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What sounds like a ric, sits like a Carl Thompson, plays like an Alembic??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dickfitts, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. dickfitts


    Jan 18, 2012
    What sounds like a Ric, sits like a Carl Thompson, and plays like an Alembic?? Not a riddle...

    Sorry, I know, super-obnoxious and basically asinine, right? I may soon be in a position to finally drop some major coin on an axe, and probably won't be able to do so again for quite some time. I know what I want, just...are there any luthiers in particular y'all can bring to mind offhand who might exemplify these traits? What kind of woods and such? Thank you all for being alive. Take care!
  2. Richard_P_Harve


    May 19, 2011
    Okay I'll bite, what...? Oops you said it's not a riddle, then nothing...!
  3. You could order a custom triple neck! Each neck would have it's own matching pickups. One Ric-style neck, One CT-style Neck, and One Alembic-style neck. It wouldn't be hard to pick you out of a crowd after that.
  4. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    A light rick with a plek job.
  5. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Really I see two components to the bass that are important to you...

    Vintage sounds; Modern playability.


    1. Buy some pickups from Rickenbacker, have wood covers made for them, and install them in a well balanced bass with a thin neck.

    2. Buy a Wal. Add 3 lbs to the body for balance. Fly to the moon. You have a boutique bass with classic sounds, and it now only weighs 2.3lbs!

    3. Buy a Ric. Send it to Carl Thompson to have a new neck built for it. Get laughed at by Carl. Cry.

    4. Buy an Alembic. Smoke some weed. Stop caring.

    5. Buy all 3. Play each one when you desire it's specific attributes. Succeed.

    Quentin Hunt likes this.
  6. Vakmere


    Sep 6, 2007
    ^^ this
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm going to attempt a serious answer. Some of us have not played all three. So you might want to get more specific as to the traits you desire in a bass. Rather than "plays like this" or "sounds like that", how about start with the style of music, or someone who's tone you wish to cop. Maybe get into how you want it to feel (low action, thin neck, not head heavy, etc.). And what you want it to look like.

    I would wager that at least 80% of people here have never played all three basses you mentioned (heck I've have never even seen a Carl Thompson in person and I have been playing for more than 2 decades), so that knocks out a bunch of people who could otherwise help you out.
  8. awesomesawyer


    Aug 27, 2012
    you could probably get someone to make you something with an exact replica of a CT body, some real ric pickups, and an exact copy (or an actual one) of an alembic neck.
  9. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Quite honestly... being that I own a CT and currently 2 Rics (and a few more previously) and I've played Alembics, my silly answer above isn't too far off...

    An Alembic is kinda like a Wal and a Carl Thompson had a kid together. Fancy preamp, fancy woodwork, and the simpler models (epic, essence, etc) are gerally lightweight, much like a Carl Thompson. I think you're confused if you think an alembic will 'play' better than a CT though... the heel block that Carl implements into his instruments greatly improves playability, and allows his longer scale instruments to 'feel shorter' by bringing the nut closer to the player's shoulder, and the 12th fret closer to the right hand (assuming of course that you're right handed).

    This is better shown with pictures.... Here's one of my former rics (33 1/4" Scale) and my CT (38" scale) big difference, right? If you've played a ric, you know that 4 3/4" more scale would be impossible to play.


    Here's the ric's 12th fret:


    ...and the CT's


    The nut for the CT and the ric are in exactly the same spot when you rest either on your knee. Honestly... that playability is NOT possible from an Alembic, no matter which way you slice it- the construction just doesn't allow for the same playability! Looks like all you're interested in is a Carl Thompson that sounds like a ric. My honest recommendation if you REALLY want a CT that sounds like a Ric? Look for an older Carl Thompson in the scale you'd prefer with 2 pickups. Buy some rickenbacker pickups and have them installed.

    Or again.. buy both. Seriously.
  10. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest

    I might have to borrow both of those basses to see for myself I'm not convinced sir.
  11. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Don't have that ric anymore unfortunately... I had to let it go to get back into the Wal club. :)

    My '73 and '68 4001's are much better basses than that 4001c64 was anyways. I do miss that reverse headstock looking at the pics though... damn...
  12. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I haven't owned all three (just Rics I think) but I've played multiple examples of each.

    Seems to me like the OP wants an well made custom bass. Rickenbacker pickups, maple CT-esque body, Alembic-ish neck profile.

