Post Number: 3
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 9:30 pm: |
hey Folks. I have never owned an Alembic. I am selling my Modulus Q5, because I am returning to the 4-string. I recently purchased a Kawai FIIB and I love it, it has a set Bart J's and Bart preamp installed...I purchased it this way. Anyhow, from what I have read, the Kawai doesn't even compare to an Alembic. I have an opportunity to purchase a 2001 neck-through Rogue:
- Flamed Walnut top
- Vermillion accent wood
- Mahogany body
- Maple/Walnut neck woods
- Ebony fretboard
- Perloid inays
- Walnut veneers
- 2MXY4 electronics with Vol, tone, pan, bass treble boost/cut switches, Q switch (for the low-pass tone filter)
for $2800. It is in mint condition. I have been told that the Rogues do not compare tone wise to the Series I or II's and Stanleys, and that I maybe should wait till I have another grand. I appreciate any input or advice. Thanks,
Post Number: 3181
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 7:50 am: |
They're right. Tonewise series instruments are streets apart from the rogue but you need to hear with your own ears to decide which you prefer. I love my fretless rogue and would rather play it than anything else - even my signature deluxe.
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 7:58 am: |
I agree, I just don't know anyone that owns either one. Is there an Alembic meetup group on Long Island in New York?
Post Number: 367
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 10:04 am: |
If this Rogue speaks to you, GET IT. It's not like you can never get a Series instrument later on. I think you will find the Rogue balances on a strap differently than most Series or Stanley Clark short scales. I don't own a series instrument, but the few I've worn are not as comfortable for me as my Europa or Epic. The electronics on this Rogue offer lots of tonal flexibility.
It could be years before you find the right used series instrument, in the meantime you could be playing this beautiful Rogue. Good luck with your choice.
Post Number: 980
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 10:50 am: |
Craig - I've owned a Spoiler-Exploiter, a limited edition Spyder, a Dragon's Wing, a Europa, and now own a SC Sig Std, a Series II, an Essence and an Epic. I'd offer these thoughts, based on my experience with the different electronics packages in each.
Signature Electronics (SC, Dragon's Wing): After Series electronics, my favorite set up. Simple to use, lots of available tones. It won't take long for anyone to dial in some favorites. Very versatile as well.
Anniversary Electronics (Spyder): Closest thing you can get to Series electronics. Very "crispy" sounding, with gobs of high end. Versatile, but for me not as versatile as the Signature Electronics.
Spoiler Electronics: Good, but not as versatile as the others. Possibly my least favorite of them all, but that's just me.
Epic Electronics: Simple, straight forward (volume, pan, bass, treble). You don't have filters here, so you don't have that option tonally. Great for those who want a simple, quiet, more "traditional" set up.
Europa/Rogue Electronics: Fairly simple, with volume, pan, filter, Q and tone switches. I liked them, but not as much as the Signature electronics (I'm not one to change tone settings all that much mid song, so hitting switches to boost/cut wasn't my thing for the most part). Can get some very interesting tones, and the boost is great for soloing.
Series Electronics: Mine are Series II, and they blow everything out of the water. Gobs of tonal options, plus you get a master volume control (Series II). Continuously variable Q, allowing you to tailor the boost of the frequency anyway you like it, a great option indeed.
All this being said, Graeme is right. If you have the ability to play an Alembic (as many different types as you can), do it. Only you can decide if that instrument speaks to you. Alembics are not for everyone, just as Fenders, Musicmans, etc. are not for everyone. If you pick up the Rogue, and don't like it, you can probably sell it and get the vast majority of your money back. Totally your call. I wish you well however you choose to go about it.
One last thing - my first Alembic, the Spoiler Exploiter, was purchased sight unseen over 9 years ago. I've been an Alembic player ever since. Food for thought ... ;-)
Post Number: 1750
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 11:45 am: |
I have three non-Series instruments and one Series instrument. All of them have have filters in various configurations. I have found all of them capable of getting the "Alembic" sound which to me is the high brightness you hear.
To me the Series instruments have a more open sound from the single coil pickups. The Anniversary are close but just don't seem to have the same depth. As Alan said they do seem have a more pronounced high end. My other basses use EMW which is bass/treble, boost/cut and a filter and Essence electronics. Since there is one filter for both pickups they do not quite have the tonal range of the Series or Anniversary. This is not bad just different. Of the non-Series electronics I would say the Europa, as you have on the Rogue is one of my favorites. I have played Alan's in the past and really liked the quick change switches.
