear and trembling I took it to a local luthier who said it did not need a reset and resolved the intonation problems by crafting a new saddle. If I'm buying an instrument I'd be concerned about needing a reset but if I'm just playing I would wait for intonation and/or action problems before I asked the question. There are several good sets of instructions to see whether a reset might be needed out there. Maybe someone else will repost them for me.
    how does the b4ce compare to a real big boy bass? Where does the b4ce fall on the bass sound spectrum (if such a thing exists). I'm just trying to contextualize it in my mind, so I understand it better. I'm guessing there isn't a whole lot out there like it.

    I do get some crazy sounds out of it plugged into my stuff, but I don't really use the on board eq much. It's either flat or parked on one setting. I don't hate what it does but just figure that the was something new and better out there. Even though it's a piezo, it sounds fairly electric to me a lot of the time.

    As for the neck and the action, I'm not that skilled with the wrench and stuff and mine has had a serious neck repair so is leave it to a tech. The action is kinda high now, which I guess helps with the acoustic sound but makes it a little tiring to play. Id like it lower, since it is mostly an electric instrument, sort of.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Not sure I understand the question, but when has that ever stopped me?

    Unplugged with phosphor bronze strings the B4CE and B50 are very similar. They both occupy the same space in the mix. They both sound like a guitar with phosphor bronzes only lower in pitch (duh!). If you "dig in" the B50 has more volume and a touch more bass. My only beef with the B4 was overall volume. When I played acoustically in a living room, next to a single D25 I could not hear myself and neither could the people who were more than 5 feet away. It's not that way with the B50 :-)

    I tend to be a "set and forget" player and gravitate towards full on or full off or "flat". The amplified B4CE sounded enough like the acoustic B4CE that I did not worry about it. I recall playing with the EQ and getting a close approximation to my '67 Starfire (when it had dead rounds on it). I dialed back the treble to nothing, boosted the mids and backed of on the bass so it wasn't boomy. I seem to recall full bass and nothing else was an interesting sound unlike anything else in my stable, although not necessarily useful to me.

    I can't really compare the B4CE to any non-Guilds because I haven't played any of them enough to have an informed opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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.

  6. #6
    Frono, all this B50 talk makes me REALLLLY want that burst B30 I posted up in the spotted-for-sale-online section. Must resist. Must resist. Must resist...
    1970 Starfire Bass
    1968 Thunderbass
    1970 D-40

  7. #7
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellowgerman View Post
    Frono, all this B50 talk makes me REALLLLY want that burst B30 I posted up in the spotted-for-sale-online section. Must resist. Must resist. Must resist...
    I'll make it simple.

    How often are you going to play with no amp, no electricity and want to be heard? If the answer is a lot then you know what is on the top of your list. Otherwise the ergonomics will lead you to play it less and less..
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    Not sure I understand the question, but when has that ever stopped me?

    Unplugged with phosphor bronze strings the B4CE and B50 are very similar. They both occupy the same space in the mix. They both sound like a guitar with phosphor bronzes only lower in pitch (duh!). If you "dig in" the B50 has more volume and a touch more bass. My only beef with the B4 was overall volume. When I played acoustically in a living room, next to a single D25 I could not hear myself and neither could the people who were more than 5 feet away. It's not that way with the B50 :-)

    I tend to be a "set and forget" player and gravitate towards full on or full off or "flat". The amplified B4CE sounded enough like the acoustic B4CE that I did not worry about it. I recall playing with the EQ and getting a close approximation to my '67 Starfire (when it had dead rounds on it). I dialed back the treble to nothing, boosted the mids and backed of on the bass so it wasn't boomy. I seem to recall full bass and nothing else was an interesting sound unlike anything else in my stable, although not necessarily useful to me.

    I can't really compare the B4CE to any non-Guilds because I haven't played any of them enough to have an informed opinion.
    well that sounds alright. i don't really play it unplugged with others so the lack of acoustic volume isn't an issue for me. it'll always be plugged in. and the acoustic sound isn't much like a stand up bass sound either, which is ok, too. i'm just trying to get a better sense of what i have and where it fits in the bass spectrum.

    not sure how normal or not normal the thing is but i got a fair it of wackiness from it plugged into various distortions and overdriven preamps. i guess i'd like to cheat it more toward an acoustic/upright sound simply because i have a solid electric bass and i play more acoustic stuff lately. i'll play with it over the holidays and try to learn more about it. i'm content to let it be itself that is useful enough to me. and if this keeps me from buying a starfire or hofner, than so much the better.

  9. #9
    If you're looking for more of an upright sound, I would recommend getting a set of nylon tapewound strings to put on it and cut the treble and mids on the EQ a bit when plugged in. I personally never liked phosphor bronze acoustic strings in any conext because of the harsh brightness they can have when they are new or whenever they are amplified with a piezo pickup really. It's just not my cup of tea, though admittedly phosphor bronze strings are inherently louder. Still if you're saying volume is not a big concern to you, some tapewounds will definitely take you in the right direction. I just tried the D'addario tapewounds for the first time on my Gretsch bass (gauges 50-105) and like them quite a bit
    1970 Starfire Bass
    1968 Thunderbass
    1970 D-40

  10. #10
    Tapes are flatter sounding flats, right? I should look into that. Still a little skittish because it means a trip to the tech ( it's due) and strings are kinda expensive. And I do like the sounds I'm already getting; there's a lot to be had, but they are more in the " electric" realm.

    But it would be nice to know just how far I can stretch this thing in either direction. I'm just super loafy when it comes to string changes so I'll probably just end up leaving whatever I put on there.

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