Why are so many Alembics being bought and sold these days?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jazzyvee, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. For the sound & build quality

  2. Because one of my favourite bass players owns one

  3. Tried one once and loved it.

  4. It was a Birthday or Christmas Present

    0 vote(s)
  5. Price was right

  6. I haven't yet

  7. I wouldn't buy one

  8. I would if i found one in my budget

  9. Never played one

  10. Never heard one.

    0 vote(s)
  11. It's not the best bass for Metal :-)

    0 vote(s)
  12. It is the best bass for metal.

  1. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I had been looking for the "right" Alembic Series I short scale bass in the right condition and price for around 10 years and eventually found one late last year.
    Over that time I have been watching a number of places on line including ebay and dealers around the globe and have noticed that in the last couple of years there seems to be more alembics up for sale and being bought and sold on the used market than I recall at any other time. I know some of the older ones are now appearing around the "affordable" price bracket now but their prices are still generally above other new pro instruments by other makers. I haven't seen any new big name players coming through who use alembic basses significantly and alembic don't do big advertising or endorsements. Has anyone got any views as to what the "recent" interest is?

    If you have bought one for the first time or returning to the fold, what was it that attracted you to alembic?
  2. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    The more anything is bought and sold, the general consensus is, it's worthwhile to both the buyer and seller to do so.
    kkaarrll and Ewo like this.
  3. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    It seemed like there had been a decline of Alembic buy/sell activity for quite some time. Recently it seems like there's lots of activity.

    If I am totally honest, my first reason for buying was "Because one of my favourite bass players owns one" (John Entwistle)

    But the reason for any subsequent purchases has definitely been "For the sound & build quality"
  4. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    The first one I heard live was played by Tom Fowler at a Zappa concert in 1974. I had no idea what it was. A little later that year, I heard Stanley Clarke on the televised PBS Chicago production Soundstage (which can now be seen on YouTube). Of course, Stanley's playing as well as the RTF music style was impressively ground breaking for the time. Still is, for that matter.

    Then, I actually ran into one of the basses in Music, Strings, n Things on Woodward in Detroit (Royal Oak), was floored by the sound and build quality, and promptly sold my car and bought it (and a carved upright bass). That was a long scale Series I, and I played that bass as my only bass for 12 years, with and without and then with frets.

    I later traded that bass for a Hollywood Tobias 5, which I still have; but, only after I had acquired a short scale Series I, which had better ergonomics for me. I still have the short scale.
    An Alembic Story

    They are amazing instruments. The makers are a first class bunch of folks. I believe they have been VERY fairly priced on the used market over the years.

    The one thing that has made other basses more competitive with Alembic, IMO, has been the growth of the dedicated small custom builders and vast improvements in our onboard and Outboard preamp technology; and those developments have made choices more varied. When Alembic came on the scene, we mainly only had passive basses and big tube amps. Ron Wickersham's preamp coupled with Rick Turner's lutherie were ground breaking. The context today, in terms of tones needed on the gig and availability of other improved bass builds, has created a very different market situation.
    Geri O and swood_de like this.
  5. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Because all the guys who ever wanted one are in or around my age group. Kids are grown, out of the house, now they can finally afford one. If you have one you can easily flip it to buy another one etc. etc. I still can't afford one however :)
    BeeTL likes this.
  6. mp40smg


    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    I think these things are largely coincidence. And planetary alignment.

    It just always seems that you will see all of a sudden that X are all over the sell ads. while there a none of Y. Then when you are looking for Y all you find is X. Until you actually find and buy the Y, at that point all you see is Ys at substantially better prices than you paid.

    The corollary seems to be:
    That you see so many of X at great prices.
    You notice there is a complete lack of Y at any price.
    You currently have a Y. And it seems like everybody is looking for one and is in the market to buy one at all sorts of over inflated prices.

    Now you have seen X so much and read all of the fanboy reviews telling you that even at $xxx it is like 50x better than the 10k Fodera.

    And now you now have to have one.

    Then you finally find a buyer for your Y, at less than you hoped for. Because all of sudden all of those "I have cash I am ready to buy at any price" have scattered like cockroaches, or all just had some tragic cash draining made up event ( a UFO just crashed into my roof and now i have to have it repaired. As it is not covered by insurance as the aliens were Illegal and it was a hit and run).

    You are lusting after the X.

    You buy the X and realize now that everybody who listed them was selling and dumping them.

    But as they all had buyers remorse they all had to talk up these bass so that could unload them on suckers who believe internet fanboy reviews.

