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Alembic owners ?'s

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by full_bleed, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    How much did you pay for your Alembic and did you get it new or used? I was checking out their custom quote section and I had to reload the screen a couple times because those prices are just unreal. My other question is how does one justify paying that much?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too much money and too little family.
  3. You can do some investigation by comparing the dealer prices and those on quote generator. Then you might get some insight on how much discount you might get.
    Also there has been some discussion on Alembic forum about dealer discounts. I guess they're limited now.
    Used pieces are quite rare, but have much lower prices. Check Ebay for starters.
    Prices of "lower" models (Excel, Orion, Epic...) are comparable with other USA made basses on the market (Lakland, Sadowsky...), Rogues are often compared with Foderas, etc.
    I guess people who get their own custom made Series II are not young. I'd say it's a middle-age crisis. Some get themselves a Mercedes, others a high-end bass.

  4. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I bought my Mark King new to my specifications and paid about $5600. The price generator is wack and not a usefully indicator of what the bass will cost. If you are thinking about buying one new go to BAsscentral.com. That is where I ordered mine from and Beaver will give you the best deal. If you want used then eBay will be your best choice. As far as how I justified it I didn't. I can afford it so to me there was nothing to justify about it and I like Alembics.
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    I bought both of mine used. My Series 1, I was in the right place at the right time and grabbed it for a small fraction of new, about the same as a Warwick Thumb BO4, new. Cosmetically it's not perfect, though it's excellent structurally and sonically, but that's fine as it's been played for it's whole life.
    My Stanley Clarke is as near to mint as can be, and it's a decade and a half old.
    My first Alembic I bought new.

    I don't need to justify them to anyone. I worked and earned the money and I get a great deal of pleasure from them. I'm also of an age now where I realise that there's no point in compromising over the concept of value and so I simply ask myself if I really want something, and can I afford it? Yes to both means I buy it. All my purchases are made this way now. I have a cheap old car, and a new bike. Initially I'd planned to buy another, more expensive model, but within a minute of riding it I knew it was the one. My conceptualisation of what I thought I wanted was rendered moot by my experience.

    Alembics, like any other instrument, are not for everyone. If one 'speaks' to you, then you should look at buying it. If not, move to the next one (of any brand/price) and see if that one does. And so on.
  6. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    +1 also I think that the word that they are looking for is "rationalize". Justify means to make a moral judgement which is not the case in buying a bass. And if I didn't make the point clear in my earlier post, if you can afford it and you like it then get it. If you can't afford it then don't whine about the people who can needing to "justify" their bass.
  7. relayer66


    Oct 10, 2002
    Ebina, Japan
    I got a 5-string Spoiler, new, flame koa top and back, 7-piece neck, with some nice custom touches, back in '89, for $1999.00 IIRC. My how times have changed.

    It's still my #1 bass!
  8. I've got my two current Alembics N.O.S. (Orion) and secondhand (EVH) and both were great deals. I don't feel the need to justify or rationalise purchases like these to anyone but myself and my partner. Truth be told that especially since the price increase of last January a new Alembic is definitely out of my league, unless I win a lottery or inherit a great sum of money (which is not likely to happen). But in the secondhand market NOTHING beats an Alembic when it comes to 'bang for buck'...
  9. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I got my series 1 for 3250$ shipped with flightcase and power supply. Great bass.
  10. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    My Epic was $900 or so, my Spoiler/Exploiter $1600. Both used of course.
  11. hasadari

    hasadari Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    I got mine used -

    MK Standard (Mint) and

    Spoiler/Exploiter (Good).

