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jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1393
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 2:05 am:   Edit Post

One of the options to mark this occasion i'm considering is a custom Alembic. I know a number of members have done this same thing in the past and I'm sure the tradition will continue.

However this is just a thought at the moment and may not materialise so just bear with my ramblings etc during this investigation period. I'm also aware that I may also discover in this process that amongst my collection I already have "the" instrument that is perfect for me be that Alembic or not.

Right here we go.
1) Many of us have found that during our playing lives we find ourselves buying different guitars (or bass), in our quest for the one that provides the pallete for us to get "our sound". We also have different guitars for different sounds.
My thoughts are that if I had a custom instrument made with all the things I want in regards to construction, sound, playability, body shape, the perfect guitar for me. What reason apart from sentimental ones would I have to keep my existing collection.

2) Have you bought a custom guitar/bass then sold off your collection as surplus to requirement?

3) Was this a good move?

Here are my thoughts at the moment for what I'd like.
I'd always wanted an alembic bass since I first saw clarkee with one back in the 70's. However I'd never thought of alembic guitars until I joined this forum and bought my Orion. So i'm not sure if I want a guitar or bass.

The design I'm considering at the moment is based on the SC Small body shapes and these two i've seen in the archive.

(Dragon Magic)
Dragon Magic
http://www.alembic.com/info/fc_dragonmagic.html
this one.(Dragons Breath)

Dragons Breath
http://www.alembic.com/info/fc_dragonsbreath.html


I like the bookmatch to centre for this project prefer the more rounded modern small standard body shape. I'd prefer a three pickup model rather than two so if I went for a series guitar, then the hum canceller would have to be hidden in the body somewhere as the middle pickup would take up its location on the top.
My personal experience as a guitarist has been that during a song I rarely need to make any dramatic adjustments to tone once a song has begun so maybe series controls is overkill. ( any thoughts).

My preference is to spend my money on the sonic and playability aspects of the instrument and only go for cosmetics where the cost is marginal so no expensive inlays unless heavily discounted in the specials. The only exception to that is side LED's that I have found myself wishing for on many dramatic dark stages in my touring days.

Woods: I love Coco Bola as a top wood although this spalted bliss is pretty tasty.

Spalted Bliss
http://www.alembic.com/info/fc_spaltedbliss.html

Body wood:Not sure really, my Elan 4 with Europa electrics is all maple and that has a lovely sting to the sound bright, punchy with a great sparkle and sustain which i think may be great for guitar. ( Advice please).

Neck: Standard recipe Maple and purpleheart with maybe one ebony stripe, ebony fretboard

Hardware; Chrome

I appreciate all insight into this I really haven't formulated in my own mind exactly what I want so I plan to revisit my guitars and note down the things about them that work well and not so well.
At the moment my Stratocaster Ultra is the guitar that I can take to any gig and be completely comfortable. The only minor thing about it, which is probably the same for any passive guitar, is that once you roll back the volume off you lose a bit off the top end so 99% of the time the volume is set at about 75 to 80%. I've considered a custom shop strat and have tried a few in the past but to my ears none of them the sounded any better than my existing Ultra. Nor for that matter did the high end PRS Models either.

Next is my Orion. The neck is perfect and i think it is only a mm or so slimmer than the strat at the nut but feels so different. So I'd like that profile. The only thing that makes this guitar less that comfortable in all situations is that when I need to use overdrive which isn't that often it doesn't do it in a way that I really like.

Right, daydreaming over for now. I have Soundcheck in a couple of hours. Thanks for reading and I appreciate any input you can make in helping me decide whether to go ahead and if so what things I should be looking at.
Regards
Jazzyvee
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 7798
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 8:50 am:   Edit Post

I don't recall seeing a three pickup Series instrument. I'm just guessing, but it would seem that such an instrument would require new circuitry, which would require additional bench time and cost. The PF-6 card has connectors for the hum canceler and two pickups. It seems to me that for three pickups, a new card would have to be designed, printed and assembled.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1394
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 9:03 am:   Edit Post

Neither have I Dave but I have another strat with three Alembic activators and bass and treble controls and I like that flexibility I get with the pickups and the tone controls. It's a bit scary though to go with additional bench time as I imagine Ron's time to be quite expensive. However like I said earlier I'm not specifically looking for a series instrument although that would be a great starting point I'm sure. Thanks again for your input.
grateful
Advanced Member
Username: grateful

Post Number: 298
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 9:20 am:   Edit Post

I've not touched another electric guitar since I received my Further and seriously doubt I ever will unless it was another Alembic.

