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wishbass
Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 135
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 3:53 pm:   Edit Post

I've gone back(way back) into the archived threads ,and have found some info on the subject.I know that the older body styles have been said to balance differently than the more Fender style( Elans, Europas,Rogue etc.).The balance point is different, and the necksset is shifted due to bridge position in relation to the woodmass behind it(btw,even on my Elan the neck is set further left,and 1st position farther away than on my stingray or my jazz). I like the Spoiler/Persuader body,but wonder if it would hang pointing to 2 o'clock without neck dive, and how far of a reach it would be to 1st.I play strapped high rather than slung low, so reach and neck angle matter. Any observations from those of you w/first hand experiance (on any bodystyle)would be welcome.
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2901
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 11:35 pm:   Edit Post

Spoilers and Persuaders are usually medium scale, so that's 2" less to worry about. The older styles do have a rather wide body, so when you play it strapped high I find it's easy to control the playing angle with my elbow. The reach on my 32" Spoiler is about the same as on my 34" Epic.
dfung60
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 538
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 6:08 am:   Edit Post

The reason that the "original" Alembic body shapes have different balance than a Fender is a combination of a couple of factors.

The biggest one is the through-body design. This means that there's not a big square neck joint where the body and neck are fastened and which limits high-fret access on a Fender. This allowed Alembics to have 24 frets instead of 21 and they were accessible by shaving the body at the joint so you could more easily play them. On a regular P-bass, you run into the neck heel at the 15th fret. On an Alembic, the neck is clear until the 20th or 21st fret. That's most of the inches of shift right there.

The other part of the big balance difference is that the upper horn of most Alembic bodies is very short relative to a Fender. If you look at a P-Bass, the strap button is usually around the 12th fret. On an Alembic with a point body, the strap button is above the 17th fret and with the symmetrical body (like Stanley's brown bass) it's above the 22nd fret! You really feel the short cutaway since this is what's positioning the instrument when it's on a strap.

The "waist" of the body is what sets up your sitting position with the bass. On Alembics, the position of the waist is set so that the balance is relatively neutral, but because the geometry is so different, the nut is still a longer reach for you than on a Fender.

Not that there's anything wrong with that! It's just different, but these are the causes of neck dive when on a strap.

This is more of a factor with Series basses than the later designs which all have a longer upper horn, from the Distillate on.

David Fung
wishbass
Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 137
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 1:46 pm:   Edit Post

Thankyou both. This confirms some of my thoughts.Sounds like adding an inch or two on the upper horn might help if it looked right. As for the neck shift, that might be trickier. I've become more comfortable with the Elan, but I can't quit let it hang at the sweet spot for slapping( although it is just fine for fingerstyle), and have to let sit lower or the reach feels awkward in 1st and 2nd position.More input from our more experienced members is greatly appreciated.I have seen that many of you have ,and have had, many different Alembics,and are used to switching up.
bonesrad
Member
Username: bonesrad

Post Number: 78
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 9:12 pm:   Edit Post

I have a Europa that I wear higher as opposed lower when strapped. I find the balance great with no problems reaching 1st position and no neck dive issues. I'm guessing you are finding a similar situation with your Elan.

Bones
wishbass
Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 138
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 9:31 pm:   Edit Post

Bones, you're right.I've grown accostomed to my Elan. It balances beautifully,and although 1st was a reach at first, I've also become more comfortable w/it.When the time comes to build, it might be what I use as a template.That being said,I've always loved the Spoilers since the early 80's when I first saw them.They were forbidden fruit(a local shop wouldn't let me even touch one...I was a teenager),and so I really wanted to pusue it as an option.That is why I have a concern about balance/dive.It looks like I might have to consider customising the body(unless it looks stupid).If not,I can always build an Elan which would still be wonderful!
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2754
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 11:24 pm:   Edit Post

Wshbass, as you know I have an Elan 4, Europa/Elan 5 and an Europa 5. Now these all balance perfectly though all have different strap heights. I don't know actually how that happened but they feel more comfortable at these heights. None hang really high nor low slung, I never use a pick so thats not a factor in the height equation, but I do mostly play with the side of my finger pads similar to clarkee & Aston Barrett so that again may be a factor in the strap height and hang angle. ( I'm sure there must be a mathematical formula for calculating optimum hang height and angle :-) )


My bocate Europa 5 hangs the highest and has the wider neck. The Elan/Europa 5 hangs next lowest both hang at about 2 o'clock and the Elan 4 hangs the lowest and angles almost parallel to the floor very close to the 3 o'clock position.

I don't have any neck dive with any of those basses, they balance just great and stay put.

Thinking about it, both the 5 stringers have a heavy sustain block and brass back plates whereas the Úlan has no block and a plastic cavity cover so that may be a factor in where the weight is on either side of the strap point on the horn of the bass and affects where the bass's natural balance position will be relative to that. Neck heavy or body heavy.

Jazzyvee
wishbass
Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 139
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 4:14 am:   Edit Post

Good morning Jazzy(my time).You know,there are a lot of nice collections out there,but w/the Twin coming ,yours is quickly rising to the top of my favorites list.What an abundance of riches! My Elan hangs at 3'oclock w/a thin strap,but with 3" strap it never budges from slightly above 2'oclock. Karl
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2756
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 6:11 am:   Edit Post

Thank you kindly. Abundance of good taste is what I probably have more than anything else, coupled with a keen eye for finding well priced used instruments in great condition, and being in the right place at the right time when the specific alembic's I drool over have come up for purchase.

Once I start to get more gigs again they will become a set of regularly used good quality tools.

As for the strap position. What about something like this.
I would imagine that with proper adjustment you could get this to hang any bass in the right position regardless of where the weight is.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/slider-straps-dual-shoulder-strap


Jazzyvee
honninscrave
Junior
Username: honninscrave

Post Number: 20
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 10:38 am:   Edit Post

Despite looking like it might balance rather poorly, my medium-scale Exploiter/Spoiler balances beautifully. It'll sit nicely at 2 o'clock on a 2-inch strap all day long...
wishbass
Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 143
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 4:10 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the info guys,I appriate it. Karl
peoplechipper
Advanced Member
Username: peoplechipper

Post Number: 262
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 10:33 pm:   Edit Post

My Distillate (an '81 with short horn) sits between 2;30-3:00 and I've grown to love that position; I play with a pick mostly and there's no pick scrape just a big hit...it's funny how you can get used to any changes, as I played guitar for years with it low slung but at maybe 1:00...guess I like the afternoon or something...I now hang my guitars the same way...Tony

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