D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:32 am

greetings --the bass has a standard Alembic { well standard Alembic bass filter harness in 1975/76] --low-pass active filters -with internal power supply and external power supply as well--both 1/4 " stereo and 5-pin LEMO connector jacks are both set -recessed in the core --fight under the back strap button --this was my idea -keeping the terminal hookups off the top of instrument -out of the way--the knobs you see are 1[pu selector switch --4pos 1. off--2.stereo bass pu out--3.discreet stereo --bass pu & treble pu--4stereo treble pu--]---filters are the creation ,and installation by RON WICKERSHAM personally ---GOD to me--gain -Q selector switch - and filter /freq sweep -both channels---a red L.E.D. pilot light and a power supply switch for internal or external power--in the last 34yrs only one failure -an IC that ron replaced and thats it---I play bass-thats it -since 16-----now 56-------at 21 worked with both Alembic and Doug Irwin to design and build my bass --and its the most valuable thing in my life --along with my 3 cats --if you ask about my better half -well -were getting married when I get there- if heaven lets me in --I can play but my physical disability and income both have elimanted music as a profession-however ----my neighbors are all happy -seems I am in house entertainment for them -its a dance party at times in front of my place -even the cops look out for me and all like it too---this is -to me a greater reward than money could buy----thankyou all --esp MR T------------PS--both basses are long scale -34"-----maybe I might try setting up a rehersal band into the future -if that works --then its meant to be--thanks again for lettin me share my basses with all you appreciative folks --truely been a pleasure ---P
Last edited by philsaam on Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:52 am

oops forgot to mention the pickups --yes they slide -and they were made by Alembic - they both are narrow appature--and what you see mounted tight next to the bridge is a hum cancellor-the filter card is mounted in the upper bout - and has adjustable gain and hum balance for both pickups -- 2-batteries mounted forward there is a clear lexan plate with engraved trim pot functions -lower bout mas the pots and switches- neatly wired with areo space gold mini connectors -the exertise of the GENIUS of Mr RON WICKERSHAM is a source of pride to me --having his attention and skill applied to my bass is why the bass sounds so BITCHEN --and has lasted so long and will last --ALEMBIC STANDS BEHIND WHAT THEY MAKE---they will make any problem right --if its broke or comes apart -they will make good ---trust me --there is no subistute for a WICKERSHAM PRODUCT--NONE---my bass is mine for now -but it will be in the public domain eventually -my goal has been surpassed ---am happy to share with you what I can --thankyou Tom -love ya bro----thanks for inviting me to RUKIND --feels like home here --only better------phil
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby tigerstrat » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:16 am

Love the tiger lilys with the stamen tongues. What a work of art, every bit as amazing as Jerry's Tiger.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:12 am

Hey tigerstrat --I wasnt kidding when I said my bass was related to "TIGER" more ways than one-but to have your appreciation expressed -is in itself --a deeply felt compliment please enjoy the pics of my 5-string---thanks Tom for your help----P
Last edited by philsaam on Fri May 08, 2009 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:47 am

5-string? Yes, please! Let's see that, too! :cool:
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby Thomas Lieber » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:22 pm

here you go Phil!



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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby strumminsix » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:47 pm

Wow, that may be one of the nicest looking basses I have ever seen!
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:50 pm

strumminsix wrote:Wow, that may be one of the nicest looking basses I have ever seen!

You can say that again !
Beautiful ...
Are there any links to a place to hear what they sound like ?
peace
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:55 pm

Thanks Tom --This 5-string bass began in 1974-along with the 4-string -the 5er has been a work in progress since then - it was 2yrs to finish the 4-string 74 -76--the 5th string -either low B or high C depending on spkr freq range - free air resonance -35z for proper tonal developement -hope I can explain this ---My good friend Mr John Heard was playing a flatback german upright 5-string bass with a polytone pickup and small polytone amp his sound was a combination of two sound sources in a perfect bsalance- the bass and the amp-the low B was impressive -as was the in your face playing style uniquely Johns - his particular use of 10ths was so bitchen to hear -the bass had a slight lag to deliver the low end - but when the bass spoke -it SPOKE -the low end was there and was big and clear -that nuiance of acoustic sound so rich --I wanted an electric bass to play in similar fashion -Doug however started the bass but never finished it -I think it was in 78 I went to him and said - please I want my bass ---it was as if I became an unwanted guest -he handed to me the neck blank and the two body halfs -fingerboard was inlayed but the neck wasnt even shaped - the peghead shape was formed neck was raw --5yrs and 5000.00 and this is what I got -i WAS PRETTY MUCH HEARTBROKEN -enter my good friend Larry Robinson taking on this project -comming to my aid - sympathetic --Larry made my lost dream come back from oblivion-----continued
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:39 pm

