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Modulus v. Alembic - REALLY need some advice.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dark Star, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Dark Star

    Dark Star

    Jun 18, 2008
    CT, RI, NC
    Im thinking of purchasing a new bass - something a bit more high end, within a 2000 price range. I found a used Mod. Q4 for 1799 and a used Alembic Epic 4 for 1500. Both seem to be of good build quality, but I have heard that Alembics have a bit more of a piano-sound too them - which I don't think is what Im looking for. The Mod. is also equipped with EMGs rather than Barts. Ive heard that Mod Q5s and 6s are remarkable, but the Q4s were usually lesser in terms of sonic balance and quality.
    Im looking for a warmer sound, as well. Something Jazz-bass-esque, as well.

    Can't decide. Could use some help.
  2. Dark Star

    Dark Star

    Jun 18, 2008
    CT, RI, NC

  3. If you're looking for J-bass tone, then I doubt either of those basses will satisfy you. Have you actually played either bass?
  4. Spencer!


    Jun 25, 2006
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    $2000 to spend on something "jazz bass-esque"? buy a Lull.
  5. Dark Star

    Dark Star

    Jun 18, 2008
    CT, RI, NC
    Ive played a Modulus Q5. Was satisfied with it, in most instances. Not an Alembic though.
  6. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    I can't see how the Q4 would sound appreciably different from the Q5 and Q6, given that they're basically identical in terms of construction and electronics. Whoever told you that or posted that is blowing smoke.

    The Modulus basses I've played have had a peak in the high midrange that can sound very odd if you're used to the frequency response of wood necks. In this situation, the Alembic will sound warmer and more familiar if you're coming from a wood-necked bass.

    If you want a Jazz, buy a Jazz. Neither of these basses will sound like that.
  7. Duuuuuuuude.:eyebrow:

    If you're going to spend $2K on a bass, you need to know what it sounds like, especially if you are looking for a particular type of tone ("Jazz-bass-esque").

    No disrespect intended, but seriously, $2K is a lot of money to spend on something you've never played or seen in person.
  8. M5Yates


    Feb 7, 2005
    Austin, TX
    $1500 is too much for a standard Epic.
    $1000 is the going rate on eBay unless they have some special top wood.
    The Modulus price also looks to be $500 too high.

    Buying a used high end bass at the right price is a great way to try new brands at little or no cost.
    Play it for a few months, then sell it for no loss (or even a profit) if you don't like it.
  9. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    I've played and owned both. I also own a Zon Sonus. For Jazz tone and that price range, I'd take the Sonus before either of the others. In spite of being an Alembic junkie, I really can't stand Epics at all.
  10. duke2004


    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Ive played and owned several Modulus. They DO sound different believe it or not, depending on pickup or neck (truss rod or not) I had a Q5 which was very warm and nearly jazz bass sounding, however graphite is graphite, not wood.
    I have also found Alembics to be very well made and pretty, but rather overpriced for a somewhat limited sound you can get from the quirky onboard eq section. Plus many are super heavy.
    Main question is whether u like the sound of graphite.
  11. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006


    For all its quirks, the Series I that I owned was one of the most versatile basses I've ever had the chance to play. If you actually give yourself a chance to adapt to the filter control/Q-switch setup, you'll find that you can make some major timbral changes faster and more effectively than you ever could with an EQ-based pre.

    That said, it was indeed heavy and somewhat odd ergonomically, but it comes with the territory. They do make more ergonomic shapes.
  12. swpyne

    swpyne Basses R Loaded! Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2005
    Centennial, Colorado
    I think you will find that a Modulus Q5 is more versatile tone-wise than an Alembic. At least that's the conclusion I have come to and I've owned three Q5s and two Alembics. They both sounded great but the Alembic was a "one trick pony" IMO.
  13. Konquest


    Aug 26, 2003
    One benefit of the modulus is that you could put the bass in the freezer, then into a steam sauna, and it would still be in tune. Depends on your gig. I also disagree with the notion that you need to play one before you buy. Haggle a bit on the used prices, but you can put it back up for sale if things aren't right and only risk losing a couple hundred bucks at most. The money will get you a top notch playable instrument, so if it is the look and sound that you want, play it until you are used to it. $2000 means different things to different people, you know?
  14. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    What model of Alembic did you have?
  15. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    Try a used Sadowsky Metro - they can be had for $2000 or less. You've got your jazz-bass-esque right there ;)
  16. ivlucas is selling a Ken Smith Chuck Reiney 5er in the Classifieds for $1800, i say you jump on it NOW :p! I haven't played a Ken Smith that i didn't enjoy. Great basses and i think it fall perfectly in line with what you are looking for.
  17. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006

    Ken Smiths are great basses (they'd better be, considering that I just traded for a BT Elite 5 :p), but I don't think that they're what the OP is looking for. The Smith sound is nothing like that of the Modulus, but it might be fairly close to an Epic.

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