    Now you want your Y back.

    But, now you find out the X you just bought was from the same guy that you undersold your Y to. And he never wants to see the X again, and is extremely happy with your Y...

    just the way these things go..

    your milage may vary
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
    bucephylus likes this.
  7. mp40smg


    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    And... the moral of the above..

    If you buy your Epic 6 from Guitar center brand new for 2k.. Don't be an idiot and sell it like I did.
    And yes I have been looking for a replacement for a long time.
    bucephylus likes this.
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Stanley Clarke had one, I bought his albums, and then got a Series I either medium or short scale.
    Sold it b/c the neck flexed when I (donned in spandex and long hair) jumped around a lot and it had the XLR type cord requirement vs wireless. It helped pay to move us to Texas in 1989 from New Orleans.

    May get one again....or not.
    Prices may be depressed some due to a lot of folks not being economically viable.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I got a little chuckle out of that bit of information.
    bucephylus likes this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    They advertise regularly in VG.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Local guitar store had one. Wasn't bass personalities and in fact at that time I'd never heard of Alembic. In fact, I was such a high end noob that I'd never even seen flamed maple before in person! And I was in LOVE! Just HAD to have one. So I ordered one just like the store's demo, only in fretless and 6 string (talk about jumping into the deep end of the pool!) My only regret is that the Alembic they got in once they sold mine and the flamed maple was burled walnut! WOW! I wish I"d seen that first! (especially now that flamed maple is so common everywhere). But top wood is just cosmetic anyway and I still love it after all these years. Of course at the time I bought it it was WAY too much bass for me. It took quite a while until I felt like I was playing the Alembic rather than it was playing me.
  12. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Didn't vote; not because there was no "carrot" category - this time - but because my reason for buying an Alembic wasn't there. I had an unfilled spot in my bass herd several years ago for "Active Bass". The first lefty active 4-string that popped up on the "Bay was a '96 Epic. I did a little research; decided the Buy It Now price was reasonable; and bought the thing. So, my reason for having an Alembic was Pure Chance... or, maybe Fate. I'm certainly not sorry I bought it, but it seems a singularly inappropriate bass for 99% of what I like to play - like Eddie Cochran's Summertime Blues, for instance....:rolleyes:
  13. What makes you think this? Where do you get your information? Perhaps that's just your perception since you've joined Talkbass. I've known about them since before they actually were Alembic and don't see it. Have you ever bought a new car and THEN seen the same kind of car everywhere? Perhaps your awareness of them has changed.
    jazzyvee and GregC like this.
  14. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    California Republic
    Ditto - great story!

    I briefly had a Rogue 4-string; it was not a good fit for me, but the quality of the materials and workmanship was outrageous. And I do wonder what a 5-string Europa, with 18 or 19mm spacing, would be like. Some of my favorite bass sounds of all time have been powered by Alembic - Stanley Clarke, most definitely, and Jimmy Johnson doing his Flim and the BBs stuff.
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Yup. This.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  16. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    True but that is a fairly recent thing and very little compared to some of the big brands.
  17. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    That's EXACTLY my story. I want to see Zappa and the Mothers at the Capital Theater in beautiful Passaic New Jersey on November 8, 1974 (first show). The incredible Tom Fowler was the bass player. I was only about 20 rows back, so I could see his bass clearly but I had no clue what it was. He hit each open string and played a short run during sound check and my jaw dropped. It was the sound I have been hearing in my head, but was unable to re-create with my Gibson Ripper. Then, I saw Stanley Clarke with Return to Forever few months later, and he was playing one too. Around the same time he was on the cover of "Bass Player" and in the article he talked about his Alembic A couple of years later I ran into a one at a local music store, played it and I was hooked.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    jazzyvee and bucephylus like this.
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    No doubt, the same Zappa tour. I happened to catch the show at the theater in Waterbury CT. Non-music related memory of that show is that it was general admission; so, we arrived early to get decent seats. That was an old time theater with glass doors across the front. When they opened the doors, they only opened a few, and the crowd surge nearly led to smashed glass across the front. A truly scary moment of out of control crowd behavior. That freaked me out.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Don't feel too badly. It ONLY took me about 18 years to figure out my Sadowsky Outboard preamp.:rollno::sour:
  20. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Thread drift: Was that the night Elvin Bishop was the warm-up act and he basically got booed off the stage after 20-30 minutes? That was my first concert too! (Or rather, my first concert without parental supervision; my Dad had taken me to see Bo Diddley a year or two prior to this.)
    bucephylus likes this.