continued from previous page-----as I had done with the 4 string - I selected all woods personallyfrom what Doug had in his shop ---Good Curly maple for the top plates -choice purple heart -really nice deep wine purple --choice flamed maple for body core and neck-and a choice piece of vermillion center neck ---however when I got the 4 - I began to visit him much less than I had I should have ---he dropped my 5 project and I suffered the loss of his attention and friendship -without knowing what why ---had I gotten the 5er in 76 with my 4 string -things would have been a wee bit different-----I live with knowing the this little disappointment --Doug knows this and said he was sorry for the letdown --he called me at the time jerrys guitars went to auction - to appologize-and say hello ---thought I would have a big return on my investment in the4-string if I wanted to sell it ---I just felt hurt --thats the bass you built for me - what could replace it ---if I didnt care -then shit I didnt need to have it built to begin with --I am not a celebrity -just a hack side man at best --I just try harder to be what the band leader wants in a bassist-from there its a matter of consistant delievery -bet on it !the instrument cost - add about 3000+ for larry s work---and michael dolans recent r&r 2500+cost in total --10,500+/-a few as you see it --it is still a work in progress axe--when I am satisfied -it then will have given back to me that dream concieved back in 1974--my 5 string bass- my peghead design -my body shape and woods I selected -but built byDoug -Larry -MIchael - and finished by Tom here 2010 or when ever the time is right --I leave it to the next generation of Bass players to merit its qualities-at least I hope so - a gift to the house of bass -with rooms for all --pickups move -all the rest is what it is ----I am done --I hope I leave you with smiles - I go back into silence from now on-thankyou for your time and interest in my basses and tolerating the personal bs --love ya P
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri May 01, 2009 11:10 am

That 5-string looks fantastic! What's left to do on it?
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Fri May 01, 2009 4:45 pm

Rusty- whats left to tweek? -----change the Bridge -sculpt the body in a couple places -modify the PUs slide rail -replace the knobs-new string nut --little bit more to do thats all -- its been over 30 yrs and its almost done --the action is a bit high- higher on the 4-string -I like it that way -fits my hand to a T ---thankyou all -----------I love good flame maple -thick dense flames -for bass neck woods-hope you guys do too ---Doug had and has now some really choice pieces saved -hopefully Doug will return to building instruments again - thanks for reading my posts --be well P
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby SpaceYrface43 » Fri May 01, 2009 4:59 pm

Guitar player but i had to just say that bass is amazing.
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby philsaam » Sat May 02, 2009 1:40 am

please one more thing to add - the concept of a 5 string and form/ shape of instrument overall ------in 74 I was friends with Mr John Heard -upright bassist -studio musician and in high demand in many world famous bands and as selected by world famous performers for their backup bands --I met John as a result of having a Alembic B-15 that a band member rented from me - to fatten his sound - Eddie Cal -Timbales -Congas - you name the percussion , he played it-----from the 5 string bass John played - came the want to build a 5-string electric bass - thought it could be built -and the low end of the bass was the reason --a gamble cause there was no 5 string electric basses in use -and the electric was a hard sell to the dedicated upright players - that sound unique unto themselves -- a speeking quality - I use the word -SONORITY--I have the priviledge to now in a public forum - for the record - to tell John Heard that although we fell out of touch -He was always in mind - he was responsible for what you see here -pictured - to say thankyou for what is an overdue -tribute in his honor - by his influence - JOHN - THE 5th STRING ON the BASS is because of your influence -and be proud I hope ,I can now feel at ease now to give you the credit for inspiring me to build it; to build it --no matter how long it took--its close enough to show -and it works --better than I do --to Mr John Heard -I dedicate this bass -your friend --- Phil PS WELCOME TO RUKIND JOHN
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Re: D. Irwin 4-string bass ref:Tom Lieber ,P. Saam

Postby Larry Robinson » Mon May 04, 2009 7:44 pm

Phil Saam and Tom Lieber have both convinced me to post shots of the bass I just built for myself. I don't know if it's still the same, but in the 70s at Alembic we used to be able to build one instrument for ourselves. I made a guitar when I was there, with the series 1 electronics, which were the standard issue at the time. A friend of mine bought the pickups, harness and power supply for a bass, but never got around to building it. Late last year I talked him into selling it to me and here's the result.
As far as Phil's 5 string, he told me to fill in the rest of the story. After 10 years of waiting, he finally took the unfinished body halves and square neck blank away from Doug and had me make the bass for him. About the only thing that was finished when I got it was the neck inlay. Phil had me glue it all together, make a peghead, carve the neck, make the maple top plates and inlay the dragon on the back, as well as manufacture the hardware and sliding pickup rails, and carve the edges of the purple heart top plates. I remember the whole process taking about three months, including spraying a finish. Years later, Phil had Michael Dolan, another Alembic alumnus, do some more work on it. I don't recall making the gryphon inlay on the left top plate, or the chrome tag below the tailpiece, but I'm sure Phil can supply that information.
Another Alembic bass that used to belong to Phil can be seen at prairiesun.com. Once you're into the site, click on the "Gear" button and scroll down to the "Basses and Amps" section. That puppy weighs about 25 pounds...
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red cedar top and back, 11 piece purple heart and oak veneer neck, monkeypod wood core and polyester finish
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