    For a non-custom option (ha!), I used to own a Ritter that covered all that pretty well in single coil mode. Not as thin as a CT, but similar vibe.
  13. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    One of these?


    (custom Shuker bass)
  14. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    C470, CO
    Another consideration might be to check out Fodera.

    I can approximate a Ric sound and I think it plays much better than an Alembic.
    Unfortunately never had the opportunity to play a CT but have heard nothing but praise.
  15. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i always thought the carvin brian bromberg with the long upper horn and weight in the lower rear bout would hang like a carl thompson. order an all maple body (like a ric) with single coil pickups (like a ric) and you might be close. i think the ricks get alot of the tone from the all maple body, and some CT's are made that way too. older ricks have the capictor in the bridge pickup to take out the low end, so you could do that with eq, or if you're used to the sound of newer ricks without that cap then you're all set. ricks also have unique pickup positions, but i think if you favor the neck pickup and EQ, you can get close, but definately not exact.
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    For my own piece of mind I really should take a look at all of those basses do a complete evaluation and report my findings I do believe eight months should be enough time.
  17. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Forgot about this one....


    If I was going to have a custom ric style instrument built, it'd probably be something like this. Still won't fix the playability or comfort issues of this body shape and construction, but damn is it pretty. :)
  18. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    What's your address, Mjac? I'll have them shipped over this afternoon....
  19. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I think the first step is to clarify what each of those things mean.

    When you say, "sound like a Ric", are you looking for a passive bass with Ric pickups in the correct positions and the same controls as the 4003? Or do you want something that's simply similar in sound?

    When you say "sits like a Carl Thompson" do you simply mean balance? Or do you want a body shape very close to a CT?

    And lastly, when you say "plays like an Alembic" are you referring to the setup, the fretboard radius, the scale length, the neck profile, fit and finish or some combination of these (or more)?

    Part of designing a dream bass is either knowing exactly what specs you want or having a luthier you trust or some combination of the two. How many strings, what scale length, what pickups, bolt on or neck through, what body shape, what radius, what neck profile etc.

    If it were my project I'd take it to the luthier I work with and trust - Chris Stambaugh.

    I'd ask for a 33" neck through construction bass with a maple neck (possibly with stringers for added stiffness) and maple wings and a thin body with the shape focused on balance. I'd use Ric pickups (or possibly custom Aeros) to get the sound I want (and I'd likely add a transparent preamp with a passive mode for more tonal options) and shape all the other specs to what I like.

    What you're asking for should be doable. The trick is just narrowing down exactly what you're asking for.

    FWIW, my almost finished Stambaugh was built to cop a modern/vintage vibe and should sound somewhat Ric-like with the three single coil pickups. Passive wiring with volume, tone and a five position pickup selector. And just like my previous Stambaughs I know it will balance great and play fantastic.

  20. dickfitts


    Jan 18, 2012
    Wow...Thank you all so much! Even...and, in a way...ESPECIALLY...the wiseasses. Y'all have been genuinely helpful. For those that asked, and maybe just to stir the pot a little...though I'm in no way a huge Manowar guy, I love the bass tone on Sting of the Bumblebee, and of course Geddy Lee's 70s stuff too...AND Rodney Skeet Curtis to boot, depending on the situation. Not to say anything against any of the incredible instruments being produced today, but for myself, I feel like impeccable clarity and depth don't necessarily have to conflict with general ballsiness, and perhaps between four or so knobs both can coexist on one instrument. The one CT I've been privileged to play sat, on the strap, about where Mr. Zentner's kind picture representation did. But alas, I'm a 34" 5-string guy, and Carl is, to my understanding, perhaps backed up beyond the next age of Mayan calendarage. Necks...play an MTD Kingston, a Peavey Foundation and an ibanez exb 445 right now, and am a huge fan of Soundgears...fast, sleek lil' numbers, I suppose, 19mm spacing. Skinny bodies too, I suppose in a few areas...

    I guess I'll take y'all's advice and a)check out a Wal, which I've never done, b)go see Chris Stambaugh, just 'cause he's roughly around the corner and I've really wanted to since a long time ago, and...c)probably go with the larger consensus of maple body, ric picks, and some awesome luthier that can deal with my nonsense half as well as you folks have. Thank you all so much, again!!!
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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