To me the one thing that has the biggest effect on the sound is the wood combinations and neck/body style. I have played multiple Alembics of the same neck/body style and electronics and found a marked difference in tone based on the woods used. You can also hear a difference between neck/body woods with different electronics packages. For example a non-Series with maple/purple heart neck with maple body and coco bolo top will tend to be brighter than a Series with a mahogany/walnut neck with myrtle wood body and walnut top.
I purposely ordered my fretless as a set neck, ash body with the EMW electronics. I was looking for specific characteristics that this type of bass would have. What I'm just trying to say is to not get hung up on the electronics but look at the whole package to see if it meets your needs.
In closing, over the years I have seen several folks come through the forum that preferred the Signature electronics over the Series electronics. Just goes to show this is all personal taste and not necessarily one thing being better than another.
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 6:42 pm: |
Thanks guys, great input!!!!
Post Number: 441
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:34 pm: |
My advice to you would be to jump at the Rogue in a heart beat! I have owned Series 1 & 2 basses, and now have an Europa 6 string, and an Epic 5 string fretless. I can add to the posts here that an "Alembic" instrument is a total package that few other instruments come close to. The feel, the sound, the articulation is a synergy of all parts together. Each different model has really great features, and some people will prefer some more than others. I have become a better player since playing my Alembics - they strengthen your playing and focus your ability to achieve a higher standard. The electronics can make a dead string live. You may already know that barts only reproduce what the string is giving, but the Alembic circuit can give so much more. My friends say my bass sounds "processed" ala 'studio' without the processors. I prefer the Europa / Rogue or signature electronics over the Series for a few reasons: The series requires a special 5 pin XLR cable and seperate power supply box or rack mount unit. This can be cumbersome and forces a dependence on specialized equipment. I like to be able to adapt quickly at a gig, and a spare cable and string set is something I bring. However, a spare power supply and special cable is something I did not have when I used my series instruments, and although they are reliable, I always worried if something quit, I would be playing a back up guitar. The 1/4" plug on the series instrument is a stereo plug. so that also is not standard. Also, I often had to adjust the dummy pick up at each gig location with a screwdriver to get minimum RF interference, and this was not always something I was allowed time to do. My Series 1 bass could buzz like angry hornets and it was really distracting. I swapped out the dummy PU but an upgrade was in order. I believe the newer Series instruments have a better circuit and don't do this normally. Also, a series instrument is a heavy weight, usually 14 lbs or more. My Europa is a BIG bass, and at 12 lbs I feel it after a set. But mass = great sound. The Series is also EXPENSIVE. The best of the best. List is around $15,000.00 so it is something you can work up to.
I feel I can get as good a sound as a series with my Europa's boostswitches activated. The signature electronics have an advantage with 2 low pass filters - one for each PU, but go for the Rogue. You won't be disappointed.
Post Number: 6
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:57 pm: |
Wow, my head is spinning...but I do feel that I am going to go for the Rogue and maybe down the line start an Alembic collection. Can anyone compare the Modulus Quantum bass to an Alembic? I thought Modulus was THE one and then began to dislike the feel of the graphite and the sound was somehow lacking, can't exactly describe it.
(Message edited by Bassman8416 on May 29, 2012)
(Message edited by Bassman8416 on May 29, 2012)
Post Number: 443
|Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 9:01 pm: |
Hi Craig, I own a Modulus Graphite Quantum TBX neck-thru 5 string. I added Alembic Activators to it and it rocks! Graphite is one of the best sounding necks for bass. However, Modulus put EMG's or Barts on them which IMO doesn't do it any justice. Maybe you should consider an Alembic Activator circuit for yours? Or are you having a tough time with the 5 strings? It took me half a year to get my left hand to play the same string my right hand was playing when I crossed over to the 5. Very frustrating at first. I know what you mean about the sound not being what you are looking for. A graphite neck can be too clean, very 'sterile' sounding, almost 'tiny' above the 12th fret. But with the Alembic Activators, it will come to life. A stand alone Modulus has a very distinct sound many describe as "piano" tone, but I would say it's a bit on the "dark" side. Not exactly equal to Alembics classic tone, but very useable. If your mind is set, you won't have any trouble selling the Modulus. They are still a great bass and lots of players swear by them. You could try selling it here on the club. Most of us have strong likes and dislikes, but we all covet high end equipment.
Post Number: 8
|Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 9:29 pm: |
can you give me a link with information about the activators along with purchase information.
Post Number: 3184
|Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 4:25 am: |
here you go craig...
activators. You can find them from the Alembic front page.
