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Alembic, Should I or Shouldn't I?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by grooveguru, Apr 23, 2001.


  1. grooveguru

    grooveguru

    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    I'm gettin ready to order a brand new Alembic Mark King Standard in Quilted Maple w/side LEDs. Any advice from talkbass members? I'm not looking forward to the 10-12 week wait though. Help me decide!
     
  2. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i'd get front LED's too. they're just SOOO COOOOOOL!!!!


    if you've got the bread, do it. alembics are awesome, especially those signature series.

    jason
     
  3. grooveguru

    grooveguru

    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    SOOO COOOOOOL and SOOO Very Expensive!
     
  4. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I've only owned 3 brand new basses in my life. This is the last (and best) one. 2000 Mark King Deluxe w/Series II electronics, cocobolo top & back, amber side LEDs, continuous wood backplates, gold hardware.

    Well worth the wait and the $$.

    Go for it! Check the Alembic site and see what special they're running. Depending on what you want on your bass it may save you hundreds.

    Peace,

    James
     
  5. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Alembics are a strange bird! I'm not saying I don't like 'em, because every one I've played I liked. Some people don't. But, considering the $$$ you'll be plunking down for one of these, I'd give some consideration to what your expectations are. Because Alembics are so "custom", the woods in particular, can affect the sound dramatically. Have you played one in a similar setup and similar woods? How did you like it? Are there things you'd change from that model? How would those changes affect YOUR bass?

    I personally think that Alembics are among the cream of the crop. But, what comes along with that is a very unique instrument. I'd make sure that you're getting exactly what you're looking for. That said, if it comes out the way you dream it to be, then I don't think anything will even come close to touching it! (Except for my Spector, of course:p)
     
  6. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    RAM wrote:

    << Because Alembics are so "custom", the woods in particular, can affect the sound dramatically. Have you played one in a similar setup and similar woods? >>

    T'is true. t'is true!! I have three of the beasties and they all have unigue sounds. The two that are most similar physically are my Mark King and my walnut Series I. Both are 34" scale, but the Mark King with mahogany core, maple veneer, & cocobolo top & back sounds real deep, resonant, and sinister.

    The Series I with mahogany core and walnut top & back has a piano quality sing-songy type of a sound.

    If you work through a good dealer they can clue you in on how the different woods are likely to sound. If you get a chance to play SEVERAL you should.

    Peace,

    James
     
  7. that is a great looking bass malthumb. quick question about it. what is with the thing between the 2 pickups, is it another pickup?

    always wondered that
     
  8. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    That thing IS another pickup. What it does is to cancel hum. I suppose that would be a variation of the humbucker.;)
     
  9. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    gruffpuppy asked:

    << what is with the thing between the 2 pickups, is it another pickup? >>

    It's a humcanceller. On older basses it primarily offsets low frequency hum. Newer basses also cancel high frequency interferences that are noticeable in older basses.

    If you can make out the four tiny holes on the backplate of the picture I posted earlier, the two in the center are for adjusting the sensitivity of the humcanceller. The two on the outside are for adjusting the volume pots of each pick up. (I know, who asked...;)

    Peace,

    James
     
  10. such quick response from one of the spector fans.:D

    thanks ram.
     
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    The only advice I have is to go into this with your eyes wide open. Ordering an upper end Alembic like the MK is a real commitment. Once you put the $$ in, you can't get them back out.

    I'm not even coming close to saying don't buy it...I'm saying do everything you can to make sure you ask for (and know how to ask for) exactly what you want. Chances are it'll exceed your expectations.

    Good luck. Hope it's a keeper;)
     
  12. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    :D

    Just happy playin' around on the 'net, keepin' the fiance off the computer, even though she's trying to study for one of her law school finals :eek:

    Any second you'll hear objects flyin' and a strange bass player screaming...don't worry...that's just me getting injured...:eek:
     
  13. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    If they're telling you 10-12 weeks, figure at least twice that long...if you're lucky.

    Also, I'd make damn sure you REALLY want that bass before you order it. IMO, you can do way better for the money. Ken Smith, Roscoe, Conklin, Modulus, so many basses that are superior in many ways. And do you intend to play it standing up? Weight is also a factor with those logs. Great for sitting in the studio, not always great on gigs.

    BTW, I own an Alembic 5 Custom fretless and it's an awesome instrument, so I'm not really an Alembic hater. It's just that there are a number of issues to consider.
     
  14. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Malthumb,

    Your posted bass is my dream bass. What a work of art.

    Grooveguru,

    I think if you can spare the expense, upgrading to Series II electronics would be a very wise move. You might kick yourself down the road if you don't.

    Bones
     
  15. jvtwin

    jvtwin What it needs is a little more cowbell

    Jan 26, 2001
    LA Calif.

    What decent bass isn't? ;)
     
  16. grooveguru

    grooveguru

    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    My wife will kick me if I do! I can see the new TV show now.....Survivor III-The Alembic Bass Incident. Do anyone know of anywhere that has a Mark King in stock?
     
  17. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I played a Mark King in New York at 48th St Guitars (I thnk it was 48th St Guitars--Might have been Manny's). It played nicely, but the fretboard had really bad kerfs--the bass guy said that the humidifiers had switched off over the weekend, and the fretboard shrank leaving the frets hanging off the side of the fretboard about 1/16th of an inch. Damn near sliced my hand up. Everything else about the bass was beautiful. While I don't doubt that the humidifier turning off for a couple of days affecting it, I noticed the Relic Jazz Bass didn't have the same problem, but the Stanley Clarke model they had did...go figure.
     
  18. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    bassmonkee wrote:
    <<...the fretboard shrank leaving the frets hanging off the side of the fretboard about 1/16th of an inch. ....I noticed the Relic Jazz Bass didn't have the same problem, but the Stanley Clarke model they had did...go figure....>>

    Alembic's deep, dark secret. Alembic uses ebony for the fretboard. One characteristic of ebony is that over time it tends to contract. Several Alembic dealers that I talked to mentiooned this phenomon to me prior to my ordering my bass. It doesn't happen to all of them, but it happens enough to not be considered uncommon. Some dealers will hang on to a bass long enough to allow the shrinkage to happen, then they file the ends of the frets down level and deliver the bass to the owner. Others I've talked to are more than willing to have the bass come back in for filing if/when the shrinkage occurs.

    My understanding is that this tends to be a one time occurrence with any bass that experiences it. My 5 string custom (which I've had since June '00) has not experienced this.

    I don't know if this is typical of other instruments with ebony fretboards.

    Peace,

    James
     
  19. grooveguru

    grooveguru

    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    I did it! I placed the order! Woo Hoo! Anyone got 3K?
     
  20. RedGrange

    RedGrange Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2000
    Denver, CO
    I think Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in Wheaton Maryland has one... I could tell you for sure when I go to pick up my Cabinet if it ever arrives