Regarding overdrive: I bet your Orion would make a lovely sound if you let it overdrive your Fender Twin. It'll be bloody loud though.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3635
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 9:57 am:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee:

I am a member of the "Custom Alembic for my Fiftieth" club. I had told myself for many years that I would get myself either an old E-Type Jaguar or a custom Alembic. The latter was more agreeable with senior management. As expensive as a custom Alembic is, it's still significantly less than the old Jag. I absolutely love Woody, my custom Further, but I still hop around on other guitars. Sometimes I just feel like playing something else, sometimes the song calls for something else. My belief is that one should never sell an instrument one likes except if you absolutely need the money for one of only two reasons: survivial or another instrument. And I'm not 100% convinced about survival as a reason! Seriously though, it is much easier to sell an instrument than to replace it once it is gone. I'd think long and hard before clearing out the stable once the new puppy arrives. Just my $.02

Bill, tgo
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1395
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 10:57 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for that Bill, i have resisted selling any guitars over the years although I have sold a few that were really below standard. But since I've got pro standard guitars I have kept them all and that has been a good policy really. I agree that sometimes I have wanted a particiular sound and one guitar has just that. I don't plan to sell any really and hope neither of your two conditions will apply to me in the forseeable future.

Gateful, yes you are correct about the Orion and my Fender Twin, so far that is the only route I've found to get a good over drive sound that I like but unfortunately I haven't always been able to request that amp when we have been touring. In the main it has been a Roland JC120 or another non valve amp which was one of the reasons a while back I was searching in vain for a valve driven overdrive pedal.

Jazzyvee
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3636
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 11:18 am:   Edit Post

I've noticed that my Alembics seem to like Fender amps more than Boogies. Currently I'm mostly using a rack system with an F-2B (Fender sound) into a Mesa 50/50 and a bunch of other stuff. Jazzyvvee, I may have said this before , but have you ever tried the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic? They also recently came out with a more radical version called the Twin Tube Mayhem. As for tubes, I may soon be moving away from them, as UPS is scheduled to deliver my new Pritchard Amp on Tuesday. I'm really excited about trying this amp out in view of all I've read. It just might be the "magic amp". Great tone, multiple voicings, including acoustic, analog, LIGHT and SMALL!

Bill, tgo
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2165
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - 1:25 am:   Edit Post

I'm also planning a new custom for my 50th but I've got till mid 2011 to save up;-) We're hoping to fit in a trip to the mothership that year too.
Details for the custom change every day but at the moment I'm very keen on a 5 string triple 'O' in either buckeye burl or superb walnut, bookmatched to centre with all wood truss rod and pickup covers. At least one ebony neck laminate and inlaid logo. Electronics would most likely be signature, both to keep the cost down and also because I'm VERY happy with those on my MK deluxe.

Graeme.

p.s. As this is the dreaming for now section I'm also thinking about a ten string (5 pairs).
flaxattack
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2227
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2009 - 12:23 am:   Edit Post

why not get a tomahawk model?
you can get it in a plaid finish graeme!!!!!
and hagus colored pickups to boot!!!!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2168
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2009 - 2:18 am:   Edit Post

I'm not Scottish jeff, I just live here. In fact, I'm Northumbrian (a no-man's land between Scotland and England, ownership of which was the cause of a great many border disputes) so strictly speaking I'm English. I am however veryt proud of my Northumbrian heritage so maybe I could add an inlay of the county flag, recognised as being one of the earliest flag designs in britain,

flag

or one of St Cuthbert's cross,

cross

Food for thought....

Graeme
flaxattack
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2228
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2009 - 12:11 pm:   Edit Post

well daymn graeme, how was i to know?
my apologies...
does this mean you are going for the tomahawk in northumbrian finish?
lmao
crobbins
Advanced Member
Username: crobbins

Post Number: 296
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Saturday, April 04, 2009 - 7:42 pm:   Edit Post

I only play 2 of all the guitars that I own. My Alembic Tribute, and my PRS Singlecut with a whammy bar. If I ever considered a custom Alembic guitar it might be a Tribute with a whammy bar, or a Cali Special....
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1406
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, April 05, 2009 - 2:48 pm:   Edit Post

I've been reading the customer to factory threads to get some ideas of what previous clients have had on their instruments and why. More bass constructions there than guitar but i presume the discussions about woods would be pretty similar.
So this is going to be a bit of a research project too for me before I can come up with a good set of options to put before Mica for her input.
So I'm grateful for your comments and please any insight you can share is welcome. I'm not sure how far ahead of time I would need to make the order to have it ready on a specific date.

Jazzyvee
hendixclarke
Senior Member
Username: hendixclarke

Post Number: 548
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - 10:37 am:   Edit Post

Jazz, I just read your opening remarks on this thread, and you hit a serious nerve with me.

