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Can someone answer a dumb question about Alembics?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobbykokinos, Mar 6, 2005.


  1. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I beleive it is a hum cancelling pickup that is grounded out, but don't quote me on that, I'l have to see if I have any old Alembic catalogs laying around, Well I pulled out the catalogs it is called a dummy hum cancelling pickup, I guess it picks up all the hum and sends it to the treble pick ups on the fender jazz! I have no idea how it works. But an Alembic rep told me several years ago that the electronics on a series 1 are the equivilent of a 2000$ studio pre amp.
     
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    It is a humcancelling dummy pickup.

    I'm sure one of our resident Alembic experts will be along shortly to give more info.
     
  3. hmm.. Interesting.. Now, I wish I could afford an Alembic :(
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, used Alembics are much more affordable than new ones.

    All boutique basses take a pretty good hit on resale, but Alembics take one of the biggest.
     
  5. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    The previous posters are correct that it's a hum cancelling pickup.
    The Series basses have 2 single coil pickups, which like a Jazz bass pickup is also susceptible to hum. The hum canceller is wired into the preamp out of phase with the other pickups, so the common signal, ie the hum, is cancelled out, but none of the music signal from the pickups is. The way it's all connected together via the preamp means that you can get all the clarity and extension of a single coil with the hum resistance of a humbucker.
     
  6. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA

    true that!
     
  7. Alembics always seemed like a boutique bass to me, something to long for, but never affordable.

    Are they really that good?
     
  8. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    they are most likely the first boutique bass.


    are they really that good?
    well..they're really good for some things...and if you're involved with those things..then nothing else will do :)
     
  9. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Buy secondhand. That's how I could afford both of mine, for under half the cost of a new SC.
    Yep. But they're one of those love them, hate them things for most people it seems.
    I think they're too expensive new though.
     
  10. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    bobbykokinos,

    All the replies to your original question are spot on. Rather than use "humbucker" pickups, Alembic Series I and Series II basses use 2 single coil pickups with a dedicated humcancelling unit placed between them. The settings for the humcanceller are actually adjustable.

    You will do much better buying a used Alembic than a new one because of the SERIOUS drop in resale value that the new ones tend to experience. The pricing for used is starting to go up, though, after the recent price increase at Alembic. Some people who were considering buying new are now looking at used and driving some of the prices up. The other thing about buying used, many Alembics are customized. With used, you get what you got. There may be options on the bass you could do without and other options you would really like to have that aren't on it and can't be added.

    Here's a picture of Stanley Clarke's newest bass with a quick explanation of the Series II controls.....

    [​IMG]

    Purple = Master Volume
    Blue = Pickup Selector
    Green = Neck pickup volume, Q-filter, and tone
    Red = Bridge pickup volume, Q-filter , and tone

    The 5-pin XLR type connector allows you to connect it to an external power supply (comes w/bass) that can power the bass instead of batteries. It also powers side and/or front LEDs if the bass is so equipped. The power supply is a big deal, because the electronics on this bass can munch through batteries in pretty short order.

    I mentioned about the humcanceller being adjustable. On the back of this next picture, you'll see a rectangular brass plate. There are 4 holes lined up in a straight line. The two in the center are screwdriver access points for adjusting the sensitivity of the humcanceller. The two outer holes are access points for adjusting the overall volume of each pickup.

    [​IMG]

    Peace,

    James
     
  11. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Flea used an Alembic on One Hot Minute right? If so I'm really digging that tone, I want to play one :(.
     
  12. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin' Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    That explains it!
     
  13. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Really, i seem to remember the stingray as the first active bass...
     
  14. AlembicBob

    AlembicBob

    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    I am not positive that Alembic was first, though they do make that claim. In any case, the Stingray didn't come out until '76. There would have been on the order of 400 Alembic guitars and basses delivered by then. Jack Casady's bass was delivered in '72.
     
  15. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Does the alembic onboard "preamp" have eq??

    BTW my bad i also read on Alembic ste that the pickups had such a low impedace that for making their instruments sound they put a preamp to compesate thhe low output.

    what does the q filter do??
     
  16. AlembicBob

    AlembicBob

    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    Best thing for you to do is go to the Alembic forums where just about every technical question about their electronics has already been answered. It's at:

    http://alembic.com/cgi-bin/alembic-club/discus.cgi

    It even has a search function!
     
  17. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Yes, but it's not like the usual bass and treble where usually each is able to be boosted or cut around a certain frequency by 10-15dB. The Alembic filters are a variable low pass filter with a corner frequency from about 400Hz up to 8kHz. The Q switch affects the frequencies near the corner of the filter, giving them a boost of up to (iirc) 12dB depending on the setting. It's a very useful type of filter once you work out how to dial it in for the sound you want.
    The pickups are low output, but not super low. The impedance of every single coil I've measured is around 3k.
     
  18. lbanks

    lbanks

    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I got a 5 string Essence for $1100! (Sorry! No really help in this topic, but, I couldn't let that opening pass!)
    Thanks again, bassdr!
    :D