Alembic Style Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Bass Abides, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    The Aria Pro II SB Series is said to have been inspired by Alembics
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I agree, but that Ibanez Musician bass was pretty darn sweet and had a sound and vibe a lot like one, if not the deluxe electronics package.
    MAXSPINRUN and gebass6 like this.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Yes, but you were there in the 70s and 80s too, and I'm sure remember all the basses at the quality (and price point) of a Squier that were walnut and some light wood, and superficially resembled an Alembic.
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  4. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I owned one and remember it indeed had that deluxe feel and sound to it and a vaguely Alembic appearance. Only thing I didn't like about it was the weight. For a teen back then, the thing weighed like an anchor.
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If by inspired you mean the “hippy sandwich” look then there are Aria Pro IIs from that era that copied the look:


    There are also several Motsomoku built neck through basses released under several different brand names such as my 80s “Memphis” that also captures the general
    look. You can’t see it in this photo but the body is a three ply sandwich as well.


    However, if you’re talking about sound rather than visual similarity, nothing I’m aware of sounds just like an Alembic. Their voicing is pretty unique based on my experiences as a former Alembic owner.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  6. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    No one mentioned the English maker JayDee yet! They've been building very Alembic-looking basses for decades now, great electronics in their own right too.

  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    As far as current production, besides Wal there's also AC Guitars: AC Guitars | The home of ACG

    Alan's a big proponent of "filter" preamps, something that only a handful of builders really use AFAIK. My free open source onboard preamp design here on TB is loosely inspired by the Alembic, Wal, and ACG/East variants, but mine is DIY-only and I wouldn't begin to put in in the same league as any of those. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  8. fauxtoe

    fauxtoe Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Southern California
    ACG was my first thought after SD Curlee. A big part of the Alembic tone is with the filter preamp that lets you dial in a huge amount of options. I also own an SD Curlee with a single P pickup at the bridge and they are funky little basses. If you ever stumble across an original late 70's/early 80's model in the wild for $500 or under and the neck is in good shape, grab it. I was very happy when I discovered one at a guitar show and it only took about 10 seconds of it being plugged in to know it had some funky mojo.
    Passinwind likes this.
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    A friend of mine has a passive Alembic with a factory P-J pickup set in it. I've played it a few times at open mics and actually like it at least as much in some ways as the one Series Bass I've played. It's not real heavy and I like the regular scale length, for starters. Back in the late 70s I settled on a Travis Bean, which was one of the few fretless options I could find in stock in Boston at that time. SD Curlee was a new player then, and Pedulla, Vielette-Citron, and Spector were also new-ish and kind of in that lane. My DIY preamp in the Bean could cop a pretty classic Alembic-ish vibe, and my current Marco Bass SC5 maybe more so since it's fretted. But IMO and IME, nothing's quite like an Alembic with the Series electronics.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  10. Kawai2g4b


    Oct 7, 2018
    8506B879-579F-4DA5-8FD8-E9DBB6CA696D.jpeg 324D0118-08E8-4CF1-92AF-98781088E682.jpeg 4A9F0E71-A748-4373-814C-B157D6E5C6C1.jpeg

    I happen to own a couple Kawai F2B basses and a Fernandes FHB-110, which is like the FAB, electronically, but with a contoured p-bass shape and different headstock.

    The Kawai is a wild-sounding instrument, and takes the right amp to get the best out of it. It’s in the Alembic ballpark, tonally, but has a rawer hi-fi response. The key is to keep the tone knob short of 7 or it can get harsh in the wrong rig. For the price, these are a great alternative, and really stick out in a mix.

    The Fernandes sounds closer to an Alembic and just short of, but more than respectably close to, the real deal. This one is a straight-up slap monster, especially on the neck pickup.
  11. bottomzone

    bottomzone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    There are a number of basses that can approximate the Alembic tone. But compared to the real thing, it's no contest!

    MAXSPINRUN likes this.
  12. The chowny SWB Pro walnut version! Check the thumbnail:

    Attached Files:

    Woodchuck and lesclaypoolsob like this.
  13. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Another shout out for JayDee Guitars.
    MAXSPINRUN and Garret Graves like this.
  14. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    +1. Yup, the thru-body Ibanez Musicians are SUPER-cool, built well and produce great tones.

  15. If you want to hear the sound of the Chowny SWB pro, type “Reinier Siemons Chowny SWB pro”. This guy is a great player and also has a lot of sound examples!!
  16. The "Honda Civic" analogy used to hold up great until the newest Type R came out...
    93SuperVee and Lownote38 like this.
  17. oaklandthumb

    oaklandthumb Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2014
    Midwest USA
    Warwick basses were influenced far more from Alembic than Spector when they started out, so I would recommend Warwick. Dense multi lamp hardwood neck through, brass hardware and active electronics.

    Compare the sounds on YouTube between a mark king alembic and a streamer stage II etc. They share the barky mids and hi fo attack.
  18. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    Don't forget the Westone thunder basses


    93SuperVee, Qlanq, The Owl and 3 others like this.
  19. gigetto


    Sep 25, 2019
    Not at all, in late 70'S Aria made two instruments, their line and the Fender copy (Matsumoto) from afterwar. The copy are still good and too similiar the original that a cause between stopped their production. Aria Became Aria Pro II with Cliff Burton testimonial, than others like John Taylor.
  20. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    This is just flat out incorrect.

    You are correct in that Aria started making copies as Aria Pro II- Fender and Gibson copies. You are also correct that they later started making their own designs but this was in the late 70s and early 80s they introduced the lines that became their flagship models and were their very own designs- the TSB series (1980), the CSB series (1980) and the SB series (1978). The SB series came first in 1978 and was absolutely inspired by Alembic right down the active electronics on the SB1000 which include a 6 position mid setting which acts much like a filter. The knob is even based on what Alembics with similar switching used- an aviation pointer knob.

    John Taylor played these starting in the late 70s - first the passive SB600 and SB700 which he used to record their firs album and then later the SB1000 which he used to record Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger. The SB1000 is certain the bass he was best known for until he moved to Kubicki.

    Other Aria Pro II SB endorsers were Marcus Miller and Jack Bruce to name a few. Cliff Burton came way later and had nothing to do with the popularity of the instrument until years after his death when Aria started marketing their reissues which are nothing like the originals. Remember Cliff was equally or better known for playing Rickenbackers.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 23, 2021

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