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Username: 77640

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 8:06 am:   Edit Post

I love this Alembic bass!! It is the greaest. I have admired and always wanted one since I started playin in 1971. Walking into the last day of Mars Music' closing liquidation I stole it for $140.00! Someone brought it in to have the neck repaired and never came back to put the deposit down. Here it is!


What I thought was a Signature Delux I now think it is a Series I. The tip/top of the head has 77 stamped on one side and the 640 on the other no SC or MK anywhere. Then it is a Series I right? I am not sure what the electronics are on board. It sure gets a lot of different sounds though. I am used to my 1970 P-bass, one volume and one tone. Anyone know what is the 5 pin "MIDI" looking plug on the front for? And how do I wire a cord to plug into my amp. I think the 1/4 inch input is stereo. How does that work? Sure seems alot to deal with all thses switches and knoms but im sure overtime ill use them all.


Even with the cracked headstock it still plays like no other bass I have ever played and holds it's tune solid. THe action is not effected bu the damage. That is hard to believe when you see the next shot.

Here another shot of the damaged neck. Anyone know someone competent enough to get my neck fixed and how much it should cost me?
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 472
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 8:25 am:   Edit Post

Yes, the electronics are Series I. The 5 pin is where you hook up to the 19V power supply. If you try running this on 9V batteries, they will soon run out. The 5 pin also conducts the 2 pickup signals separately: if you have the power supply, then you'll find a separate output for each pickup - if you wish to use that: IIRC, the "bass" output will give you both if there's no plug in the "treble" output.

That's quite a find, certainly at such a ridiculous price. Now do yourself a favour and send it to the factory to have the best possible repair on that headstock. It may cost a lot - but if you only paid $140 then you might as well spend say $2000 and have it in 100% condition and also refinished - and still be certain that you'll recoup the money if you ever want to sell it on - and that's also when potential buyers want to know that the repair was done by Alembic.
Username: beelee

Post Number: 35
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 8:56 am:   Edit Post

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the club.........Ouch !! thats one nasty crack in the neck !! .......that poor Alembic

looks like a standard Series I bass to me, I think the serial # makes it a 1977 model.

the multi pin jack is for an outboard preamp, you can get a preamp and cable from Alembic

as for the repair, until you get that fixed I would be careful tuning it up to pitch, the tension could possibly make the crack worse.
for damage that severe I would send it back to Alembic to have the work done, if anyone can their skilled people should be able to make it look like new.
some other club members will give you more info and suggestions, and you can call Alembic, they give great customer service.
Senior Member
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1280
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 9:41 am:   Edit Post

Hi Mark; as the other guys pointed out, this is a '77 Series I. And I agree with them, you should sent it to Alembic to have it repaired. You will also need a power supply and cable. And if you decide to send it back to the shop, then you should seriously consider the electronics upgrade as long as it's there. On an older Series bass like this one, if you have a lot of hum caused by outside interference, then an upgrade will make it quiet; but it's not cheap.

The controls are as follows. You have a volume, filter and 3 position Q switch for the neck pickup and the same for the bridge pickup. The filter is a low pass filter; the filter cut-off point is adjustable from 6kHz to 350Hz. As you roll off the filter, only frequencies below the cut off point are passed on to the amp. The Q switch gives you 0, 6, and 9 db of boost at the cut-off point of the low pass filter; thus if the filter is all the way open, the boost is at 6kHz. The knob on the lower horn is the pickup selector switch with stand-by, bridge pickup, both pickups, and front pickup positions.

I would suggest that you take the time to read a lot of the past threads in this forum. Use the Search feature to find past discussions on just about any questions you can think of.

(Message edited by davehouck on January 30, 2005)
Username: 77640

Post Number: 2
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 6:17 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for the info guys. It feels good to get some of my questions flat. So from what I read the Series I is a more valuable instrument than the Signature Deluxe which I thought it was. Jeez I must be the luckiest guy in the world. I'd never be able to afford one of these. I'm in heaven with it. I mean I can't believe my eyes, the price list says it would cost me $9500.00 to replace it ,right?

So from what I am hearing the 5 pin runs into a box that sits in front of the amp. The box must plug into 110 to convert the ac to 18vDC and must have 2 - 1/4 inch female outlets on it. Adriaan said "separate outputs for each pick-up". I presume then the standard 1/4 inch "male on both ends" cord patches from the "bass" output into the ampfor both channels ( pick-ups) or use both Bass and treble outputs from the box for both channels or pick-ups on into two separate channels of the amp).

Yea the crack is a real eyesore, hurts to look at it. I'll have Alembic do it. Do ya really think it'll cost 2 grand though?

Now Belee here is calling it a preamp. Is it a ac/dc converter and a preamp? I cant seem to find it on the Alembic site anyway. Maybe e-bay huh?

Hi Davehouk. There dosen't seem to be any hum from it . Think ill leave good enough alone as far as the electronics unless there is some other benefit from the upgrade. Thanks for the explaination on the switches and knobs. All of them seem to be cracked on mine. Whoever had it before me sure beat the poor thing up. I found them on the Alembic site. I'll order them Monday.

Is the 1/4 inch female jack on the bass stereo? you'd think it would be. I mean can't I come out with a stereo 1/4 inch and get a splitter to run the two pickups into 2 channels on the amp? Seems like the only way I can use the back pick-up is to get this preamp/power supply box eh?

And what is the thing that looks like a pick-up between the two pick-ups? The smaller rectangle thing in the middle?

Again everyone thanks for all the support! I feel really welcomed. Mark
Username: lothartu

Post Number: 94
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 6:46 pm:   Edit Post

First off Congrats!

Second,... OUCH!!! looking at that crack makes me flinch. Send that sucker to Alembic and get it fixed up.