As someone who has been playing the Small Body Series I for many years, and owned Alembic long scales too, I knew there would be a time, I would desire something that complement my playing style and desires, and for the most part, my Alembics fit the bill perfectly.

The Small body was the quintessential bass that fit me until I got critical with myself and my playing style.

Of the two basses, the Small Body, is my favorite Alembic production made bass ever period.

However, I stared to ask myself: "What if I had the same sounding (Alembic), but in a better package that fits my style of playing...?"

"What would that look like, sound like... and BE?"

Would it be a guitar second to none (even the current Alembics I cherish and known and played for years?

If the question is "yes" (Second to none...) then, if it's made in your image, realized, and materialized... and met all your goals "then", and only "then" the new guitar, will embody you like no other guitar on earth. (hopefully, that's a good thing...) :-)

You have to be very honest here...

My Short body was always my "first string" guitar, but I truly believe without a doubt, after the Toma_Hawk is built, and I get's in my hands round its measurements and refinements (I approved); the Short Body will take second string in my mind.

[(Actually speaking, the Short body design all ready, takes second string...) from the point of conception of the Toma_Hawk.]

Not even Stanley Clarke's Dragon Breath (my absolute favorite bass) can come closer to my heart than my custom. (regardless to the embodiments, refinements, amenities and/or luxuries).

Now, if I seen the Toma_Hawk design used for the next Dragon Breath...,

THAT WOULD BE A HEAVENLY...

Peace,

Hal-
hendixclarke
Senior Member
Username: hendixclarke

Post Number: 549
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - 11:17 am:   Edit Post

Hey Jazz,

It is a personal decision, and it requires peace, and tranquility and absolutely no pressure from nobody.

In the end, you will be happy with your choices on road under your feet. Congratulations man.

Peace,

Hal-
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1412
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - 6:14 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks, I'm still thinking about it. I had rehearsal today and used another custom guitar I have and was wondering what features of it I'd want to keep and what would I think of changing. In fact I have been playing many of my guitars of late to get some idea what I like about them and what I would change if I could. I guess some point will come when I have a list of these things that I'd like from a personal custom guitar.
hendixclarke
Senior Member
Username: hendixclarke

Post Number: 550
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Thursday, April 09, 2009 - 8:40 am:   Edit Post

Jazz,

For as many years you been playing, I believe you have every right to build your true Excalibur. You are going through exactly what others went through for every right to justify your own playing style and sound.

I can't wait to understand this chapter of where your ideas lead you, because it is always interesting to step outside ones own situation and try to understand the choices others make and learn from those things that are similar and different.

I think it's a adventure that is far deeper than any physical geography one walks from, or to... I believe its a mental journey.

Like I said in so many ways, it is a good problem to have, because you had progresses up to the point, after winning against all foes up to the point, you are now faced with yourself.

Jazz you are at a very interesting time Brotha-Man, and I can't wait to see what materialize because I know it will good.

Peace,

Hal-
hendixclarke
Senior Member
Username: hendixclarke

Post Number: 551
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Thursday, April 09, 2009 - 8:43 am:   Edit Post

Jazz you are at a very interesting time Brotha-Man, and I can't wait to see what materialize because I know it will "be" good.

Peace,

Hal-
tbrannon
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1011
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 09, 2009 - 8:56 am:   Edit Post

Jazzy-

I'd also encourage you to spend some time talking to somebody at Alembic -or- an experienced dealer. My custom Elan went through quite a few changes and I got quotes for a couple different custom options before I settled on what I wanted. I never talked to Mica or Susan prior to placing my order, but I ordered my bass through Will Gunn and he was an absolute treasure chest of information and hands on experience. I spent a ton of time on the phone with Will talking through the options and bouncing ideas off of him. I don't know how you plan on ordering your custom, but if you already know which dealer you'll be using, try picking their brains a bit too- Will had a ton of great advice for me that ultimately helped shape the instrument I had built. I'm so glad I tweaked my original concept the way I did and spent the money on the options that I did- it's truly a 'perfect' bass for me and where I am at the moment.

Good luck- I'll be watching with interest.

Toby
georgie_boy
Senior Member
Username: georgie_boy

Post Number: 683
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 8:36 am:   Edit Post

Jazzy.
Great to hear from you, and your ideas on a Custom!

Simple!!


You Want a Custom............................forget all the rest, and get a Series bass!!
That's what I did 9 years ago,,,,,,,never regretted an instant!!

