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Ebony neck w/ purpleheart laminates

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TydidezDiomedez, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. TydidezDiomedez


    Feb 27, 2006
    Hi all,

    I was looking through Alembic's featured custom archives and happened upon a twelve string guitar w/ an Ebony neck and purpleheart laminates:


    I've never seen anything like this (perhaps 'cause I'm a total newb) and a search of these forums yielded only discussions regarding ebony fretboards, rather than the entire neck being made of ebony. I was wondering what would be the pros and cons of having such a neck on a bass. Would it be unbearably heavy? Unbalanced i.e. prone to neck dive? How would the sound be affected? I bet it would cost an arm and a leg too.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated - Thanks.
  2. Zachass

    Zachass Peavey Partizan

    I don't know about all that, but it sure as hell looks sweet.
  3. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'd kill for an Alembic. But that has too much Purple.

  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I've had a neck made with wenge (similar weight to ebony) and purpleheart, and it is indeed a bit heavy and a bit prone to neck dive.

    I've also played one bass with an all-Macassar ebony neck and fretboard, and it had massive neck dive...it felt like it was made from a white dwarf star, it weighed so much. But it did have a totally unique tone.
  5. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    Wenge is significantly lighter and less dense than Ebony, [I have several basses with all or 90% wenge necks and they are fine.]

    Ebony however would weigh a ton and be dead in tone!
    Its a showoff move by alembic to upcharge for a really unneccesary wood stringer.
    If you have the neckwoods too stiff the trussrod and strings both wont have any effect on the neck and it will be dead and wont budge
    There is a thread to this attentio in the luthiers corner about neck woods.

    dealing in wood and knowing how heavy ebony is I cant even imagine why they would use it as a neck stringer?!?

    gotta admit it though, It makes a striking contrast in neck stringer! Just not at all practical.
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    My old luthier must have been saving an extra-heavy blank for me :D I held the blank before it was cut and it was about the same weight as an ebony one he had of the same size. I've actually avoided some wenge necks because of fear that it would be heavy like the one I had.....now I know better :)
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    While indeed heavy, I beg to differ... One of the most killin' basses I've played to date had a Macassar Ebony neck & fingerboard.


    Slap or fingerstyle it just felt great and sounded even better.
  8. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    I have had basses with purpleheart necks and fingerboards. IMHO I think the hold up very well to roundwounds on a fretless. Dare I say even better than Ebony, plus it's much cheaper. I think that Alembic neck would be rock solid though, both woods are renowned for strength and nonwarpitude. OOO, a new word! Bye guys.
  9. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    this came out of the luthiers corner forum
    Macassar ebony is a different ball of wax that black gaboon (.spp)
    macassar ebonies density often varies upon the ration of heart to sap. The sapwood (brown) is much lighter in weight and density than the dark heart.

    This explains why Jens ritters one piece macc ebony bass at the low end dosent weight 30 lbs!
    its mostly sapwood (brown.)
    I have come across billets in equal size and dimentions as each other in Maccassar ebony that weighed literally half of the other depending on the ratio! from 15lbs to 40 the other!

    I am not doubting that a Macassar ebony neck can kill but gaboon is a denser wood than Maccassar (diospyrus perreri, celebica). You'd need solid black macassar ebony to get in the same weight range as (diospyrus spp. ) african black or madagascar black. They're different animals all together

    its just my take on it having the stuff "lying around" so to speak.;)
  10. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh

    Wenges weight can vary too! the trees are friggin enormous!
    that block could have had very tight growth rings and thus weighed lots!
    I have held neck blanks that weighed the same as maple! and even black limba!, I have also held others that weighed more than macassar ebony of the same dimention.
    Wood, go figure.:D
  11. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Thanks for the kind words James. many basses later I would have to say that this bass with the mac ebony neck is probably still my fave to play. It probably helps somewhat that I have stainless steel frets on it and, like Todd (tribal) said, this wood for the neck might be the sap wood to take away from the weight.
    I have had 3 other necks with mac ebony made for me and the tones were much different than this neck. The attack was quicker, but even with stainless frets, I find myself trying to hmmmm, shall I say undarken? the tone. some guys really dig the sound of it though. I'm still messing with it.
    The weight of these necks is about 2lbs each while necks that were made for me from all maple usually were right around 1.5lbs, so an 8 ounce difference, not bad. I use the Hipshot ultralights on these necks to make up the difference.
    Normally I like to use the Schaller BMLs, which are almost a pound themselves.
  12. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    Aart from the weight, what would the cost of such a neck be? I know that maple with ebony laminates is the combination most recommended by Alembic for sound in their basses and they reckon that the ebony brings out the low fundamentals and crisp highs of the tone with the maple maintaining a good punchy midrange.
  13. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    You should ask tribal about the wood cost (and as a matter of fact I knd of forgot about the piece of mac that he has for me)
    Send that wood to USA Custom will then make a neck for you for around 225-250 after all is said and done. Of course thats for a bolt on and I don't know if they do laminate necks.
    Warmoth does lam necks, but you must use their woods and it will cost more.
    a mac ebony neck from warmoth is currently 579 plus nut and shipping.
    you should see the cocobolo necks they currently have. Sweet!
  14. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I have a Warmoth Dinky P/MM with an all Macassar Ebony neck/fingerboard and I love it. It's a deep chocolate brown with a touch of cream on the fingerboard near the nut. I bought the neck a few years ago when it was just over $400 and finally completed the bass last year. On a mahogany body with those pickups the sound is pretty punchy! I really like this bass a lot - the neck is great to play, and I don't find neck dive a problem with full size Schallers on there.

    I don't know whether I'd get another one at todays prices - this was a BD present to myself when I had some extra cash, but it is certainly a beautiful piece of wood.