The box (used to be a box but on newer Alembics they do it now as a rackmount unit) is pretty much how you're picturing it. The 5pin cable goes from the bass to the box. The box provides power to the bass (no batteries needed if you're running it this way) and then the signal from each pickup goes back to the box. The box has two female 1/4" jacks and a mono/stereo switch so that you can run one pickup out each plug or both out a single plug.

"I found them on the Alembic site. I'll order them Monday."
- I'ld advise you to just have Alembic do it all at once when you send it back. Don't worry about the knobs now.

"Is the 1/4 inch female jack on the bass stereo?"
- It should be on that model. Put in a good pair of 9volt batteries and then plug a pair of headphones straight into the bass. You should get one pickup in one ear and the other in the other ear.

"And what is the thing that looks like a pick-up between the two pick-ups? The smaller rectangle thing in the middle?"
- That's the thing that bucks the hum. The two pickups are single coil. The thing in the middle is actually a pickup without poles. So it doesn't actually transfer any sound (since there are no poles) but it is wired into the other pickups. So that way you can select to have just one pickup on and the middle dummy one acts as a humbucker to cancel out the noise. Pretty nifty. The end result is that you get silent single coils. All the tone without the noise.

p.s. Just my 2 cents here but if it were me I would immediately pull the strings off the bass to get the tension off that headstock and then very carefully let it sit in a closet until I was ready to send it back to Alembic. I know it will kill you not to play it but you've gotten very lucky with this bass and it's my hope that your luck continues to be good with it. Protect it from any further damage and give the nice folks at Alembic a call and see what advice they have for you.

(Message edited by LotharTu on January 30, 2005)
Senior Member
Username: poor_nigel

Post Number: 483
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 6:50 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome Mark!

Little blue box (DS5) and cable on eBay = $150 to $250+, depending on how many people see it and want it. A rackmount (DS5R) power supply retails for $425, but call Super Bass or another big shop for discount price. |Cables new are $190 retail, but there are posts on the board for making your own, and Dela sells them once in a while on eBay for around $55 + shipping, if I remember right.

Luckiest guy in the world? Hmmm. To repair it like new (it will still not be as a new Series I), you will need a new neck = probably around $1,600. Refin, since they will not get the new finish to match the old = $1,150. Electronics upgrade, unless you live in a rural area with little RF interferance = $1,500+. Still feeling lucky? What you would have is a near-mint 77 Series I bass, which would be worth about the price you shelled out in total, but could probably get for $2,500 to $3,000 with persistence and patience, but would probably still not have the electronics upgrade.

Getting just the peghead fixed would cost you a few hundred, if you don't mind it always showing the crack. Therefore, you could have a great sounding bass for $600 to $800, with maybe some interference if you live in a city of size - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If this would do, I agree that you are the luckiest guy around to grab the bass for only $140.

Your best bet is an estimate on the peghead repair from Mica or Valentino, and then discuss all the other possibilities with them. The 1/4" jack I believe is mono (I should know, but I never use it on either of my series basses) and I think it just outputs one of the pickups - ? What ever you decide to do, do have fun with this bass. Series basses have a great sound! Good luck Mark.
Username: mica

Post Number: 2234
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 7:07 pm:   Edit Post

Providing the broken area is fairly free of dirt, a perfectly good repair can be done here for between $75-150. We'll inject glue in the crack and reclamp in the original cauls. Then a drop or two of superglue to seal the broken finish followed by a light sanding and buffing.

Done this way, it will feel and play great, but the damage history will be visible.

On a 1977 the 1/4 was originally supplied as stereo. You can check this by installing fresh batteries and using a regular mono guitar cord. If 2 of the 4 positions on the pickup selector switch are dead, you've got a stereo jack. We can rewire this mono or install a stereo/mono switch.

We'll check the build record for you this week, but I'll take a guess based on the year and yellowing of the finish that the top may be Koa, Schedua or possibly Walnut.

I've actually met one guy that beat you on price. I think he paid $90 for a Series I bass in Korea. Val will probably remember the details better, he wished he had been so lucky.

The only time I'll advise shipping an Alembic without string tension is with a crack like this, LotarTu is right.
Advanced Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 305
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 7:29 pm:   Edit Post


I'm jealous, and I'm not even a bass player! Nigel is offering you very good advice - call Alembic and speak with Val or Mica to get a full understanding of all your options. By the way, the "smaller rectangle thing in the middle" is a hum canceller that works in conjunction with the neck and/or treble pick ups to cancel hum. It worked fine in the seventies when the bass was built. Over the years the airwaves have become more and more polluted with radio frequencies that just weren't around back then. If you use it where such frequencies are prevalent, the bass will pick up the interference. The upgrade Nigel speaks of will correct this. Also, Alembic can do wonders repairing the headstock. Take a look here:


$450 for the new peghead, $750 for a refinish (in 2002)

Welcome to the club,

Bill, the guitar one
Advanced Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 306
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 7:35 pm:   Edit Post

Mica beat me to it as I was typing the above! On Sunday evening yet. What a company!

Bill, tgo
Advanced Member
Username: dgcarbu

Post Number: 234
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 8:30 pm:   Edit Post


Congratulations with your "diamond in the rough". I think everyone has given you some pretty sound advice. Definitley remove the strings if you haven't already, and, like lothartu said, stow it away in a safe place until you're ready to make that decision.

Senior Member
Username: poor_nigel

Post Number: 484
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 12:14 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Mark - $150 for the repair? You are very lucky, indeed. Shipping will cost you about that much for a trip both ways, so I say you got an outstanding deal for your $140. I know you are going to have fun with your new bass now. Keep us posted when it gets fixed.

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