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Kawai FIIB vs. Alembic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blue, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. Blue

    Blue Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Southeast Penna
    ... are they even close in terms of anything?

    I have an Alembic .. it's my main instrument, but sometimes I wish i had a cheap - but similar - substitute.
  2. odineye


    Dec 29, 2011
    Bear DE
    Oh to have my old F2B back... fast stable neck, lots of sustain and great tone. The worst gear decision I ever made was to trade mine.

    That being said; "I" would never compare it to an Alembic but, years ago during an impromptu recording session the engineer had to come out and convince himself my Kawai really wasn't an Alembic. That was plugged strait into the snake, no preamp, no effects, just a small bit of EQ.
  3. I've owned Alembics for years, but only played the Kawai in a music store. IMO though there's a resemblance, they are distinctly different basses, unless the F2B I played was not representative of the breed...it was stock, in very good shape, and had no functional issues.

    The Kawai had a pretty thick neck IIRC. I know with Alembic that can vary depending on what the original customer ordered, but I don't believe I've encountered one with that chunky of a neck. More noticeable was the lack of higher frets - if you play high up on the neck, you may miss them. The one I played sounded like any one of thousands of generic bass guitars. An Alembic sounds like an Alembic, the controls of course influence the tone but the basic voice of an Alembic is unique.

    The Kawai looked good, seemed well built, and could serve as a stand in if you don't need those high frets or that Alembic tone. I am sure Alembic pickups would fix the tone differences, but those are hardly cheap. Your Alembic may have a similar neck..I have not played the small bodied Alembic the Kawai is copying, so that might not be too much different. I wouldn't pay the $700 + price I've seen them tagged at.
  4. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Depends very much which Alembic you are using for reference. The Series I and II basses are incomparable to anything still out there. The rest of the Alembic line is pretty much at the same level as a lot of stuff out there; and for those it is more of a personal pref thing.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    They were close in appearance in a very general way back in the day when there weren't many basses in the Alembic vein. They're neck through and not Fenderish. Other than that, nope.

    I have one in very nice shape. It's not an Alembic by any means. It has active pickups and passive tone controls and doesn't sound like many other basses I've come across.
  6. Blue

    Blue Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Southeast Penna
    Series II ... 1979/ish
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Well, OK. The Kawai can most likely do some club gigs just fine for you. But, it will not go head to head with a Series II. Whole different animal.

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