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Please help w/Alembic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jsonnenblick, Jan 22, 2001.


  1. Hi. I just got an oldish Alembic in trade -- but I don't know what model it is! I got it from a guy who buys/sells/trades all the time, and he is really a "Fender & Gibson guy." So he has no clue. . .

    The bass has a 32" scale, a 3-piece neck with no stringers, a 2/2 headstock, a wider-than usual body and curved, asymmetrical horns. So the body kind'a looks like what would happen if you bred a "normal," pointy-horned Alembic with a Ken Smith BSRB.

    Also, the electronics are confusing: a 4-way rotary switch (one position is "off"; are the others front/both/rear PU's?), a 2-way switch (can't tell what it does, but it seems to affect the "Q" knob somehow), a "Q" knob that makes the usual Alembic wah-wah sound when you turn it fast, and a master volume.

    So what is this thing? What's its book value (in fair condition)? And what do the switches do???

    Thanks, and rock on. . .
     
  2. grooveguru

    grooveguru

    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    Try e-mailing your post to Alembic they should be able to help you out. Maybe sending the serial number along will help them provide you with even more info about your bass such as date, model, any particulars.
     
  3. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    If you could post a picture that would be great. Mainly from your description of the electronics, I'm guessing that you likely have come across a Series I or possibly a custom Spoiler. Alembic should have no problem giving you the particulars if you provide them with the serial number.

    Congratulations

    Bones
     
  4. Mik Walker

    Mik Walker Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 1999
    Hmmm, does sound slightly odd. As has been suggested, get on to Alembic with Serial number for a full response. I suggest calling them as their email response is unpredictable (and Mica is away at NAMM at the moment anyway)

    You might also like to join us over at the Alembic club on Yahoo. If you have pictures of the bass available I'm sure you'd get a lot of assistance there too.

    The electronics sound non-standard assuming this is a 2-pickup bass? There would normally be two Q controls and Q switches (one set for each pickup) plus a volume control for each pickup and a Master volume for the Series I electronics. (The Q switch varies the width of the frequencies boosted at the lo-pass rollover point plus also affect the amount of boost). The 2-way switch seems odd also although it might just be a mono-stereo modification. Does the bass have a 5-pin XLR in/output and external power supply?

    Cheers

    Mik
    Series II has constantly variable Q so there's be no Q switch.
     
  5. Thanks for the advice so far. I did send an inquiry (with serial #) to Alembic, but they're at NAMM until 1/24.

    BTW, how does one get to the Alembic club on Yahoo.com?

     
  6. Mik Walker

    Mik Walker Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 1999
  7. The bass you have is a Distilate model. It was the first of their models with scaled down electronics. Instead of having the dual compliment of the full blown Alembic tone circuit you had 1 master tone circuit that was a little scaled down to have a longer battery life and getting rid of the umbilical power supply.
     
  8. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    It sounds exactly like a Spoiler-I picked up a used '86 fretless for $750 with case 11 years ago. My Spoiler had the wide, rounded body, 3-piece thru-body neck with maple wings, 2 humbuckers and the exact electronic set-up you described. The 2-way switch affects the function of the Q knob; in the up position it behaves like a typical high-cut tone knob, while in the down position the knob controls the frequency at which the filter operates. This setup was great for getting really nasty, honking tones on the bridge pickup.
    I love the standby position on the pickup selector, and while there's no external blend control, there are two trimpots on the circuit board inside the immaculate control cavity that control individual pickup volumes.
    The 32" scale is interesting; it's long enough to get a deep tone, but it's a lot less punchy and not as well defined in the midrange. IMHO, 32" is an excellent scale length for a fretless because you don't have to stretch far to reach notes in the lower positions. My Spoiler sounded absolutely fabulous in groups without a drumset but couldn't cut through loud bands with drums--although a fretted one would probably cut through very well. I sold mine and got a Peavey Cirrus fretless 5 which is every bit as good as the Alembic.
     
  9. Slightly off subject, but I have an Alembic pickup (the type with the name recessed in the cover) and an Alembic preamp that consists of vol, treble, bass and blend pots, all with their own separate circuit boards. I had two pups, but one got badly damaged, so I've put the one, and the preamp minus the blend control, into my Korean Tobias six string. The results are GREAT! Now the bass has a real character, and a very sweet sound. I have tried a Seymour Duncan preamp with the original pups, and that was good, and a Bartolini setup, and that was good too, but the Alembic beats them hands down.
     
  10. Thanks, everyone, for the info.

    I called Alembic last night, and they looked up the serial # (I guess only some of the staff went to NAMM). It's a 1984 Spoiler with a Koa top.

    By the way, this bass sounds INCREDIBLE to my ears. My 2 other "good" basses are a Warwick Thumb BO 5 and a custom 5-string with a Modulus neck, EMG J-style PU's, and a downsized bubinga body (although I'm trying to sell the Modulus to try & get a Fender Roscoe Beck for less modern sounds). Anyway, I played a rehearsal with guitar & drums on Sunday, and the Alembic definitely had the roundest tone of the three, with a deep, defined fundamental that the Warwick doesn't have and a high-end openness that the Modulus lacks.

    Plus, despite the closeness of the front pu to the neck, this bass is a party for slapping!