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Alembic guys help a brother out!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flat Bass, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    I am thinking about trading my R bass 5 and 1975 Jazz for a series I small body short scale like Armand Sabel Lecco or either a brown bass series I. Is this wise? Which do you think? I have never played one but I love the way Armand plays and sounds on his.
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Alembic is the bomb! It's the joint! I have a custom 5 string Series II with extra wide string spacing and a 35" scale. It's my favorite bass for studio use. The upside is the sound, it's incomparable. The downside is that it's the world's heaviest bass, completely unsuitable for gigging (if you wore it all night you'd end up stoop shouldered).

    Two things come to mind: one is, an Alembic eq's differently from many other basses, my experience has been that you want to "eq out" the parts of the sound that you don't need. The fundamental is so strong on those basses that I usually eq it down to keep my speaker cones from trying to jump out of their frames. I've found that they work really well with tube preamps, they're a good match for the Alembic F1X or F2B units.

    The other thing is, a short scale is a different animal. If you're used to a standard 34" scale, then plan on spending some time getting used to the short scale. Once you get used to it though, it plays like butter. Great for "lead bass".

    Do I like Alembics? Hell yes! They're some of the finest basses in the universe. But they are "different", so you should fully expect to endure a learning curve when you first get one.

    As far as the relative monetary value, I'll defer to your judgement and your ear. Personally I think they're worth every penny of the price, and I'll also note that you can get used ones on eBay and elsewhere for a quarter or a fifth of the new price. Might be something to think about, if you buy a used one and it turns out you don't like it, you can always sell it again for just about as much as you paid for it.
  3. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    you have an offer to trade the R bass for a Series I or Brown bass Alembic?

    Take the trade!!!
  4. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I don't own a series I, but i've played several. Very unique basses, i would take one in a hurry if i were you. The alembic electronics are way better than the haz-lab in your R bass. Also i think the alembic will hold its value pretty well.
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    First off, I know less than jack about R Basses, so I won't try to compare Alembics & R Basses. I trust from some of the comments I see on TB that R Basses are very nice, maybe not quite the appeal of F Basses, Conklins, or Roscoes.

    Normally I'd say make the trade you're talking about. Since the Series I is a short scale, I will suggest you play it first if you can, and wear it strapped up for about 20 minutes before you seal the deal.

    Some people have two specific problems with Alembic short scale basses: One is neck dive. I used to own a Stanley Clarke Signature, which is short scale. It did have neck dive issues, but they are easily overcome with the right strap and the right "placement". I wore that bass fairly high. See picture below. Wide, heavily padded strap, bass worn high.


    The other problem is something to do with the fidelity and range of the sound. Can't say I'd ever experienced that with my short scale Alembic. I sold it several years ago to buy a nicer Alembic. Check the Alembic Club for discussions on the merits and shortcomings of shortscale basses.

    If the bass you're looking at is a Series I, I vote "go for it". Even if you don't totally bond with it, you can move it for something else you like, Alembic or otherwise. I have two Alembics now. I've bought and sold four others over the years. While new Alembics generally don't hold their value too well (not many people in the market for $3 - 25,000 custom basses), used ones tend to transact in the same bandwidth ($1,800 - 3,500). You'd have a pretty decent chance to recoup your investment, provided you're patient enough to wait for a buyer looking to spend in that price range.


  6. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    They can be very heavy, and seem to get most
    of their sound from their electronics..
  7. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Yeah, but what a great sound it is.

    Good point about being heavy. I've just gotten used to it to the point that some basses feel like real featherweights when I pick 'em up. I recently sold a Fender Jazz and a Lakland 55-02. Both of them seemed extremely light compared to my Alembics and Hanewinckels.

    Then again, my 4 string Alembic weighs somewhere around 9 1/2 pounds. That's fairly average. A lot of the weight can be driven by wood selections and whether or not the bass is chambered. My 4 string is chambered and has walnut (kind of a mid-weight wood) top & back. My 5 string is obviously a bigger bass, but also has a solid body and coco bolo (a heavier weight wood)top & back.


  8. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I predict that David Burgess will join this conversation in 10, 9, 8 , 7..........

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