Just my$0.02

George
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 2253
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 9:38 am:   Edit Post

I'm with George here. I almost decided not to go with S-2 electronics on my custom, I'm so GLAD I did though.

As for selling your old instruments, I've regretted everyone I've ever sold. Even the "not-so-good) ones. Ironically I've never sold one because I've needed the money. Either they weren't getting played or someone liked the instrument and talked me into selling it. I've lost a 65 Gold Top Les Paul and a 59 Sunburst Les Paul that way. OUCH!

OO
2400wattman
Senior Member
Username: 2400wattman

Post Number: 693
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 3:13 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzy,
Well, good luck on your custom venture but I'm chiming in to offer some advice on your Strat issues. I have two remedies
1. The Strato-Blaster or just the Blaster I think it's called now or....
2. The Redeemer! It's made by the guys at Creation Audio Labs a pro audio/recording repair shop in Nashville,Tennessee U.S.A. check them out at www.creationaudiolabs.com they may even give you an artist discount since you tour quite a bit.
I believe both devices do the same thing, which make your guitar sound the same no matter where your volume knob is! There's a little more to it than that but I believe that's the jist of it. My guitarist uses the Redeemer with great success and has noticed better pick articulation especially with a clean sound. Check into them as it's a cheap fix.
Oh yes and another bump for Series 2 electronics, an infinite amount of usable tones!!
Good luck brother!!
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3698
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 4:37 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee:

Regarding your Strat and the effect of adjusting the volume knob on tone, you might want to give my method a try. I was always impressed with the idea behind Jerry Garcia's on-board effects loop (like Alembic puts on Furthers and Tributes). The idea was that the pedals would always see the same signal - the guitar's pick-ups at full blast - so it was easy to re-create effects settings from gig to gig. (For those unclear on the concept: the full strength signal goes from the pick-ups out to the effects pedals, then back to the guitar, through the guitar's volume and tone controls, then out to the amp). The one thing I never liked about Garcia's set up was that it requires two cords: one mono and one stereo. I often use a wireless, and don't like dealing with one cord, let alone two. (My Series guitars have somewhat broken me of this prejudice). My solution is to always keep my guitar volume on "10". Then I place a volume pedal last in my effects chain and adjust volume from there. It results in a similar set up to Garcia's, (other than the signal still goes through my tone controls prior to the effects. This has much less impact than changing the volume setting pre-effects.) I can even use my wireless between guitar and pedal board. This set up has served me well enough for a number of years that I had the effects loop left off of my custom Further. You can try this easy enough, you just need a good volume pedal. I use an Ernie Ball. Not expensive and rock solid. I suspect reducing the volume at the pedal will not cause the treble loss you experience when turning down the guitar's volume pot.

Bill, tgo
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1509
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 10:29 am:   Edit Post

Isn't it strange how things work out. Here I was in March seeking advice and planning my first custom alembic, and by May, the one I was drooling over ( Dragon Magic) is mine.
I just want to say thanks for your input and giving me food for thought.
Customs and other alembics are off the menu for a while now. Maybe make an exception for a good Series Bass in the future but not the forseeable future.

I guess this thread is closed now. hahaha

Jazzyvee
hendixclarke
Senior Member
Username: hendixclarke

Post Number: 729
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 7:00 pm:   Edit Post

"GOT-DAMN!" Jazzy that is a wonderful shot. She's so beautiful, it makes me want to sing some wonderful standard by Frank Sinatra or even Sammy Davis Jr.

I Think I will... Cha-gumm gumm cha gummm gummm :-)

On a wonderful day like today
I defy any cloud to appear in the sky
Dare any rain drop to plop in my eye
On a wonderful day like today

On a wonderful morning like this
When the sun is as big as a yellow balloon
Even the sparrows are singing in tune
On a wonderful morning like this

On a morning like this I could kiss everybody
I'm so full of love and goodwill
Let me say furthermore
I'd adore everybody to come and dine
The pleasure's mine and I will pay the bill

May I take this occasion to say
That the whole human race should go down on its knees
Show that we're grateful for mornings like these
For the world's in a wonderful way
On a wonderful day like today...

This guitar found you, and not the other way around. You took one look, and BAM! it took your mind off the problems of the world for a second.

That's when you know something is really good. If it can remove me from the world for a second, that's something great man.


Hal-
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1948
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 4:08 pm:   Edit Post

I was just re-living this thread. It was a great read and I noticed at the end that by chance the time period between me posting my original post and the posting of me acquiring the guitar was exactly two months to the day.
What a co-incidence.

It will soon be a year since I got the guitar and still it has not been out on a public gig only a couple of studio video shoots.
Hopefully I will get a chance to get it out in public this summer.

Jazzyvee

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