Q&As, Rants, and other Fun Stuff...

Q:  Hello Mimi! Here's the Warwick FNA story as told to me by my local warwick dealer who had visited their factory in Germany and heard it straight from their mouths:

Warwick had some big contest to name the bass, some guy came up with "Altus" and won. Warwick did extensive research to make sure that no other company had exclusive rights to the name, after lots of time and money spent, their search showed that "Altus" was fine to use. Mass production began. A small and abstract violin luthier from Japan named ALTUS threatened to sue if they used the name. After the time and money committed to the research, Warwick were obviously disappointed. On a disgruntled approach to renaming the instrument they settled on FNA, the abbreviation for "F***ING NOT ALTUS".
I'm sure there are several "PG" meanings for the abbreviation but the above was meant as the original.  From Adam A.

A:  Thanks for the story Adam :)
        ~ mimi      
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Q:  You dont speak of your playing style or abilities anywhere in your site. I assume that if you've been playing for 20-25 years that your pretty good by now! I'd be interested in hearing a sound byte of your playing or at least some discussion of what groups and/or bass players you admire. - David

A:  hi david... hmm, people don't usually ask me about my playing (by the way - 25 years? hey!!) but i have been asked about putting sound files on the site, mostly for the purpose of allowing people to be able to hear what the basses sound like. my response so far has been that i think i'm already in over my head in terms of handling the technology aspect of this website (i barely, i mean BARELY get by with the little html i know) and the idea of doing sound on a computer just makes me squirm. maybe one day i'll get bettter at this computer stuff, but for right now i think i'll keep my playing to myself, partly through laziness, partly because i like the idea of the ephemeral...but i guess that's another subject altogether...

i am more open about what i like to listen to though. i'm a real big fan of traditional chinese and japanese music - right now i'm on a huge erh-hu kick. that instrument is just so beautiful. i'm also in love with the biwa, although it's pretty hard finding recordings of it here in the states. i've been transcribing (well, in my head) a lot of traditional music on bass lately - i enjoy it but i doubt anyone else would find it very interesting. i probably practice and play my bass so much simply because i like it. in terms of more contemporary western 'pop stuff', two of my favorite players are bakhithi kumalo and jaco pastorius. i like a lot of kinds of popular music, i'll pretty much listen to anything. and i still like a lot of punk and thrash stuff too - stuff i played a lot with friends when i was growing up, though as i'm approaching 30 i think i'm mellowing out a bit (hey it happens...). but basically i keep playing because it gives me a lot of happiness and it's the most fun i ever have with other people. take care,
        ~ mimi      
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Q:  Mimi - On the message board a while back I saw you say that you play a Ricenbacker but that you were also saying about how Rickenbackers have intonation problems [the further you play] up the neck. I played a Rickenbacker for 12 years now and I never noticed that until I read that. Then I went to play my bass and well you were right, I just never noticed. It never bothered me, but I'll tell you one thing that does is that I've never liked the body shape of the Ric. The edges are sharp and not oval like a Fender Jazz. I like the neck shape and body of a Jazz bass but I'll always love the sound of the Ric so I play a Ric. It's just my favorite bass sound ever. Do you know of anyone who will modify a Ric to play and feel exactly like a Jazz and if so, how much these mods cost? Thanks a million, I love your site! Ruiz!

A:  Hi Ruiz. Making the kinds of alterations to your Ric to make it feel more like a Jazz bass would probably be a costly modification. the neck would have to be reshaped. actually, offhand, i don't know if it's even possible or desirable to have a ric neck narrowed to 1 1/2 inches at the nut (there's two trussrods in there - it's something you might want to ask an experienced bass tech about). you'd also need a new nut. and fingerboard binding. maybe frets. same with the body - if your bass has a bound body, that's extra work too. yikes - this is starting to sound expensive!

you may find this 'weird' sounding, but if you already know that you prefer the sound of a rickenbacker and the body/neck shape of a fender jazz, you might consider having a 'hybrid' bass made for you: something that looks like a fender jazz bass but has rickenbacker pickups and wiring. several pickup manufacturers make replacement pickups for rickenbackers. you could choose woods that you'd typically find in a 4001 or 4003 - maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, maple body. jazz basses have a (slightly) longer scale length than rics, and of course feature bolt-on necks rather than neck-through construction, so this will make for some differences in sound. it's probably impossible to create a jazz bass that sounds exactly like a ric, but if you're willing to play something a bit out of the ordinary (and maybe a little strange looking - what does a jazz bass look like with horseshoe/toaster pickups?), this might actually be a more practical solution to what would otherwise amount to a very labor-intensive modification of your rickenbacker. another plus: you won't have to use that lame (my personal opinion only) 4001/4003 bridge design either. i'd rather have a nice schaller or badass replacement over that thing any day.

oh - speaking of hybridized basses, maybe this is a good time for me to mention a couple other DNA splicing projects that i think have some potential. some of you may already know that we here at bunnybass (well, not keith) are big fans of the P-P set up (two precision pickups). it's a great sounding configuration that i'd really like to see more of (fat chance - we'll probably have to make a bass like this ourselves).

reverse pp
reverse pp

i also like the setup of the warwick dolphins - jazz pickup in the neck and twin-jazz or musicman pickup at the bridge position. with a coil tap on the rear pickup, i like it quite a bit (i've seen these popping up more frequently lately, which is nice). finally, how about a three jazz pickup jazz bass (?!) with a 5 way selector switch? think giant stratocaster. i've never played one like this, but gee, it just seems like such a neat idea. i saw this one on the warmoth page:

3 pickup jazz we gotta have one of these made - i'm really curious to see how it'd sound.

okay, i think this is enough 'what if' talk for now. i'm sorry i didn't directly address your real question - i probably should have just started with 'no, i don't know'. you might try posting your quandry to the message board - i'm sure there's a more practical, more concise response out there waiting for you! take care,
        ~ mimi      
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