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Alembic Club » Factory to Customer » Archive Through Dec 31 2003 » Moving neck - for Mica or wood-man « Previous Next »

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Paul Lindemans (palembic)
Intermediate Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 108
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, November 15, 2002 - 2:56 am:   Edit Post

Dear Mica,

I'm putting this threat here because there are things with the neck of my bass that are really are starting to worry me. Maybe it's all houba-houla but anyway.
You've already heard from me in this club (remember my warning to Alembic buyers "The thing is alive!") that the neck of my bass needs 2-3 times set-up a year even without changing strings.
The following strange thing is happening on the BACK of the neck. You know that I have a wider neck (on my guitar ;-) )than usual. It's 7 pieces laminate: maple and purple-heart. The whole longside of the neck it seems that the pieces of purple-heart are "sinking" into the maple. So the rounding of the back of the neck gets longitude "depths" where the purple-heart sits. It's not uncomfortable but it was not there when I received that bass. Also: the high-gloss finish seems to get loose on the places the purple heart "sinks" into the maple. It's like the layer of finish is losing his contact with the wood along those "sinking" lines.
What is that?
Have you heard of that before?
Has it something to do with neck setting 2 times a year? I am a very cautious man but am I the reason or is there something happening with my bass that is strange.
I "hide" this post here because I feel a little bit ashamed that I seem to be the only guy with this kind of problem on his Alembic.
When you have the time, would you look into this please?

Wayne McLemore (wayne)
Username: wayne

Post Number: 29
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, November 15, 2002 - 7:31 am:   Edit Post


I'm sure Mica can chime in on this with a more technical & "official" answer, but I believe what you're experiencing is more of the wood getting used to being a bass.

What is happening is that the Maple and the Purpleheart are aging (for lack of a better term) at different rates. They have very different densities and moisture content and will settle or dry out or whatever they do differently from each other. It's a normal part of having something built from reasonably young wood.

I've noticed the same thing on all my Alembics. The Purpleheart and Maple seem to have a greater discrepency than the Maple and Ebony. I can even feel a difference between the Quilted Maple, Coco Bolo, and Flame Maple in the body laminates of my Series II. All the Maple has settled faster than the Coco, and the Quilt faster than the Flame.

My 12 year old 20th Anniversary made out of Maple and Purpleheart has less noticeable ridges now than it did 10 years ago. They're still there but just barely because the two woods have caught up with one another.

This is the same concept behind the fret nosing out proud of the edge of the fretboard - the metal frets won't shrink over time, the Ebony will (no matter how careful you are with it).

I hope that I'm on target here. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm not - but that's what we love about this site.

Paul Lindemans (palembic)
Intermediate Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 110
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 3:35 am:   Edit Post

Gee Wayne,

thanks a lot for the input. I don't know what the Alembicians are gonna say but I feel already more comfortable.
I guess that the finishing "spots" (loosing contact finish/wood alon those lines) will set after some time?
Thanx again!

Mark DuFresne (markus)
Username: markus

Post Number: 11
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 6:07 pm:   Edit Post

Paul, the neck on my '87 Distillate did the same thing. Like you, I was worried at first. There was a discussion thread about this when we all hung out in the old yahoo forum. Mica explained how the different woods shrink (age) at different rates. Just the natural personality of each wood.

Mine hasn't changed or gotten any worse in the last 10 years or so though. It all settled into its present state. The spots where the clear coat has pulled away haven't changed either. I was worried that these places would eventually crack and break away. Not so. The quality of the paint is that good. Very tough -- as well as beautiful.

Paul Lindemans (palembic)
Intermediate Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 112
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 5:30 am:   Edit Post

Hey Mark,

thanks for the info. I feel more comfortable already.
By the way: were you all hanging out at a YAHOO-forum? Never knew that one. Seems that I've missed all the fun in that periode.
Mica, don't worry girl, I think the colleagues already set me at ease.

Mica Wickersham (mica)
Username: mica

Post Number: 392
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 11:08 am:   Edit Post

In our experience, if we refinish a bass after some years (maybe 10), most of the big shrinkage has well, shrunk. Only the slightest movement is noticeable even years after refinishing.

Sometimes I joke that it would be great if we could keep each finished instrument for 10 years before shipping it.
Paul Lindemans (palembic)
Intermediate Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 117
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 12:43 am:   Edit Post

Great ... I order my S 0.5 Alembic now and have it in 10 years ... my son will have it...or my grandchildren.
Thanks Mica for looking into this.


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