A good friend of mine introduced me to Alpher instruments. He said he had been daydreaming about an Alpher bass and I should really look into them. At first I didn't much care for the body shape and thought "looks bulky and uncomfortable". I DID however notice that these instruments had absolutely BEAUTIFUL tops and whoever was designing them had a great eye. Also I am not much for big body basses that you stand around with and pick at while nodding at a guitarist. I want a bass I can move with and when I land off a high jump I want that bass to still feel like a part of me without feeling like an uncontrollable wrecking ball. These are the things that I considered when I first looked into Alpher....
Since customer service is my number one I will start with that.
I contacted Alpher via Instagram. Within minutes I was notified I had received a response. The message I got was casual and very friendly, I felt comfortable immediately about communicating openly. I did not mention my concerns at this time I just wanted your basic tire kicking information.... price, options, weight, and lead time. After wasting their time about a month later I contacted them again. They were still JUST AS FRIENDLY and ready to build anything I wanted. The ease of communication and fast response time helped me gain the confidence I needed to do business with this overseas company. Throughout the build time my questions were answered immediately. They made me feel so comfortable I even asked about finishing repairs on some of my other instruments and they went out of their way to give me the best advice. As I am sure many of you know with custom builders after you send a deposit you can call everyday or write everyday and hear back maybe a month later if that..... Alpher will make you feel like a part of the family and deliver on time. BTW these guys will check on your delivery just as often as you will and follow up.
The bass was packed very well. Also I ncluded in the case was a tshirt, a very nice multi tool, flashlight and Howard's feed n wax.
When I opened up the case I was stunned by the beauty of the finish of this bass. Pictures do no justice. I own many fine instruments and I gotta say these guys have the best Tru oil finish I've seen so far. The one piece maple burl body was sanded to perfection, as a result the figure in the burl almost seemed to be under glass. There were no flaws anywhere I could find. The neck, fretboard, pickups and knobs were the same. Visually they definitely over delivered. The neck is made of Rocklite (something I was worried about since it's not exactly a natural material) and the fretboard is made of snakewood. The profile of the neck is thin but very comfortable feeling. The matching pickups were set at the right hight. The bass is no where near as big and bulky as it looked online. It is light, very comfortable, and fits the body surprisingly well. The bass gets a 10 out of 10 with me on looks and feel. I would put the quality and build care up to the standards of top boutique/custom builders worldwide.
Playability..... well you shouldn't just look at the thing.
This bass is very easy to play. It sits nice against the body. It feels light and has that "I've had this bass for years" feel about it. Pickup placement is excellent. They do not make me feel forced to play in an area. The bridge is well placed, so the strings sit nicely on the fretboard. Action can be set extremely low without fret buzz. Scaling down the fretboard I haven't found any issues as the frets are very well finished. Neck adjustments are no problem with the spokewheel heel design used on the bass. The neck moves easily so not much adjustment is needed. It feels very stable and playing in the upper registry isn't crowded nor tmdo you have to be a contortionist to get to those high notes. The strap locks were designed with the real working musician in mind. A very simple design that works very well to secure your bass no matter what you do on stage. For those of you that believe in tone woods and "sustain" well acoustically the bass sounds amazing and resonates quite well. Harmonics are spot on! The nordstrand pickups and pre were a great choice for this bass for sure. This bass is not heavy or bulky in real life.
My overall thought is this bass is very well built and I believe it is a bargain for the work put into the bass. Alpher does not use CNC machines for the build of their instruments. Everything is hand carved and finished. My bass was a bit more because I wanted all the custom options. Customer service is up there with the best you'll ever find. They really make you feel like family even after delivery. I gotta say without a doubt these guys earned a customer for life.
Alpher Mako Elite