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Intel on Alembic?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jtussing, Dec 10, 2006.


  1. jtussing

    jtussing

    Nov 25, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    I'm interested in getting a new custom Alembic Series II bass. Does anyone out there have good/bad experiences doing this? How long did the bass take to ship? I'll be going through a local dealer of course and have checked out the online quote at the alembic.com site, but how much should I expect to get off list from my local dealer?

    Thanks!
    - Jim
     
  2. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Australia
    Speak to a couple of dealers and see what price they can get or are willing to do for you.
    As for lead times, I'd suggest reading the threads on the Alembic Club especially Factory to Customer if you haven't already done so.

    I've got two Alembics incl a Series 1, both bought pre-loved. What are you looking at ordering (ie specs)? Personally I don't see any extra value in the S2 for the extra few grand. JMO.
     
  3. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    Generally the best way to buy S2 electronics is to order a Mark King model and upgrade it. You can have it built with any of the Alembic body styles, custom neck scale and dimensions, etc. Depending on the top wood you want (cocobolo used to be free on the MKDeluxe - but a costly upgrade on the Series 2 model), you can often get a big savings and literally the only difference between the upgraded MK and the Series 2 model is 2 extra accent laminates in the body of the Series 2 (barely noticable). I actually saved a couple of thousand dollars ordering my Alembic that way. Also, shop the monthly specials. They usually let you get a sizable break on particular features.

    Check out the quote generator (features and packaging change from time to time). Once you are pretty sure you are ready to order, talk to Mica, Val or Susan at Alembic about what you are looking for. They are super to work with and will make your custom building experience a very nice one. They can give you lots of insights your dealer doesn't have (After all, making Alembics is all they do, while your dealer does a lot of other stuff.).

    I no longer have my custom Alembic (had to sacrifice it to finance my son's college), but I miss it every day. I'll own another Alembic (it wasn't my first), but I doubt I'll be in a position to spring for "the whole dog" again. If you can make it, a trip to visit Alembic in Santa Rosa is great experience. They will welcome you like family and show you stuff you won't believe (just call ahead so you come at a good time). While I was there, Susan handed me fantastically inlaid, quilted cocobolo bass that was destined to become a gift from Alembic to Stanley Clarke. You don't get to play one like that every day... Have fun. :p
     
  4. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Hmm, thats quite interesting, the thing about ordering a Mark King bass...a cheap way into getting a Series II! Someday I have to own a Series II, it'll have to be second hand, of course, but I'll get my hands on one nonetheless! If you're lucky enough to be able to order a brand new Alembic, well, I envy you! :D
     
  5. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    That is EXACTLY what I did when I ordered my bass back in October or November of 1999. I received it in June of 2000. That's seven or eight months. It may take a little longer now. At that time they were not doing the imbedded logos in the headstock, so the difference between my Mark King Deluxe w/ Series II electronics and a bass ordered as a Series II is the extra laminates, as Dharmabass pointed out, and at that time, side LEDs were standard on Series II and an $870 option on anything else. By ordering as a Mark King Deluxe, I got the coco bolo top and back included in the model price (it was a $1,600 option on Series II back then) and the Mark King model price was $2-3,000 less than the Series II. The Series II electronics were a $2,000 list price option. Now the Series II has a lot more content than the Mark King, so they may have closed the loopholes that I crawled through. Things like continuous wood back plates and imbedded inlays became standard on Series II.

    Peace,

    James

    [​IMG]
     
  6. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    It's still an interesting financial play to use the MK Deluxe model to save some money and still order with Series electronics. But not as good as it used to be. If you order the MK and Series basses with identical features (including the cocobolo top and back laminates), the list price for the MK is $15,900. The Series 2 bass (w/ cocobolo) and otherwise the same features except for having the extra body laminates (two additional thicknesses visible from the side only) lists for $17,900. If you don't want cocobolo top and back, I think the advantage is gone if you order all the same stuff the Series has. But if you went without gold-plated hardware, continuous wood backplates and inlaid Alembic logo (looks cooler than you-know-what), you'd save about $2200 off list.

    Dealer discounts and the effect of whichever monthly special you order under cut into list pretty substantially, but youch. New Alembics are extremely expensive. Lots of $$$, but very good basses. The good news is that excellent used ones are out there for a lot less. Actually, the cool thing about Alembic is that you can spend anywhere from less than $1,000 (older model used with some wear) to whatever. Every one is built like a brick sh#@house, using the same, military-grade electronic components and fantastic metal and woodwork. Can you tell I'm a fan?
     
  7. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    James: It was your experence that turned me on to the MK pricing advantage. Thanks again. Nice to see you around, hope things are well.
    Bill :D
     
  8. jtussing

    jtussing

    Nov 25, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    Wow - the Mark King is EXACTLY what I was thinking of! Didn't realize there was a $ play there too. I love the MK for the way it looks in the balanced K cut. I recently decided on the Series II electronics mainly because my understanding is that they are the only way to get stereo and if i'm going to pay this much for a bass i can't imagine it being a mono output. honestly a little daunted by all the controls - too bad they don't make "series ii electronics for dummy's" :)

    Anyway, thx for the encouragement & great advice!

    - Jim
     
  9. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Australia
    I did a cost estimate using the Aussie pricelists and no matter which way I tried it, I'm damn certain I can't afford a new Series bass. My S1 cost me <1/5 list secondhand or I'd never have that!
     
  10. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    Whether the quote generator shows it or not, you can get any Alembic body style built in any Alembic model. Think carefully about the stereo aspect, though. I know almost no one with Series 2 electronics that actually uses them. Most folks prefer a high/low crossover. S2 electronics are basically good to give you the clearest, most dynamic sound (due to the massive, but perfectly noise controlled single coil pu's) Alembic can build. Anniversary electronics utilizes Alembics standard humcancelling (not humbucking) pu's with a slightly less sophisticated preamp, but with almost identical tone controls:
    pu1: Vol-low pass filter and Q switch
    PU2: same
    Pu selector

    If I recall, the controls on an S2 are the same, with the exception that the Q switches are replaced by a continuously variable Q pot (I did not find this as dramatically different from the Q switch as I expected) and there's a master volume (useful). The controls are not as daunting as you think. They do take a little getting used to, though.

    All that said, don't sell Alembic's non-Series electronics short. They are exceptional and, probably except in recording environments, virtually indistinguishable from the Series package. According to the Alembic folks, the Anniversary electronics package with the overwound Fat Boy Alembic pu's is very very close to Series electonics. Tons less money, too. They other thing you might consider is picking up an Alembic Superfilter (SF-2). It's a rack unit that effectively contains the filtering capacity of the Series electronics (using similar controls) - and then some. I would never let go of mine. It lets me wring the last ounce of tone out of all my basses. It's not a modeler, not an effect - sort of like a very focused parametric EQ that allows you to shape your tone quite uniquely. Used, they go about $4-500 and it would give you a lot of bang for your buck.

    Spend some time on the Alembic Club (http://alembic.com/cgi-bin/alembic-club/discus.cgi), like Dharmabass suggested. Ask questions, the members there are incredibly helpful and very knowledgeable. You will pick up a lot of very useful info, including answers to questions you haven't thought of yet. Helpful whether you are buying new or used. I can't imagine having built an Alembic without having gotten to talk with the other members there. It's sort of like a fraternity of sound freaks. Very nice people, too. Very patient with newbees. Like I said. Have fun.
    Bill :hyper:
     

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