Who's got an Alembic?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flatwound, Feb 16, 2001.

  1. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I have only played one once, and if I recall correctly, it weighed slightly more than the average battleship anchor. Still, I find them fascinating, moreso than most boutique basses, and I'd like to know what you think of yours.

    As you can see, I like Precisions, so I'd also like to know if your Alembic can get a nice, deep thumpy tone (please note that I didn't ask if you could make it sound like a Precision :) ).
  2. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I have a '90 4-string Alembic Essence neck-through, flamed maple over ash with ebony board. It is a very hi-fi sounding bass, very playable, smallish body, great for slap (if you like Stanley Clark's slap tone). But no, it doesn't sound anything like a Precision, it is as opposite to it as can be.
  3. Persuader


    Feb 7, 2001
    I've got an '87 Alembic persuader(spoiler body) with a P-J EMG setup and i can make it sound similar to the '65 precision i borrowed from my friend! To do so you have to pluck the strings closer to the neck base which is the position my fingers hit the P/bass.To me the alembic is a work of art and the P is very crude and plays much harder, but it hasn't been setup. The alembic was bottom of their line at $1600 list, the body is mahogany with a rosewood top i think, and ebony fretboard, jumbo frets and it sustains beautifully unplugged.It is a few lbs heavier than the P and i prefer a heavier guitar or bass myself... the thing just feels sleek and is a joy to play.I got it from a friend who needed rent money 10 yrs ago for $500 and a half loaded marshall cab.I also have the '65 P owner's Alembic Distillate and it is about as heavy, maybe more and sounds/plays great and has all the Q switches and tone shapers- kind of a pain to keep track of but still a fine instrument.I would buy all Alembics i could afford having owned ricks,jazz and i used P's too!! But there are many basses i haven't played so who knows?
  4. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Well, like I say, I think they're beautiful, fascinating instruments, and I like the fact that every single one of them is made by the same people in the same place. I'm just wondering what they're like to live with and play gigs with, etc.

    I've had one set-neck bass so far, and it was pretty good. Alembics are all set neck or neck-through, as far as I know.

    I will add, however, that now that I've had a Precision for my main bass for about a year, after having a lot of other instruments, I can finally understand why Precisions are so incredibly popular.
  5. Great bass for the $ I have an Epic 4 fretless which is their most inexpensive model. I epoxied the neck so I could use roundwounds.
    I use it for altered tunings & handles it all very nicely because of the dual trussing system.
    I use it for recording and live. Has great cut thru tone when needed, but also has a really thick creamy bottom...kinda like J. Lopez!
  6. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I have an Elan 5, the sound is excellent, modern sound. Hardly play with it because the string spacing is so tight, only 15 mm , very hard to slap, only good for fingering. Electronic too simple, B string is a bit sloppy.
  7. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I play an Essence 5 string and it has been my main giggin' bass for about four years now. I think Alembic's are the true Cadillac of basses. Some may prefer other basses, but their proprietary electronics and craftsmanship give their entire line of basses that incorporate the "low pass filter" their distinct tone.

  8. I have a six string Tobias with an Alembic pup and nonQ preamp, does that count? Half count?
  9. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Got two Alembics, an Epic 6 and a wonderful Custom 5 fretless. Yes, they can get the strongest low-end sound of anything out there. And they also have an amazing top-end. Lotta players either love 'em or sorta hate 'em for some reason. I love 'em. They're heavy as a water-soaked log. If you can stand the weight, there's nothing quite like 'em on a gig.
  10. My Alembic Series I short scale is first class.

    It´s actually a tough bass because if you have a bad day, your audience will hear it !
    They are not as forgiving as let´s say a Precision.

    For me Alembic basses are special as they more or less started the highend era of the electric bassguitar.

    I also own a Squire Jazz from 1983 wich also
    is first class although a totally different kind of instrument.

    All bassguitar players should play and view
    a few Alembic instruments, if you like them or not that´s another case.

    Kind regards,
    Christian V
  11. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I owned an '87 fretless Spoiler 4 string on two different occasions. It was one of only two Alembics I've ever seen that was painted; mine was white. I perhaps unwisely stripped the paint off and finished the maple neck and body with oil and wax. It had an amazing sound, from deep and boomy to snotty midrange growl, and the 32" scale gave it a unique harmonic structure and sleek feel. The string spacing was almost exactly the same at the bridge and nut and the hard, dark ebony board really made notes sing. I was never completely comfortable with the overall layout and ergonomics of that bass, and it was really heavy. It sounded fabulous in small groups but it didn't cut through drums and loud guitars so I ended up selling it and getting a fretless Peavey Cirrus 5 that is every bit as good and better suited to my needs.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I bought a brand new Series I two Summers ago, for $5700 off retail. It had excellent fit and finish and sounded like an Alembic. I didn't keep it.
  13. I got an '84 Spoiler about a month ago; I actually traded a Precision for it, so this thread is one I can speak to. . . .

    I've never heard another bass that had the famous lows and warm-yet-unmuffled highs of the P I traded away (but I needed a slappy-toy bass!). However, the combined-pu position on the Spoiler comes much closer than I would have imagined it would -- it's actually a more vintage-y sound than the combined-pu position on a rosewood-board '96 American Jazz I have.

    Combine that with the potential for instant Stanley-tone, and the Spoiler has given me nothing short of a bass-playin' fiesta!