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Alembic street prices?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Roscoe East, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I keep seeing people (here on TB) claim that the actual retail price of an Alembic instrument will be much less than the figures that come up on the Alembic Custom Quote Generator

    ...which then begs the question: How much less?

    I keep dabbling with some Series I configurations on that site that keep winding up in the $19-22k ballpark. Not that I expect to have that kind of wherewithal any time soon, but if I were to take that quote down to my local Alembic dealer, what would I actually wind up paying for a bass that lists for ~$20k?

    Are we talking 20, 30% off MSRP? More? Less?

    Just curious. Thanks.
  2. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    When I bought my custom Alembic back in 2003, the dealer discount was 30% off MSRP. Depending on dealer, it's probably around the same today.

  3. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    A good way to gauge the actual discount would be to check out the Bass Central website for a specific bass in stock and note its price and options. Then go to the Alembic build sight and spec out a similar one.

    Last time I did that I found the BC price to be between 30% and 40% less. That's significant! Then if you want to see another massive discount look for a mint condition used Alembic. They run about 50% less than the new street price.

    So if drooling over a $20,000 build you can probably actually pick it up at BC for closer to $12,000 or used for less than $6000. Just understand, these basses are highly customizable. If buying used you may be getting something built to some strange spec (i.e. neck shape, wood choices...) or you might get something more middle of the road that was maybe originally built for a distributor like BC.

    I have 2 Alembics, both purchased used sight unseen. Love em both, will never sell either, and I continue to search for more great used deals.
  4. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    In addition, alembic offers monthly deals. For example one month they might be offering free LEDs. So if you get lucky or wait you might find a monthly special for something you were planning on getting anyway and save another couple thousand perhaps.

    If you can afford a custom build it is my understanding that it can be a very rewarding process and result. I have had to "settle" for used alembics and have been very happy with my results.
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I ordered my 5-string in 1999, received it in 2000. At that time dealers could discount at their discretion. Now I think they cap it at 20 or 25%. Anyone who's ordered within the past several years please feel free to correct me on this.

    Alembic also has a special of the month thing where certain options are thrown in for custom orders placed during the month of the feature option. Things like.."5 string for 4 string pricing" or "free LEDs" or "free wood upgrade up to $XXX". When I ordered mine, I recall that I waited for a particular Feature of the Month to show up. Can't remember if it was 5-string for 4-string price or LEDs. Either way it knocked almost a grand off the list price.

    My $11.5-ish list custom was delivered to me with 6 sets of strings for somewhere around $6,500, so I think I may have gotten about a 40% discount from my dealer. Today the Custom Quote Generator comes back at $21,550. If I were inclined to sell it (I am not), I wouldn't even listen to offers under $8K. I've seen similar basses sell for that within the last couple years.

    It's the one on the left.....

  6. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    One thing I should note.....I ordered a Mark King Deluxe and added Series II electronics. At that time, a Mark King cost $2,500 less than a Series II and came with coco bolo top and back. The Series II electronics was a $2,000 add to my order, so basically, $500 under the price of a Series II. And to get coco bolo on a Series II was another $2000. So by "tweaking" my order, I saved $2,500 over a similarly equipped Series II. They fixed that shortly after my order. Today adding Series II electronics to a Mark King adds $6,400. That's a lot of the price difference between my bass in 2000 and my bass in 2014.
  7. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    The Special of the Month when I ordered mine was 1/2 off any two custom features. I started with a 5 string Coco Bolo Europa and got 1/2 off Series I electronics and Abalone Inlays.

  8. It's the same with other companies as well. When I was researching prior to the purchase of my F Bass BN6, I initially priced it on the F Bass website and it came up to almost $4000. I sent the same specs to a dealer and ended up getting a price for about $3200.
  9. Molan


    Dec 13, 2003
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Dealer discounts on most new instruments run between 20% and 40% with 30% being by far the most common. I don't know the exact figure for Alembic but I'd assume it's within this range. It's difficult to be exact as some high end brands offer very low dealer margins whilst others openly quote much higher ones. You also sometimes find different discounts available by range or model from the same supplier.

    However, once you've factored in all the overheads of doing business as a musical instrument retailer the margins are getting significantly reduced these days.

    This ought to mean dealers aren't discounting quite as heavily as they were a few years ago but, with the advent of internet based businesses and the increased buying power of a few of the larger operations it's definitely still possible to push for good discounts.

    Long term it may not be such a good thing for us all though as these tight margins are going to squeeze smaller, specialist, retailers either out of business completely or push them into warehouse type internet operations with no public demo facilities :(
  10. guess I wont be buying an alembic any time soon. $22,000! YIKES!
  11. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I remember when I first discovered Alembic basses, in some MI catalog in the early/mid 1970s... a Series I 4-string bass was less than $1,700.

    SUCH A DEAL! :hyper: