Alembic Epic? yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by crizzle, Nov 12, 2012.


  1. crizzle

    crizzle

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Ive heard mixed reviews on these things. Some one claimed that their tone has too much clarity stating it as a bad thing. What does too much clarity even mean? What bass would you compare the epic too? im looking around for a 5 string. of course i want a quality instrument, so im just checking things out. Any reviews or advice would be awesome
  2. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I used to have one and thought it was awesome until I scored a Warwick LX5; the LX5 was as comfortable to play and had a grindy tone the Alembic just couldn't cop. I kind of wish I still had it as it played and balanced beautifully, but I just wasn't feeling the rock & roll vibe from it that my Warwick and Precision were handling with ease.
  3. mp40smg

    mp40smg

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    Worcester, Ma.
    Had one...
    I wish I never sold it.
  4. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm sure they are awesome... but based on looks alone... nay for me. :)
    Seriously though, Alembic makes fine instruments. Just totally not for me.
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  6. GM60466

    GM60466

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Location:
    Land of Lakland
    I bought on here on TB. It played like butter and had a beefy tone. I traded it for a YAMAHA TRB 6 Patatucci model. I wish I had it back.
  7. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    I've got one. You buy it BECAUSE clarity is what you WANT. Which of course is apart from the usual styling, playability, balance, to die for wood and the rest. If you want some huge FAT tone like an Ibby or an agressive grindy tone like a G&L or some old school vibe like a Fender then why would you look at an Alembic? Tune basses are very much like Alembics, but then they are sort of Alembic clones so that is to be expected.
  8. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    IME, Alembic electronics are what set them apart from other boutique basses. You either dig the Alembic sound, or you don't. I have a 4 string Epic that I love. The output has a very wide frequency response, and can present as very Hi-Fi. I like that the pups on Alembics are low impedance, and are built with weaker magnets than traditional pups. It allows me to set my pickups very close to the strings without the same damping effect you might get on a traditional pup. With close pups, when I really dig in and play hard, the bass itself overdrives a bit, and give me this awesome, crunchy, aggressive tone. Dial it back and I get super clean and defined.

    When I first found my Epic in a used shop. I did not see or acknowledge the logo, I had no idea who made this bass. I was smitten instantly, and sat, transfixed, playing unplugged, for about 20 minutes. I couldn't believe how solid, facile, and comfortable it was. Then I plugged it in. OMG. It is the shiznit.
    JBY

    Part of the extreme "clarity you get with an Alembic, translates to the low end. When you roll off all the highs, and go for that big bottom, tubby sound, you get the best defined big bottom I've ever heard. Truly distinct, really low tones. Now that I think of it, maybe that's because I'm playing through and Alembic F1-x pre, and a SF-2 Superfilter........
  9. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I've been playing my Alembic Spoiler since 85 and am still, well, spoiled. Got it on sale at GC for $800. Best money I ever spent.
  10. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    To answer your clarity question, when I bought my Epic 5 string, I was amazed at how well I could hear every note and every mistake I made. It forced me to adjust my technique and made me a much better player. I also bought a 4 string Epic and love the way they feel, sound and play.
  11. Q440

    Q440

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Absolutely Yay
  12. chef wong

    chef wong Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Location:
    Ohio
    It seems like there's a well thought of visual theme with every Alembic bass. None of the wood combinations are just thrown together. If something's a little plain, there is a highlight also included to make the bass special.

    I can't think of one single instance in Alembic company history that made me say "I wish they hadn't done that". No bolt on instruments built overseas. Zero percent commercialism. They don't brag.

    Next to the Distilliate, the Epic is my favorite body style from Alembic. What's nice about the five string Epic is the comfortable, wide string spacing. Oh, and the adjustable nut opens a whole new world of low action if needed.

    Highly recommended....
  13. FC Bass

    FC Bass Alembic and Mesa/Boogie junkie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Media:
    6
    Location:
    Holland
    Ooops:

    [​IMG]
    Link to the Alembic club

    No experience with Epics here, but anything Alembic puts out would be a huge Yay for me. :smug:
  14. NecroticImbecil

    NecroticImbecil

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Location:
    under your bed
    I can't directly compare an Epic with any mass produced bass. Quality and attention to detail is unsurpassed. Unlike most Alembics, the Epic has bass and treble controls, so it's easier to adjust but can't really get the muffly, aggressive midrange tone the Alembics with the filter can.

    The only thing I didn't like about my 5 string Epic was that the neck shape was flat and wide. I have tiny hobbit hands, and it wasn't the most comfortable. I like small necks, tight string spacing, the sort of thing many people here complain about, so it wouldn't be a drawback for most I imagine.
  15. svlilioukalani

    svlilioukalani

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Each Alembic is crafted to exactly what the buyer wants. Making general comments about the shape of a bass or it's neck just show the lack of understanding by the writer.

    And, most of the comments negitive comments about the alembic sound come from players with sloppy tecnique. An Alembic will show it all. Clarity is not good if you suck.
  16. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    Alembic basses are in a world of their own. I've never played one I didn't like and currently own two of them (Dragons Wing 4 string and Essence 5 string). The electronics are unique and really bring out some piano level clarity to the bass. The woods are breath taking and the craftsmanship is top of the line. You can't go wrong with an Alembic purchase, if the price is reasonable go for it!
  17. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    What is that bass in your avatar?
  18. Margus Alviste

    Margus Alviste

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Location:
    Tallinn, Estonia, Europe
    I own the Orion which has the same electronics. I love the Alembic sound when I record parts for R&B, pop or soul songs. It's not so good for rock music I must say. Too much overtones and that clicky fret sound! But for certain styles Alembics are the best! :)
  19. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    saying an epic can't do rock isn't exactly fair. Flea recorded the majority of "One Hot Minute" with an Epic. I think aeroplane may have been the only song he didn't use it for. I thought his tone was killer on that totally underrated album. edit: he used an acoustic bass guitar for "Pea".
  20. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Piermont, New York
    I picked up a brand new SC 5 a few months ago at a ridiculous price. My main axe is a Fodera but the SC5 is like nothing else I've ever played. Completely different tonal palette, plays like buttah, and LEDs on the neck!!

    Seriously, my Foderas get played more often but the SC5 has it's place in my rotation and it is a keeper. I love it.
  21. malthumb

    malthumb Supporting Member

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    Location:
    The Motor City
    A) I am seriously biased in favor of Alembic
    B) My only experience with Epic basses is playing them at GC waaaay back when GC stocked Alembic
    C) Those were very good experiences

    I agree with all the statements about clarity NOT being a bad thing. I also agree that if your technique is sloppy, your Alembic will tell on you. There've been times I've had to put my Alembics back in the stand and pick up one of my other basses because my technique was less than inspired.

    If it's reasonably priced, get it. If it turns out you absolutely hate it, chances are very good you'll get your money back out of it on a sale.

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