Opinions about an Alembic Essence?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wehmas, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. Wehmas


    Oct 17, 2006
    Kotka, Finland
    'lo there, fellow rumblers!

    It just so happened that I stumbled into a bass guitar shop in Helsinki and found an Alembic Essence w/ a extraordinarily low price tag.

    Before surrendering to GAS, I would like to hear other people's opinions about these particular babies. Is it versatile? Is it sturdy?

    (Actually, I'm trying to convince myself that it's a piece of crap, so that I won't be getting into a fight with my girlfriend when the bass arrives home :)

    And sorry about my grammar, I'm not as fluent in English that I wished to be.

    The only thing that made me feel bad about the Alembic was the fact that I must sell my beloved MTD 535 to buy it.
  2. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Alembic seem to be a love-or-hate brand. I don't like them, because the few I have played were all very heavy with poor balance, chunky necks, and the sound didn't do it for me.

    But then, all Alembics are different, as they are not production basses, per se, but usually custom made.

    I would never change an MTD 535 for an Alembic (wel,, actually I don't think I would play an Alembic even if it was given to me for free) but only you can decide if you like it or not.

    In general, they are well regarded and are definitely quality instruments, made by an iconic company that prides in their choice of wood, craftmanship, electronics, and customer service.

    So, there. . . I'm not of any help. :meh:
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I had an Essence and thought it was great. If the one you see is in good shape, get ready to sleep on the couch for few nights!:help:
  4. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    I love the way neck-through Alembics are constructed - very solid. They contain military-spec electronic components, wiring and connectors. This translates to incredible durability. New Alembics are very, very expensive, but a decently-priced used Alembic gives you a lot for your money. The fretwork, fit and finishes are usually flawless. As far as sound goes, you would know best. Many Essences sound a bit on the modern, hifi side for my taste, but you would never find a better slap bass.

    The body woods vary some, but the standard is mahogany (often with maple tops, but other top woods are common). The necks are generally maple with an ebony board. The combination of mahogany, maple and ebony gives Alembics a smooth sound from lows to highs, with the ability to produce super clear highs (the ebony).

    The electronics that come standard in the Essence are relatively simple - vol, blend, low-pass filter. The low pass filter has a different feel from normal tone pots, but I think it makes it easier to get your sound once you are used to it.

    The Essence is a little bass (compared to most other Alembics) so it's going to be light and easy to handle. What can I say? Some folks love to bash Alembics just because they're Alembics. Having owned two myself, I can tell you there's nothing to bash. But you have to make up your own mind after you play it. If you like the sound and feel, it's built like a brick outhouse and will never let you down. They aren't very easy to find in your part of the globe, so if it's a good deal, you could always sell it for a good price if it wasn't for you. Good luck.
  5. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Give up a 535 for an Essence? Crazy talk!
  6. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    I just bought one but I won't have it til next week some time. I have played them before and I will say that I personally love them. The electronics are super clean and open sounding. The neck-through also contributes to an amazingly open sustained sound. Much more even tone and less forward midrange than you'll get in most basses these days.
  7. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I've owned a number of Alembics and still own two very nice ones. If I came across an Essence 5 string fretless for a reasonable price, I'd snap it up. Needless to say, I like Alembic basses and I like the Essence model.

    Now, if I had a 535 and somebody asked me to trade it straight up for an Essence, I probably wouldn't do it. I'd say that both basses are pretty much on par in terms of quality and workmanship, but they are so different in their approach to being a bass. I'd probably look for a way to acquire the Essence without losing the 535. Likewise, if someone asked me to trade one of my Alembic basses for a 535, I'd have them drug tested, but I'd snap up a 535 that showed up as a real bargain.


  8. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    The Essence(s?) I've tried were all superb sounding basses. It's funny, I recall them being so affordable a one point that I almost bought one...that was years ago though.

    I wouldn't trade a great bass for another great bass though...
  9. I don't know about the Essence but I would like an Alembic Elan, in black please
  10. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    They are indeed excellent basses. I really don't think you're going to go wrong with an Alembic. The name Alembic is pretty much synonomous with the highest quality in every respect. However, give this bass a lengthy play-test. Make sure the neck feel good to you, get a feel for it with a strap, test it through a couple of amps if possible, mess around with the onboard EQ. If it feels good to you, drop the MTD and go for it!
  11. Metropolis_488

    Metropolis_488 Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2006
    I had an Epic 5 string that I got rid of only because I never really got into the 5 string thing.
    I can say that it sounded great and really was built like a tank. Loved the feel, fit and finish.
    I would love to get a used 4 string Epic or Orion again...
  12. Wehmas


    Oct 17, 2006
    Kotka, Finland
    No, I'm not going to trade it straight up to the essence.
    It just so happens that the MTD's 35"-scale is just too big for me. It doesn't hinder me when playing eight-notes, but when doing big arpeggios, my fingers just won't stretch enough.

    I love the MTD's sound, though, and the bolt-on neck truly gives the beast a nasty attack. The Alembic's neck-thru-construction gives me really good vibes, and the body's resonation is so much fuller. It was a really funny feeling when I got home from Helsinki, and grabbed my MTD for some playing. I mean it, it really felt that the MTD just doesn't sound like anything, compared to the Alembic. Anyway, I'm going back to Helsinki next week and do a little A/B-test with both of the basses.
  13. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Well, I'll just congratulate you on your new bass now then...

  14. lowtide

    lowtide Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2006
    Bradenton, Florida
    Owner: Buzzard's Bass Shop
    There are two reasons right there not to buy it. Have you heard this Alembic?
  15. Wehmas


    Oct 17, 2006
    Kotka, Finland

    Yes, I've tried the bass. Check the previous messages.

    There was also a nice WAL custom bass hanging in the store, but the electronics scheme was a _bit_ too much for me.
  16. balzary


    Oct 28, 2004
    This is what you need, it's calling your name....

  17. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    Essence is great bass, much easier to play than my stingray, also its sustain is incredible (mine is all maple construction), but is quite different than series I , I 've played, which is class for itself...
  18. Wehmas


    Oct 17, 2006
    Kotka, Finland
    Yeah, that one sure is , but I'd better take that one as my second bass. Stop bugging me, isn't Muusikoiden.net enough? :D

    Anyway, if anyone here is looking for a great seven-string bass, buy that one. Cheap and versatile. Not to mention the good looks and the great sound.
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