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Need Recommendation

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Phumsorn, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Phumsorn


    Nov 27, 2000
    Alembic "Stanley Clark" or Ken Smith - neck thru body
    I would order to buy one of them from aboard and ship it to my house. So, I can't touch or try it. But I just believe in the brand name and hope it will be very good bass.

    Can you guy give me some advise which one should be taken? or guide me where can I find some review from?

  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY

    Don't believe that the brand name automatically means that it'll be a good fit for you. I can't begin to count the number of used Alembics out there.
  3. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Having owned each of these basses and having played on practically everything in the Alembic and Ken Smith lines I can say this:

    If you like/want/need a short scale (30 3/4")bass and don't mind having a heavy instrument (11 - 13 lbs), the Alembic Stanley Clarke is your bass.

    If you prefer a regular (34") scale bass that is fairly well weight proportioned, most Ken Smith basses will fit those requirements.

    Have you played the two basses you're considering back to back? IME they play and sound totally different from each other. At the point in time that I owned both (my Ken Smith was a Burner, not one of the higher end models) I found the Stanley Clarke to have more tonal variation. It excelled at crystal clear highs and could get good mid-range honk and some decent low end growl. The Burner had excellent mid-range and some decent high end. The Burner was punchier. The Stanley Clarke had unbelievable sustain. Even though the Clarke was a short scale, the Ken Smith was "easier to play". I think this is because the Smith was a 5 string and the Clarke was a 4. Also, the neck on the Clarke has very little taper compared to the Smith. Depends on what you like.

    In my opinion both are fine basses, but I would suggest that if you are not certain about wanting or needing a short scale, you may want to consider other Alembic models (Mark King, Orion, Rogue, Series I or II) as more apples to apples comparisons to a higher end Ken Smith.


  4. BTW - you can order ANY Alembic and spec it in 'Short-scale' for only a few bux... you can make a pretty KILLER custom Alembic for less than the price of a "Stanley Clarke Signature"

    here is one i was pondering a while back....

    4 string 3000.00
    Right-handed 0.00
    Short scale - 30-3/4 inches 125.00
    Maple neck w/walnut pinstripes 0.00
    Ebony fingerboard 0.00
    Fretted 0.00
    Classic fingerboard taper (narrow) 0.00
    No inlays 0.00
    No front LEDs 0.00
    Bronze side dots 0.00
    Crown peghead 0.00

    Zebrawood top 0.00
    Bookmatched top 0.00
    Mahogany body 0.00
    Bird's-eye maple back 350.00
    Polyester clear gloss finish 0.00
    Small Standard body shape 0.00

    Bronze logo and script 0.00
    Bridge block 0.00
    Bird tailpiece 0.00
    Brass truss rod cover 0.00
    Brass backplate(s) 50.00
    Chrome plated hardware 400.00
    Gold Alembic Gotoh machine heads 0.00
    Gold strap pins 0.00

    Essence electronics 0.00

    Total Price
    Essence Quotation 3925.00

    Alembic Custom Quote Maker
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    And a good dealer can deliver that to you for about $2,400


  6. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City


    okay, I'll stop now...:D
  7. Hey Malthumb, I've wondered for a long time, is the pickup looking thing between the two regular pickups a phantom coil, or just another pup?

    JRBrown, that's one nice lookin' Smith. Good quality photo too.

    Mike J.
  8. About the only thing these two basses have in common is the fact that they both have 4 strings and they both play in the register. There is a lot of middle ground between them. You are trying to choose beween 2 extreems.
  9. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Mike J.,

    That thing in the middle is called a humcanceller. The two pickups are both single coil and the humcanceller sits between them. If you glance up to the picture that shows the back of the bass, on the right side directly above the "k" in "Mark", you may be able to see 4 tiny holes lined up. The two in the center are access holes to the pot to adjust the frequencies that the humcanceller operates at. The two on the outside adjust the output of the two pickups. These holes are more visible on basses that have the brass backplates. Spoiled brat that I am I ordered it with continuous wood.

    ...and yes, JRBrown's Ken Smith is definitely gas-worthy.


  10. Oh check you out. :D

    You just settled a 20 year mystery. Everytime I saw Stanley playing one of his Alembics, I thought it was a 3 pup bass. You straightened that out. Thanks very much, Malthumb.

    Mike J.