1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Fender vs Alembic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I know it seems pointless to try and say "Fender basses are overrated" on TB without being stoned to death, but there are lots of fellow bassists I know who swear up and down that Fenders are the highest-quality basses ever and that I would be better off paying $3500 for a pre-CBS Precision/Jazz bass than I would be paying the same amount for a 70's Alembic Series 1. The choice seems obvious to me (Alembic), but I wanted to know what you all think.
  2. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I have 60s J. Nice bass. But I preferred my Alembic. And that was a Distillate.

    I sold the Alembic because I felt the J was a a better long term investment. Plus I've had it for 40 something years.

    There's a seat for every backside. Focus on finding yours and don't worry about anyone else.
    carsbybigd, Tbone76 and bachlover like this.
  3. There's always going to be people who's opinions you disagree with. Don't worry about it, I highly doubt they're off thinking about you preferring Alembic, so why waste your time simply because they feel differently? It's not like it's a purely objective choice anyway.
  4. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    You might be hard pressed to find a good Alembic Series 1 or PreCBS Fender for $3500. However if you could find a nice example of each in the sub $5000 bracket what you would probably quickly realize is that both basses can sound and play very nice.

    The Fender will always look at home on stage or at a gig, the Alembic (due to their unconventional body styles) may look out of place in some settings. Beyond looks, the Alembic and Fender will have two very different tones - one hifi and one old school, neither of which is all good or all bad.

    Both will hold their value or appreciate about the same for the foreseeable future. Both are built rock solid and will last a lifetime.

    So I really don't see a huge advantage of one over the other if both are similarly priced with no issues. Just different tools for different jobs.
    carsbybigd and jazzyvee like this.
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Just file it under "something for everybody" and keep moving. You prefer Alembic. They're excellent basses, so you are making a good decision for you. Others prefer Fender. Not a bad choice either.

    A lot of bassists wouldn't know an Alembic from a Wishbass. You'd be surprised how many times I've been asked where I got my Ken Smith (it's an Alembic). People who aren't familiar with Alembic will naturally prefer Fender, since everybody knows Fender.

    And some who are familiar with Alembic may still prefer Fender. Nothing wrong with that. Something for everybody.
  6. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I think it's retarded to worry about what others play, or like - do your own thing, and don't worry about it...

    - georgestrings
    jazzyvee likes this.
  7. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Op has a valid question - however he's not established clarity on the issue of ownership for musical usage or for investment. If it is to play, then don't worry what anyone thinks but yourself; but as investment item it does matter what the market values.
  8. Jookbox

    Jookbox Registered Drummer

    Mar 16, 2006
    Oh look another Fender sucks thread. :hyper:
  9. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    It is both
  10. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    "Fender vs Alembic"

    Just the question itself tells me you don't know what you want:
    those two basses are about as different as they could be.
    carsbybigd likes this.
  11. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    To the OP, here's a pic of two of my basses...
    A 1968 all original Fender Precision (not a pre CBS but plays as good as any preCBS I've played). It doesn't get gigged, I have cheaper Fenders for that.

    And here's a pic of one of my Alembic Basses (not a series one but great sounding anyway). It doesn't get gigged, I have cheaper Alembics for that.

    Both cost me about the same to buy and both are holding their value very well. One is not better than the other, and like my kids I could never choose a favorite, just love em all the same.
    Pet Sounds, JLY and carsbybigd like this.
  12. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
  13. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    If everyone liked the same thing my lovely wife would have been taken off the market long before I met her.

    Vive la difference!
  14. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    The key word in my post was "good" Alembic or Fender at that price. I've looked at the one on eBay and it's too rough for me. Headstock looks cracked, finish chips in the body and crazing are not what I'd be looking for in an Alembic that will do double duty as a player and an investment. If it was going to be a player only and didn't have the headstock issue I might look at it, but from an investment standpoint this is not typically the condition people are looking for in an Alembic.

    A preCBS Fender on the other hand could easily get away with that much body wear and more and still be considered a good investment as long as everything on it is original and no structural damage or repairs. Again the headstock crack would be an issue on a Fender as well from an investment standpoint.
  15. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I know a guy who fixes cracked headstocks for a living- no joke.:D
  16. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    That eBay Series 1 also doesn't come with the correct cable, so I believe you would need to purchase that as well in order to get both pickups working.
  17. My Alembic Orion sounds like a Jazz bass on steroids. I like it's sound very much, even more than my 62 Fender Jazz but the Jazz just plays better. :)
  18. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I don't know. For $3,500 I'd hit that. If I was in the market, which I am not. Good conditioned late '70s Alembic Series I or Series II go for around $4,500 - 5,500. It is a 32" scale, which is rare and a blast to play. 32" scale typically slides the price upward a bit, but more so with the small bodied Alembics like the '79 Series II that I had and sold. I agree with Jim777 about the missing cable and box. That would bring the price back down. But for so done like me, who has a couple Series basses, power supplies, and cables, that can be overlooked for the right price break.

    I'm not totally certain there is a headstock issue with this one. The photo of the back of the headstock could be a crack or it could be some serious finish checking. Late '70s Alembics are known for finish checking. The '79 Series II that I had many moons ago photographed beautifully, (see below)


    but when you looked at it up close it looked like someone had been ice skating on it. Thing is, it sounded like friggin' thunder. It is the reason I own a 5-string Series II today. I NEEDED that sound, but I also needed another string, so I sold the '79 and ordered a 5-string.
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I don't know that anyone has ever claimed that they're the highest quality bass ever. They may be a standard, they may be the most popular, the most used, the most recorded, the most in demand in studio or live settings... some may think they're the 'best' for certain sound, feel, types of mussic...but the highest quality ever? In all the years, I've never heard anyone make that claim.
  20. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.