Post Number: 9
|Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 8:32 am: |
Thanks man, so the activators can be installed on a Modulus Q5 or Q6? I guess a luthier has to do some routing , etc?
Post Number: 2934
|Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 10:38 am: |
Depends, they come in more shapes than just the soapbars, like two J's.
And here's the FAQ on the sizes of the AXY/MXY soapbar pickups. The MXY is the exact same pickup on the inside as the AXY, just with some excess shell space trimmed off.
(Message edited by adriaan on May 31, 2012)
Post Number: 1870
|Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 10:59 am: |
For me, a mint Rogue for $2800 is reason enough, that's a very good price.
As your already playing a Mod with Barts, I'm guessing you're after that modern, open tone. So it would already put you in Alembic's ballpark, so to speak, tone-wise. These things generally aren't a good idea for someone coming from a lumpy old PBass who's used to that big lumpy tone.
. . . . you have to remeber, the Wickershams invented this genre, so to speak. I've played lots of axes, and there are lots of good ones out there. But I've never played anything that was as homogeneous, if you will. As keurosix noted above, it's everything together. They're a breeze to setup/re-set action-wise. The pickups and their tones are very adjustable. They're just the easiest axes to personalize on my own I can think of. First-rate construction. Aside from the keys and the individual pots, resistors, etc., they make every part of the instrument, the pickups, the metalwork, etc. Very few do this.
And they have the best support. Do NOT be surprised that you will be treated as if you'd bought this brand new. I can never THANK Mica and Susan and Mary enough for everything they've done for me, and we've never met face to face !
I'd certainly agree the Rogue 'hangs' better than some of the other shapes !
J o e y
Post Number: 444
|Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 6:48 pm: |
When I mounted my Activator circuit, I had to get J style PU's because Alembic did not have a direct fit for the Barts I took out. I got the standard J size PU that was smaller than the P/U cavity for the Barts so I would not have to do any routing. Because it was a custom design, I got a perfect "plug and Play" set up: same # of knobs, switches and lay out. I had to mill a tiny bump of graphite in the bottom of one of the PU cavities with my Dremell tool and it dulled the cutter! That stuff is amazingly hard! If I ever had to do that again, I would use a diamond cutter. Adding the Activators is something you can do if you are somewhat handy. If not, have a local luthier do it for you!
Post Number: 90
|Posted on Sunday, June 03, 2012 - 9:30 pm: |
I have a 1998 Rogue and love it. It's the most balanced and comfortable shape I have ever played. These instruments are very set up friendly too. I had to have the edge of my frets touched up and set the truss rod just right. Awesome tone and easy to play. Check out some pics under the family portraits thread (Misc.)
PS - you get the bug for another one if you hang around here ;o)
Post Number: 540
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 - 6:43 pm: |
I have a 98 Rogue 5. It's a work of art. The worse thing that happens is you buy a Rogue (a very nice instrument) and when the opportunity for a Series comes along you've got a heckuva down payment for it as well as having enjoyed it during the time it was yours.... That is if you can part with it after that. I couldn't part with mine, but that's me!
Post Number: 61
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - 7:48 am: |
First of all, the advice.
Two final thoughts:
01. If you want definitely want a series, save up for a series. Otherwise you won't be satisfied, and you'll have the headache of moving one bass for another one. When buying, cash is king.
02. If you're looking for something to tide you over, buy the Rogue. However, I think you should try and play the bass first - or at least get a trial period. I've had mixed experiences by buying without playing.
That being expressed, here are some of my thought about my newly acquired Rogue.
I just picked up a Rogue, and I really like it. It is a very comfortable bass, especially if you're used to Fender-y shapes. You can wear it vintage style, so the first fret is close to your body, and quickly shift it for ease of playing up the neck. I lucked out, and it's a svelte 8.5lbs.
I also like the electronics. I have a frankenbass with the East Meets West setup, which I find very flexible. Moving to the Rogue, I wasn't sure how I was going to like the quick change T/B, but I think I might actually prefer them to the pots.
I've never played a Series, but I would really like the opportunity (any Chicagoans out there, hint hint). So, my experience lies is in the non-series area. I have the Rogue, an Epic, and two jazz basses with Alembic elctronics (one J/J, the other MXY/Fatboy).
At first I liked the T/B controls of the Epic over the filter, but having spent time around the filter, I'm starting to prefer it for tone shaping.
I suppose what I'm saying is that the Rogue is crazy versatile, and I am quite happy with it. Between the electronics and the amazing construction, the Rogue is, hands down, the finest instrument I've owned.