Saturday, April 05, 2014

A quick update on the Toby Pro-6 rebuild... it's started!! Control positions under review...

I have confirmation, the bass is being actively worked on! Current plan is to fit the new bridge and the OBP-3 preamp and controls (we're putting all the pickup blend / EQ controls across 3 of the current 4 pots) - with 18v, naturally - and then we meet up to finalise where the MIDI controls go.

I supplied the guys with a quick picture detailing what I have in mind -

You can see the general idea - incidentally, this pic is of a 5-string, mine is a 6, but the rather glorious grain on this bass is very like mine.

I think the control positions should do nicely - the idea is that the audio controls are located within easier reach than the MIDI ones, as the GR55 will do volume duties with the expression pedal under normal circumstances: the centre-detented pickup blend is right there easiest to get at, the bass is right underneath it, and treble/mid are stacked in front, which feels logical.

The tricky bit (and something Julian Mullen has ideas about) is mounting the supplied patch up / patch down switched on the lower bout of the bass; I don't want them on the surface, it wouldn't help the look of the bass at all and they'd probably get pressed by accident: much more sense to put them out of harm's way. The thing is the bass has a very curved profile: you can see it from this picture. The buttons have a fair diameter and they're flat.

I'll be interested to meet with the guys from Bass Gear and Julian over at twyford - I'm hoping the bass will be there (I haven't seen it in 3 months now!!) and Julian will relay his interesting idea.

My thoughts revolve around using buttons with small tops which have a curved top profile, or perhaps using buttons which don't have tops and carefully forming wood tops for them which keep the silhouette of the bass as it is, which giving positive tactile feel switches for pushing patch up/down.

Keep it here to find out how this plays out... looks like I will have the thing for summer though, and considering I started looking into this last october (!) I think this is a story worth following.

In other news, I finally managed to make a semi-permanent (i.e. reversible) mounting of the GK3 I already have onto my old Aria Pro-II: I managed to get the perfect height adjustment using the supplied plastic bars for the pickup, but the slight curvature of the bass top at the ends meant I had to play a little fast and loose and the pickup wouldn't stay stuck. Cue a couple of blobs from the hot glue gun... it's on solid now!

I then spent about an hour and a half getting to know how to create patches for the Roland GR55 with mapped expression pedal settings and CTL pedal mappings to various effects - I even stumbled on the rather excellent effects routing options which are beautifully rendered graphically on the LED display.

End result? A wicked patch with rhodes piano, pitch shifted an octave up, with tremolo, and to my ear what sounds like a great approximation of the piano sound in "riders on the storm". Even the chords sound authentic. I adore rhodes, it's the most organically expressive keyboard instrument I can think of.

TTFN lowenders