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NBD - Alembic!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wvbass, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I'm not sure if there is a bass that holds its value worse than an Alembic, so when you can find one, the price can be quite reasonable. But, they aren't exactly common in West Virginia. My father tracked this one down about 35 minutes from his house. I took the day off, and he and I went to check it out.

    It is a 1996 Alembic Orion. It has a five-piece maple neck, adjustable nut and set-neck construction. The body is mahogany with a thin layer of maple underneath a very nice flamed walnut top. (Actually, the guy that had it claimed it was bubinga; maybe you guys can tell me which of us is correct.) I has a few minor dings, but cleaned up very well. The worst dings are on the back of the neck at the volute.

    It is most definitely a "rescue bass." When I got it, it was missing a string. It had two flatwounds and two roundwounds on it. The nut was cranked up ridiculously high, as was the bridge. The top strap pin was missing and the bottom one had a huge washer on it and was only screwed in half way. The back plate is missing three of its five screws; I have already ordered replacements. On the plus side, it still has the original case, and inside were the wrenches and truss rod tool.

    I stopped at a local music store and pickup up gold straplocks and a set of strings. I cleaned it up and got the action dialed in with very little effort. I found that is has dual truss rods, and they worked very smoothly. The electronics are crisp and clean, and this bass can be very bright if you want it to be. It has deep, full low end and a very high output level. It has only been playable for a couple hours, so I really haven't formed an opinion about it yet, other than it easily took a very low-action and it is a modern sounding bass.

    Some quick, cell phone pics are below.

    0618141840a. 0618141839. 0618141840. 0618141728. 0618141628a. 0618141627a.
    Doctor J, lgrankin, PWRL and 9 others like this.
  2. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    absolutely beautiful bass. always preferred the europa 4+1 headstock over the orion 3+2. congrats on the new bass.
  3. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    The only opinion for that bass is "awesome!". You've found quite an instrument there.

    Alembic can easily tell you the entire history of the bass by sending them the serial number.

    Good find! Hope the price was right.
  4. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    Very nice!
  5. Not sure what wood that is but I'm glad it was rescued.
  6. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    That's about as good as it gets, right there. The top on that thing is especially nice, even for Alembic. A life time gem, Congrats!
  7. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia

    Thanks! I will do that. As far as price, I paid a grand for it. So, I don't think I stole it, but I don't feel like I got taken, either.
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Very nice! One of the few basses I haven't owned. I played a used on a while back (can't remember the model) at a GC and it needed a little love as well. I do remember it felt great and had what I would call "piano like" tone. Very clear, rich, and tempting. It was a little heavy and I wasn't sure if what work it may have needed so I passed.

    Enjoy your beautiful bass. Amazing what just a little work can do for a bass.
  9. Bass1965


    May 3, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    That is a beautiful bass - congrats!
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Slide bass!
  11. allenhumble


    Oct 22, 2004
    Acworth GA.
    Top is walnut for sure. Nice looking bass
    Geri O likes this.
  12. UpperBout

    UpperBout Supporting Member

    Beautiful Bass! Congrats!

    Alembics are some of the best-constructed basses in the universe. You will love it.
  13. :woot:

  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Great bass!

    Walnut top for sure. Looks a bit like my curly walnut 5er....

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  15. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    I agree with the walnut top. That's too porous to be bubinga, and the color is much more walnut than bubinga.

    Great looking bass. I think you did well, especially if the electronics all work the way they should.
  16. Titania


    Aug 17, 2012
    Shirley, MA
    Congrats! Fantastic purchase! I recently purchased a 1997 4-string Orion fretless with the Essence Electronics upgrade. It's absolutely fabulous. Couldn't pry it out of my hands for the first month.

    The walnut top on yours is even better than the Walnut top on mine. Absolutely superb!

    If you're looking to return it to stock, those pup screws aren't stock either. They should be Phillips-head. And there shouldn't be 4 of them. 2 screws for each pup cover placed kitty-corner.
  17. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Beautiful!! Congrats!!
  18. jwj1701


    Nov 17, 2011
    Lexington KY
    Beautiful find. Congrats and enjoy
  19. UpperBout

    UpperBout Supporting Member

    Actually there are 4 screws per pickup. Two are above, kitty-corner, and two below. This configuration allows easy height and tilt adjustment.

    Check out this for manufacturer's info
  20. zongo


    Jan 17, 2006
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Awesome find! I love my 4-string Orion. If you get bored with this, pls let me know;)

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