Help with Hi-End Bass Choice: Ritter, Alembic or Fodera?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Saint, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    So, I have a chance to spend alot of money on a high end bass and can't decide which. The only condition placed on me is that it has to be new/custom. I wanted a Wal, but couldn't get a response, so I'm left with 3 choices. Once you've dried your eyes from your tears of sympathy for my dilema, I'd be interested in your thoughts about which of the following 3 instruments (all 4 string) I should pursue:

    Alembic: Mark King-omega cut small body, cutomized with Anniversary electronics and the thinner, Rogue-sized neck (better suited to my small hands).

    Fodera: Monarch with Aero Dual coil pickups, with Mike Pope pre-amp and coil tap/series/parallel switches.

    Ritter: Roya or Classic.
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Um. . . go play some first, then decide for yourself? :)
  3. Well well, great dilemma indeed! It's hard to say anything useful really, you should be prepared to get a lot of subjective answers, because they are very different brands. Soundwise you can't beat the Alembic, period. The Anniversary electronics are very versatile, and every Alembic with at least one low-pass filter and q-switch will smoke all competitors on a one way trip to tone heaven. As you can see in my signature, I'm being very objective here... ;) Foderas in general should be a bit more comfortable / ergonomical and make no mistake, they're also great sounding basses. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to lay my hands on a Ritter yet, so I'll leave that to others. Good luck, and please let us know (pictures!) what you decide...
  4. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    +1 Dude, that's WAY out of the league of anything I've laid my hands on price-wise. If you're going THAT high end, you really should probably play all three. I'm not sure there are too many people here who have played all three of those gems, and when you're laying down that kind of green, you ought to go hands-on all the way.

    I'm comfortable buying a Lakland Skyline sight unseen, but not a Ritter or Fodera, etc.
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I'd choose the Ritter.

    It's my 'lottery winning' bass.
  6. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    I actually have played quite a few examples of all 3 brands. Alembics never really resonated with me, although I do love the sound I've heard from some, just not all. Foderas (for me) have been hit or miss. One of THE best basses I've ever heard/played was a Fodera, it was incredible. The other 5 were just so-so, and didn't really grab my attention. By far, the most consistent basses (out of those 3), IMHO are the Ritters. Beautiful construction, great tone, awesome playability. The only thing I really didn't like, was how far the strings were off the body (height wise). This was uncomfortable for me, but the tradeoff was stunning workmanship and great tone. Fortunately I still found both, just not with those 3.

    The only one out of those I would buy online would be the Ritter. They seemed to be more consistently good (again IMHO, YMMV, et. all)

    Good luck in your quest!!!
  7. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Great choices. I've never played an Fodera with aero dual coils, so I can't comment on them much. Foderas tend to feel really comfortable to me though...some however didn't do much for me soundwise, so I think they vary. I like Alembics, but my preference is for Ritter. If you're concerned about the small hand issue, maybe Alembic is better ergonomically...I'd try really hard to play on one first though, because people seem to love/hate Alembics tone & controls. Many of them are heavy too.

    If you're cool with 34" scale, I don't think you can do wrong by getting a's such a well-constructed, comfortable, and versatile sounding bass. I have one, and have played three and they were all superb. I'm never replacing my Ritter Classic.

    I don't have good sound samples of my Ritter...I've never recorded into my computer, but I'm going to try (again), maybe this weekend.

  8. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    That pretty much sums it up.
    Usually when someone is dropping this kind of coin it comes from the overwhelming feeling that they MUST have a particular bass. Whether one buys simply out of "lust" or experience related reasoning and thoughtfull research may or may not have a huge effect on the success of the purchase. There are plenty of custom basses out there for sale second hand at half of what the original buyer paid for them. It sounds like you have been doing some research, you may need to do some more. You may get lucky and find someone who has owned all three of the basses you mentioned and can describe their opinion in terms that are relevant to you musically.
    In the event that you feel like you must have ALL THREE of these basses and you just can't decide then perhaps you haven't found the one for you yet.......but......

    ...........If you plan on giving the bass to me after you purchase it then please just get the Alembic and PM me for an adress. :smug:
  9. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I am certainly biased towards Alembic, but I have played a Fodera Monarch that I really liked. I've never seen a Ritter in the flesh.

    Based on the fairly rare nature of all these basses (they're not likely to all be together in the same GC) you probably won't have a chance to play them all before you decide.

    I would recommend to ANYONE to try to play an Alembic, especially a Signature or Series level bass before buying. They are not for everybody, but if they are for you, you'll know it quickly. I also usually recommend to anyone considering an Alembic to buy a used one first. You can find them. If you buy a used one and don't like it, you can usually sell it for what you've paid for it. That won't happen with a new one. You'll lose a lot if you try to sell a new one soon after receiving it. If you buy a new one, especially a seriously customized one, you should buy it expecting to keep forever and ever.


  10. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    Like James, I'm biased towards the Alembic, but the Foderas are also a great bass. Never played a Ritter, so I can't comment.

    Alembic will pretty much make you whatever you want, literally. You can customize it to your preferences. Not sure if you can do that with a Fodera or Ritter - Fodera and Ritter owners, chime in please.

    I've got three Alembics, and they are the finest basses I've ever owned, period. Malthumb is right, though - they're not for everybody. Given the expense of what you're proposing to buy, I agree with those here that you should try them all if you can. Bass Central in Orlando is a great place to try a number of instruments, Alembics included. For the price of a cheap plane ticket, you can save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars by trying out a bunch of basses to see if it's what you want or not. Might be worth the trip.

    My .02 cents,

  11. I choose for the Alembic, I personaly own a series 1 and it has all the perfect sound and feel that I want, I am ALSO a Fender fan, own a 66 percision and a 72 Telecaster. I use my Alembic mainly for recording, more controlable and clean viberant sound. My wish Bass would be a Ken Smith, I have picked one up and played it, very similar to my ALembic.

  12. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Good advice James. I'm a big Alembic fan (I own 2), but they're not for everyone. Never even seen a Fodera or Ritter in the flesh to comment. If you find you like Alembics, secondhand is definitely the way to go. Much better value, and unless a store actually has something you like, an order will take quite some time.

    Flights in the US are cheap, especially compared to the cost of the bass, or the loss if you buy something blind and resell it, so go and try some for yourself; then you'll KNOW, and all our opinions will be seen for what they are, biassed, subjective and of far less value than your own experience.
  13. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
    Not to totally derail the thread. . . which one was THE one? :cool:


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
  15. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
  16. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    If you have small hands, why not get an Alembic Stanley Clarke Deluxe? 30 3/4 inch scale, and IMO Stanely Clarke has the best tone ever.

    If I was in your situation, I would definitely try some out first.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    If you're in DC, pm me. I no longer have my Alembic (Malthumb was spot on with his advice IMO) but I do still have a Fodera Contrabass. It can give you a good idea of the quality but it is on the large side of things with very wide spacing and it's 36" scale.

    I've played several Ritters and they're top notch.

    I also own a few other high end basses. There are a few choices out there, I'd be interested in what you've considered so far.
  18. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Alembic, because it the only one of the 3 I've owned.
  19. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> Have you called the good folks at basscentral regarding
    Wal basses? They are the ones to talk to regarding all things Wal. Talk to Gard, I'm sure he can hook you up. You'll probably have to wait, but if you want a Wal, GET A WAL!

    Good Luck