    Now negotiating for a used Series 1 (Mint)
  12. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    I never whined I was just asking a simple question. And I did mean justify but rationalize would work too. I was going off of the quote generator. When I pressed that button for the estimate and saw the dollar figure I did I had to think to myself " am I really worth it? Will it really bring me THAT much joy when I know I could have bought something that costs 1,000-2,000 and still had an awesome instrument and donated the rest to the make-a-wish foundation or secret Santa or red cross ect...". I would have the money to buy one if I could justify it. But me personally, I can't. Don't get me wrong though I'm not saying just because you have expensive things that you're scum for not thinking of others first. I'm just saying that's how my mind works. To each their own. It's funny that no one has said anything like "they have a neck other builders could only dream of" or something to that effect. Instead I heard I don't need to have a reason because, I have the money and I want it. That's why. Sounds a bit like a spoiled kid. It's not an exact quote but that's how it reads to me. I'm sorry if misunderstood the tone of the messages posted like that. Looks like most of you bought used though. I'll say this, they do look great and the few that I know I've heard sounded great. If you got one enjoy the crap out of it because you did pay for that enkoyment.
  13. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    1983 Spoiler: Bought used for about $1,100. Kept it about a year and traded it for.....

    1987 Stanley Clarke Deluxe: Acquired it used for the Spoiler + $500. Kept it for a couple years and sold it for $1,900

    1984 Series I Small Body: Bought it used for $475 (longggg story). Eventually restored it and sold it for around $2,200.

    1979 Series II Small Body: Bought it used off the internet for $1,875. Sold over internet (to TBer Brian Barrett before I know about TB) for $1,900

    1987 Series I Omega: Bought used from Stanley Clarke, $5,000, primarily with the funds from selling the Stanley Clarke Deluxe and the 1979 Series II. Still have and plan to keep.

    2000 Mark King Series II: Custom ordered for @ $6,500 after discount. Came in the same week as the 1987 Series I. The Quote Generator would price it at $14,100 list today. That might round out to about $10K with a motivated dealer. Still have it and plan to keep.

    Basically, the first four basses provided me with a fairly decent understanding of what I wanted for my "ultimate keep it forever" bass. They also allowed my to incrementally move up the food chain by trading or selling to get to the next acquisition. I would not have spent what I spent for the 2000 Mark King Series II bass if I didn't know before hand that I would plan to keep it forever. The 1987 Series I just sorta dropped outta the sky. It became available and I was in a position to buy it, so I did. Again, I paid what I did for it because I don't foresee any circumstance that would have me sell or trade it.

    These are the two "keepers"



  14. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    We get off easy, I know a Cello player who payed $40,000 for his Cello. I am a HUGE Alembic fan due to the tone. Clear as a bell and when played through top end SS gear a totally unique tone IMHO. Its why I like Sads so much, they are unique. As for the price well we see the value so we will spend it simple as that. Now my wife will have me sleeping on the sofa for a year if I pull the trigger on an Orion but that is a different story. :bawl:
  15. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    I have three Alembics, and have owned one other. Prices/circumstances behind purchase below.

    1984 Spoiler-Exploiter: Purchased off of Ebay for $1500. Sold for $1350.

    2003 Limited Edition Spyder 4: Purchased new through Bass Central for $5600. Absolute mint, number 7 of 50 being produced. New ones cost damn near twice that much now.

    2004 Europa 4: Purchased new through Steve Frank at Superbass.net, $5000.

    2004 Dragon's Wing: One of four in existence (that I'm aware of; Spyder Ollie is having one custom made). List at damn near $12K retail, got it for $4230 shipped from Willie's American Guitars (www.williesguitars.com). It was listed as used, but it hadn't been registered with Alembic to my knowledge. Absolutely mint.

    How did I justify any of these purchases? Well, first, I always wanted an Alembic. I also wanted a bass like John Entwistle's, and the Spyder was as close as I could get (one exactly like his would cost $30K today). When I was younger I couldn't afford one; that doesn't mean I wouldn't have bought one back then had I had the financial werewithal. Today I can, so I did.

    The big question, IMHO, is are they worth it? Well, to answer that question one must also ask, "do they bring one joy, pleasure, etc.?" If the answer is yes, then the first question is answered in the affirmative. I own 18 basses of different makes and of different price points. Each appeals to me in some way, or I wouldn't have purchased them in the first place. Bottom line is if it is what you like, it speaks to you, feels comfortable, has the tone you're looking for, etc., etc., then it's worth every penny.

