my latest labor of bass love

mellowgerman

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An Epiphone Rivoli II! Not a Guild and not quite vintage, but very nice bass none the less, made by the wonderful folks at the Peerless factory in Korea back in 1999. I figured Rivolis are in the Starfire arena and they have come up a few times in the past here in the bass section, so I figured I'd make a post. I was lucky enough to spot this one at a very nice price on another forum's classifieds, so I pounced, always having wanted to try one. Even though it's not that old, this one was clearly a road warrior, showing quite a bit of wear (dings, scratches, and even a soundly repaired neck crack). The electronics needed a good cleaning and the "baritone" switch was shot. I had an extra 3-way mini toggle switch on hand, so I had some fun trying out a bunch of different capacitors and pairing them with the stock inductor. One high value cap made for a neat warm wooly/fuzzy tone. The other one I picked gets a nice alternate mid-notch tone. I also decided to move the controls around so they were in a tighter grouping, making it more aesthetically pleasing to me. The stock control arrangement is a little clumsy looking and counter-intuitive in my opinion. Finally I removed the pickguard and added a Babicz bridge, replacing the awful stock "3-point" bridge. Really love this bass and it's actually super comfy strung up with nicely worn-in TI flatwounds (not usually my cup of tea). It has a 1 5/8" nut and I wouldn't describe the neck as thin or chunky... nicely in the middle.
Here's the first recording of it. Built upon a cool improvised guitar jam that a college buddy of mine sent me recently, which seemed like a great opportunity to noodle with the new Rivoli a little bit. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by how the pickup wasn't just a muddy mess, as these mudbuckers are commonly supposed to be. Definitely woofy, but still has a nice articulate quality to it and makes a nice contrast to my Starfire. On the recording I switch back and forth on the mini-toggle between the fuzzy cap and the bypass setting, though mostly on the bypass. The bridge pickup does not come into play this time around.

https://soundcloud.com/mellowgerman/first-rivoli-recording

 
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mellowgerman

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EDIT: made it public again, so the demo link should work fine

I apologize if the demo link isn't working. I made the mistake of changing it to "private" (thinking that since it was my buddy's new original track, I shouldn't just be distributing it to everyone and anyone, even though he probably wouldn't care) -- said people with the link could still listen but apparently that is not the case. Won't let me change it on my phone, so I will have to change it this afternoon when I get home. Sorry for the tease, stay tuned!
 
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hieronymous

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Finally gave a listen - sounds nice! I've been going for a similar sound lately myself. I don't think the pickups in these are anything like the mudbuckers of old - not sure about the Epiphones but it might be a TB+ pickup inside? I am not up on my Gibson lore these days.

I have also had trouble with people being able to listen to Soundcloud clips that were on public setting - definitely didn't seem like it was allowing people with the link to listen so I just gave up.
 

mellowgerman

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Finally gave a listen - sounds nice! I've been going for a similar sound lately myself. I don't think the pickups in these are anything like the mudbuckers of old - not sure about the Epiphones but it might be a TB+ pickup inside? I am not up on my Gibson lore these days.

I have also had trouble with people being able to listen to Soundcloud clips that were on public setting - definitely didn't seem like it was allowing people with the link to listen so I just gave up.
I've owned a few Epiphone EB-0 basses and one EB-3. Of course, given my incurable curiosity, I either modded or at least looked under the hood of each of them. Pretty sure they were all manufactured between 2000-2010. The EB-3 may have been made in Korea but the EB-0's were all made in China. In any case, they all had the same cheap-o mudbucker in them, which didn't sound very good, in a cavity that was just a hair to small to host a Bisonic (though just a tiny bit of elbow grease was all it took to make it fit).

This Rivoli is a whole different animal. The cavity is larger and the pickup is really top notch, made more or less to vintage spec as far as I can see, with the classic construction of sideways coils on either side of the screw pole pieces and bar magnets on the outsides. I should have taken a photo when I had it taken apart, but it's like day and night to the pickups in the more recent EB basses I've had under the knife. Likewise with the overall craftsmanship, which is on par with the two Jack Casady signature basses I've owned. The EB's I've had were all fun mod-platforms, but they definitely needed a lot of work to get them playable, but even then the fit, finish, and hardware all still felt pretty cheap. I've been curious to try the limited edition short-scale EB-3 basses they made for a few years and I would be stoked if they were on the same level of quality as the Rivoli and Casady bass.
 
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"This Rivoli is a whole different animal."

"...made by the wonderful folks at the Peerless factory in Korea back in 1999"

Probably not an "Elite" or "Elitist" then: weren't those all made in Japan?

Looks and sounds nice, in any case.
 
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"I would actually say these basses look and sound best when outside of a case"

The mystery is solved: "mudbuckers" gained their bad reputation because too many players failed to recognize this simple fact. Nothing like an HSC to muffle one's tone...
 

mellowgerman

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The mystery is solved: "mudbuckers" gained their bad reputation because too many players failed to recognize this simple fact. Nothing like an HSC to muffle one's tone...
Yup, that's it! Some say that the padding beneath the velvet lining of the original Gibson cases was not actually foam, but rather mud; the darkest, sludgiest, smelliest muck from the bottom of the Mariana Trench!
 

fronobulax

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Yup, that's it! Some say that the padding beneath the velvet lining of the original Gibson cases was not actually foam, but rather mud; the darkest, sludgiest, smelliest muck from the bottom of the Mariana Trench!
I believe that was true at one point but Gibson stopped when CITES kicked in and made it hard to import the mud.
 
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