Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by funktastic, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. funktastic


    Mar 16, 2005
    Ive been reading things about Alembics and have seen Stanley Clarke use them, but have wondered really what they sound like. I know i could just go listen to him but hes a god who could get amazing tone on anything. So what do you guys think of Alembics?
  2. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    never ever played em, probably never will
    im in Australia:(

    i love the tone stanley gets out of em

    get Passenger 57 theme song:)
  3. zoran


    May 10, 2002
  4. bigcatJC


    Jul 9, 2004
    It depends on who you ask, but I think Alembics are great basses. Price vs. value is another story, as I've argued myself about Sadowskys - If you'll pay the price asked, then that's what it's worth to you. The quality of every Alembic I've played has been nearly flawless, especially regarding fretwork, finish, and materials. Just be prepared for sticker shock. How they sound depends on WHICH Alembic you are talking about, but there are generalizations.

    The more "affordable" (And I can't believe I just typed that) models, like the Excel, Epic, Orion, and Essence are basic representations of the Alembic sound. They're bright and snappy, with good sustain and excellent build quality for any price range. The Excel, Epic and Orion are set-neck while the Essence is neck-through. Tone-wise, Stanley is a good starting point, but they are capapble of more.

    The mid-range models are the Rouge, Europa, and the Signature. All are neck-through and tend to lean more towards what I think of as the Alembic sound.

    The Holy Grails of their line are the Series 1 and 2. Top of the line, incredibly variable sound, and cost as much as some cars. A far more refined beast than their other models. I played a Series 2 many years ago and have lusted hard for one ever since. I may get a used one someday, but I'll never afford a new one unless I hit the lottery!

    Just to recap, the tone you hear from Stanley Clarke is a good jumping-off point: Generally bright, ringing sustain, tightly focused. I've played all the models and never found a real dud, just some that sound better than others. Try one if you have a chance.
  5. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    yeah i know, its sad:)

    maybe one will rock up in my local store here!
    i can only dream:)
  6. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    An Alembic Haiku
    By Me

    I've never played one.
    I'm sure they sound amazing.
    Hate the way they look.'s late..... :rollno:
  7. relayer66


    Oct 10, 2002
    Miura, Japan
    I have a Spoiler which I ordered back in '89. They don't make it anymore, which is unfortunate because it is a very reasonable body style (unlike some of their other models). No matter how many basses I own or play, this is always my main axe. Most basses only have one or two decent sounds, but the Alembic has many usable tones. It sounds superb.
    One drawback, the 7 piece maple/purple heart neck is very sensitive to changes in the weather.
  8. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    LoL u missing one word in second line!
  9. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    lOl... Wat u on 'bout?

  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    So am I and I own two, both bought here. I've seen maybe 5 or 6 go through ebay here in the last year.
    You can still order the Spoiler bodyshape in most models of Alembic. All Alembics are effectively customs and the packages listed on the site are jsut indicators of what you can get.
    I also like the Spoiler shape.

    My Alembic S1 is my fave bass, no question. Best sound and feel of any instrument I've ever touched. When you learn how to work the filters properly, there's a very wide range of tones possible from them, from bright modern to rounder, more traditional.

    Even though Alembic sell a Stanley Clarke model, it's not a Series bass, which is what SC actually uses himself (S1)
  11. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I have a Mark King Alembic and tone wise it is very versatile but the tone that I think of as the classic Alemic tone is a bright, focused piano like bass tone with lots of sustain. Alembics are very nice but mine is also very heavy
  12. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I also have a Mark King - and it is indeed very heavy. It's not so much the weight as it balances awkwardly. I have heavy Fenders and don't find it an issue if it sits well. Having said that, I love it and find it to be very flexible tonewise. Personally I don't care for the bright, thin piano tone that people have come to associate with Alembics (per Mr. Clarke). I prefer a fatter punchy tone with a bit of high end growl similar to John McVie's when he used them. The MK does that very well. First rate construction and attention to detail - wonderfully made.

    If you're considering buying one make every effort to try one out frist. They're not for everybody. But, if you find one that suits you it is money well spent IMO - a bass for a lifetime.
  13. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I've tried many Alembics over the years but never had the salad to buy one. But If you can, try and seek out a new or used Essence model. IMO they are an amazing tone instrument, very overlooked and underrated. :bassist:

  14. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    My alembic Haiku.

    My Alembic rocks.
    It's an awesome Series 1.
    It sounds and plays well.

    It looks really cool.
    Sounds like the meaning of life.
    Englightening to hear.
  15. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    My haiku was 5-7-5 man..I double checked it

    Anyway, I'd like to amend what I said about not liking the way Alembics look. The one in Ostinato's post above looks sweet!!
  16. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Both Stanley Clarke's sound and Mark King's sound really typify the Alembic sound, to my ears...

    I would characterize it as very hi-fi, ultra-clean, dead quiet & totally modern, with an extremely wide dynamic range & maximum headroom (the 18-volt preamp circuit helps that). Seems to be very sensitive to the touch, and richly rewards the advanced player who knows how to coax forth many different tonal inflections, merely by varying his attack & release...

    (As the wise man said, "Your tone is in your fingers"...)

  17. Wonderful instruments. Every model has a unique design, the tone/sound is the best you'll ever hear. Instruments for individuals, truly beyond custom. My collection of three basses contains two Alembics, what can I say, I'm a fan... :)

    JJBACOOMBA Commercial User

    May 31, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Lecompte Bass Owners Club Member #2
    I have a 5 string Epic. 5 piece maple neck, ebony fretboard, quilted maple top, thin sheet of purple heart between the top and the mahogany body.There is also a thin sheet of walnut in between the fretboard and the neck.All gold hardware.Best bass I have ever played. Would love to get a fretless twin.
  19. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    This is all true. But then there was

    This defined my notion of bass guitar tone.

    Every Alembic I've seen was well built, with attention to even the tiny details like threaded metal inserts for the screws. I haven't loved all of them, though they all sounded great (except one at a certain chain store that had a world of hurt on it). Some had bigger necks than I like, though of course a custom wouldn't. An old Series 1 just didn't look good to me - HUGE flat body. I had an Epic 5 that was a bit neck heavy. The Exploiter style, though, balances wonderfully. It's a big body, but not too heavy.