    I've been flamed in the past for criticizing Sadowskys. Sadowsky owners, I've noted, are a very loyal, passionate bunch when it comes to their instruments. I personally don't understand why they cost so much, but then again, a lot of folks don't understand why Alembics cost so much. It all goes back to what I said in the previous paragraph. There is something about Sadowskys, for example, that appeal to a lot of folks here, while say, an Alembic, Fodera, F Bass, etc. does not. For those who favor Sadowskys, other basses just don't have what they're looking for, regardless of price. To them, the expense of a Sadowsky is more than justified, and that's cool. They get what they want, and don't have to justify it to anyone (except, uhh, their wife, girlfriend, fiancee, significant other, personal concubine, etc.). I guess one could say that for any bass, price be damned.

    For me, my Alembics are the crown jewels of my collection. I'd still love to get my hands on a custom made Series II a la John Entwistle's Alembics, but I'll have to win the lottery to pay for it.

    I will say this about Alembics (and a lot of other "boutique" basses), though; the workmanship and attention to detail is second to none in my experience. There is no way, for example that you could take a Fender Custom Shop that costs, say, $3500, and compare it to say, an Alembic Excel or
    Epic in terms of craftsmanship IMHO (and yes, I've had the opportunity to play and view, up close, a Fender Custom Shop Jazz). Bolt on vs. neck through aside, the Alembic wins hands down in construction; tone is another matter. Alembics are not for everyone - their electronics are fairly unique in that they use low pass filters instead of the traditional passive or more modern active electronics (boost/cut). I think that's why a lot of folks don't care for them - they don't have a set up that's familiar, and often sound "sterile." For those who do like the electronics package (and I do) the rewards are endless once one understands how they work and how to use them.

    I realize comparing Fenders and Alembics is akin to comparing apples and oranges. However, at the price point I mentioned ($3500) I think most folks would be hard pressed to find a better instrument, craftsmanship and quality wise, than an Alembic. There are lots of instruments available for less, with excellent quality for the price (my Bongo HH comes to mind), and if that's what works for someone, more power to them. I hate sound so cliche, but it's all relative and to each his/her own.

    My two cents,

  16. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    sounds like self-righteous whining to me. " I had to think to myself " am I really worth it? Will it really bring me THAT much joy when I know I could have bought something that costs 1,000-2,000 and still had an awesome instrument and donated the rest to the make-a-wish foundation or secret Santa or red cross ect" please :rolleyes:
  17. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    To me, a "spoiled kid," as referenced above, is not quite accurate. A spoiled kid is one whom someone else buys lots of things for that they don't necessarily need but want (we've all probably known a kid somewhere who whined until his parents, family, etc. bought him the thing he/she wanted, or the kid whose parents buy him a lot of toys, etc.). No one else bought my Alembics for me - I did. I don't view it as being spoiled as used here. We could use the same definition to describe the individual who purchases a Corvette, or a BMW, or a Mercedes. I mean, a Hyundai will get you somewhere just as well as those makes, but the individual who purchases them does so for any number of reasons, and one of those is "I want it and can afford it." I don't see that as being spoiled, but rather being able to afford something that one wants. As far as donating money to causes, that, too, is an individual choice.

    For me, I bought my Alembics because I could afford them and wanted them. I don't view it as spoiling myself, but rather the achievement of a long-held dream after 28 years of playing the instrument.

    My two cents,

  18. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    I nail the Lesh tone from the early/mid 70's with my Series I strung with TI flats.

    oh..yes! :)
  19. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    +10000 I've been playing for 23 years and I've wanted an Alembic since before I started playing bass thanks to Mr. Entwhistle (God rest his loud soul). As far as giving to charity goes since when can't you have an expensive bass AND donate time and money to charity? I just got back last week from relief work in Africa (my Alembic stayed behind). Does this mean I am still "scum" because I bought the bass and didn't give the money to charity? Grow up :rolleyes:
  20. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    I will be putting the Alembic to work this weekend for a benefit for the hurricane relief fund....and this won't be the first or last time this baby gave at the office! My Series I has given more to charity then any other bass I've owned :)