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Alembic Epic 5 {your opinions}

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassmangreg, May 27, 2002.


  1. I think I might be getting an Alembic Epic 5 string fretless but I know very little about them. Things like where are they on the totem pole as far as quality would be very helpful. What is a reasonable going street price and are they the entry level Alembics and so forth and so on? Has anyone had any problems with the different types of woods in different locations shrinking or anything like that? Are they on the decline?


    I'm just wanting to get a little more information to help me decide whether or not to get this bass. I play more of the finger style and every blue moon I might slap a few notes.

    I need to make a decision today.
     
  2. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    It would be helpful to know more about the bass you're considering buying today (new/used/price). In any event, I can help with some of your questions. Keep in mind that I've only played Epics in music stores, years ago when Guitar Center was an Alembic distributer. My recollection is that they were fine for the price range. Not bad, not outstanding.

    The Epic is the next to entry level on the Alembic lineup, placed just above the Excel and on the same level as the Orion. The Orion has a more traditional shape. They have the same pick ups and electronics setup. The primary difference between the two basses is body and headstock shape.

    As with almost all Alembics, the fretboard is ebony. If the bass you're buying is brand new, talk to your dealer to find out if/how they manage fretboard shrinkage. This is a somewhat frequent occurance with ebony fretboards in certain climates. The wood, as it begins aging, dries and contracts, exposing the fret ends. Some dealers will set a brand new bass in a low humidity room for a few days to promote shrinkage, then file the frets before delivering the bass. If you are buying a used bass and the frets don't extend, don't worry about it. It probably has already shrank, or is at a point where it is not likely to. AFAIK the shrinkage thing tends to be early in the life of the instrument.

    As far as build quality and material quality, I've always found Alembic to be top notch in both areas. I've owned 6 Alembic basses, two of which I still own and I've always been impressed by the quality and workmanship. As for the 4 I no longer own, I bought them used at excellent prices and didn't lose anything in the resale. The one I bought new would probably drop a ton of price on resale, but I have no intention of ever selling it.

    I'd suggest you do a quick spin on eBay and check completed sales on Alembic Epics to get a good feel for what fair price is for them used.

    You have now officially exhausted my usefulness on this topic :D ;)

    Peace,

    James
     
  3. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    After that lonnnng schpiel on fretboard shrinkage and exposed fret ends, I re-read your post and *gasp* noticed you're considering a FRETLESS!

    [Emily Latella voice] Nevermind!! [/Emily Latella voice]

    Peace,

    James
     
  4. This bass is selling for $1000.00 used and has a wenge wood top. It comes with a gig bag. I like the looks of it, it's just I really don't have the money to spend on it but I am going to sacrifice some other gear (including bikes and speakers and stuff) for it. I don't know if buying a bass because it looks good makes any common sense at all though. I'm not a fretless player either yet, so everything is going to be sort of a risk. Or shall I wait for a fretted?
     
  5. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    I had an Epic 6 for over a year. While I did like the tone overall, here's what I didn't like which prompted me to sell it: very heavy (I'll refrain from the usual characterization of "log"), a bit unbalanced which caused it to neck-dive, big fat neck, bridge is Gibson-like in that you cannot adjust individual string height and must move one or the other side up or down and last but not least, it just never really felt "right" to me. Obviously, the last observation is purely subjective. I think there are numerous better basses for the money. For instance, I'd much rather have a Stingray 5 and it's by no means considered "high end." Here's a little secret: neither is the Epic, my friend! ;)
     
  6. Boogiebass...thanks for being up front and honest with your opinions. The only thing I question is the weight of the six string Epic . The bass that I am trying to get is not that heavy and it's a five string. It being a fretless is more of a factor and the price for me right now. I'm not high end struck but I am kind of wanting some high quality basses since I'm giving up so much for these things. I have a Musicman Stingray 5 in the layaway already and I have six months to get it out so I can't comment on them either right now.

    I want them both...I'm a greedy man. Lord help me.
     
  7. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Ok, based on the new info, IMHO the price is a bit high. More importantly, if you're buying primarily based on looks, you may want to hold off until you're sure the sound is what you want and the weight and balance are something you want to deal with.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy a fretless just because of what it looked like if I weren't specifically out to start playing fretless. If your other consideration is a Stingray 5, you should try to play both types back to back. They're completely different animals.

    Peace,

    James
     
  8. Well.. Thanks to both of you for your expertise and knowlege about these basses. That's one good reason to stay connected to this forum....good advise.

    I think I am going to hold off for now although it's going to be tough. I would rather have a fretted Epic 5 anyway and since I don't have all the cash at the present time I going to wait for a minute or two to see if something else happens in my favor. I have grown very fond of them (looks and string spacing anyway) and maybe I can get a better cash price sooner or later. The weight was great though on this particular fretless. By the way, I am almost finished paying for my stingray, just a couple of months to go, and if I stay out of music stores it will seem even sooner.
     
  9. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Let the record show that I actually talked somebody out of buying an Alembic :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Peace,

    James
     
  10. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Greg,

    If I could only have one bass, it would defintely be an Alembic, no question about it. That being said, if your decision is between a Stingray 5 fretless and an Epic 5 fretless, I would go for the Stingray. I have a SR 5 fretless and it delivers a sweet fretless tone.

    My biggest problem with the Epic is not so much in the construction, but the electronics. Without an on board low pass filter (stock Epic), the bass lacks a bit when it comes to the distinct Alembic sound. If, however, you search around and find an Essence 5 fretless (the model above the Orion), and it meets your budget, then I would jump on that bass.

    Best Wishes,
    Bones
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've tried a few Epics and Orions at the Bass centre in London and as has been mentioned, I found them lacking in tone - a bit lightweight!?

    I have seen some awesome Alembics, but these weren't amongst them.