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bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2661
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 9:43 pm:   Edit Post

Well, I picked up an Excel 5 on Wednesday at the not-so-local Guitar Center for a real nice price. Wow, the poor baby was abused. I just spent about three hours pulling the strings, polishing brass, and clearing an incredible amount of gunk from the fretboard. When I picked the thing up, you couldn't tell that it had side dots. A bunch of cleaning, a little wax and some oil plus a new set of strings (and battery) and the thing is presentable. At this point, it's just missing three screws from the back plate to be good to go. There are little nicks here and there and one large gouge on the top just above the neck joint.

Why do people do that to guitars? I'm told the prior owner traded it against a vintage Kramer.

The thing plays great, but I'm not sure I love the tone for what I do. We'll see when I get it into the band context on Monday.

-bob
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1032
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 8:05 am:   Edit Post

I love the Excel. Any chance of your posting a picture?
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11275
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 3:58 pm:   Edit Post

Whether it works for what you're doing, thank you for rescuing it and cleaning it up.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2163
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 1:10 am:   Edit Post

Person who did that to an Alembic should be hung, drawn & quartered LOL
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3805
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 2:05 am:   Edit Post

Assuming it wasn't deliberately abused, it just shows that someone had made good use of it for it's intended purpuse. At tool for making a lot of music. Maybe those of us with ultra pristine instruments, me included in that, are not getting the most of ours. I certainly wouldn't want to abuse my instruments but if they got some mojo from playing, that's not a bad thing is it? Nowadays people pay a fortune for so called road worn instruments that may look worse than the description by Bob but still sound good.

Personally I'd love to get the amount of gigs you'd need to get that kind of wear. But I'd still take care of my alembics so that it didn't get into bad shape. I like the pristine look so I'd take a leaf out of JJ's book and get the bass refinished when it gets tired looking.

It will be interesting to hear how you get on with the bass regardless of it's condition and I guess if it's not your cup of tea then at least you have it in a better condition and should get your money back if you decide to sell it on.

Jazzyvee

(Message edited by jazzyvee on January 13, 2014)
xlrogue6
Advanced Member
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 282
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 9:54 am:   Edit Post

Those are 2-56 screws you're missing. If there's a hardware supplier that caters to machine shops in your area they might have them.
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1033
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 5:16 pm:   Edit Post

Besides its looks, I totally fell in love with its tone: big, powerful and brutal. It's everything I dream for a Bass to sound like. I love the simple electronics: Bass, Treble and Volume. Simple, no fancy inlays, no flash, just one serious heavyweight KO of a tone. You play an Excel and you say, "This is a Bass". Of all my Basses (including my other Alembics), nothing moves me like the Excel. I never tried an Excel that I didn't end up taking home with me.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2663
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 10:12 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzy, there's a difference between "roadworn" and "covered in gunk". I agree that it probably got that way by being regularly and aggressively played over a long time but without ever a wipe down. The strings on it appeared to be XLs that sounded deader than any flats I have ever tried. They had probably been on there for years and that may be the last time the bass got a wipe down.

Played it tonight at a rehearsal and it got positive tonal reviews. It was a little slower-playing than my Zon Sonus, and the small and dimmed position dots made it a bit of a mental challenge since we play in a mostly darkened room.

I took a couple body pics and will post one shortly.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2664
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 10:15 pm:   Edit Post

Excel Bass
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2665
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 10:26 pm:   Edit Post

Kent, thanks for the tip on the screws. I'll see if I can find them locally. If not, I can probably send Mica a few bucks for postage and she'd send me some.
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1034
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 3:39 am:   Edit Post

NICE PIC!!! Congratulations and I wish you many years of enjoyment. It's worth hanging on to considering how rare they are and what a new one costs. And of course IT IS the greatest Bass in the World.

Best regards,

Rami
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3808
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 9:01 am:   Edit Post

Looks like it was well worth the effort to clean it up. So you got positive tonal reviews I guess from the band, but what is your view on it's tone?

Jazzyvee
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1035
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post

Is it really possible that an Excel 5 has a starting price of $7200.00? I wonder if the dealers would sell it at that price or if it's simply an MSRP. Like I said, you should probably hang on to yours, because replacing it won't be cheap!
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 676
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 11:51 am:   Edit Post

That looks nice! I thought about buying it myself and now I wish I had.

Dave
lidon2001
Senior Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 528
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post

Love that top.

If you email me your address Bob I can send you 3 cover screws. I have some extra from Alembic.

T
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2666
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 2:04 pm:   Edit Post

Rami, that's MSRP. I'm not sure what dealers are doing these days, maybe up to 25% off that number. Also, I don't know if the standard Excel is a one pickup or two. The single pickup version might be a little less. All Alembic bass have increased in cost significantly over the past 15 years or so.

My view on the tone? It doesn't have the top end sparkle I am used to from my SC models, but it is very powerful. Even if I bring up the treble, it doesn't quite do the sparkly growl thing I like. I have always been a huge fan of the ebony board, or even the maple board on an old Jazz bass. I am not in a position to swap pieces, but I think I would like the tone more if the board were ebony. In any case, I still need to dial it in, break in the strings a bit more, and tweak amp settings until I find the right batch for this beast before I come to a conclusion. I have been using a GB Streamliner head, but I also have a shuttle. This bass may pair with the Shuttle better. More experiments. As of right now, it seems like a great bass for classic fingerstyle play for a guy that likes to sit in the mix rather than dominate it.

Before I came across this bass, I had decided that I wanted to try to find an Orion 5. This was close enough, and a must-buy at the price. I think I would still trade for an Orion or Essence 5 in good shape if I came across one.

Tom - if I can't find them locally I'll email you, thanks!

-bob
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 3079
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 3:05 pm:   Edit Post

To get some top end sparkle, swap the Fatboy for an AXY. You want to keep the grunt, keep the Fatboy. It's a conundrum ...
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1036
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 5:42 pm:   Edit Post

That's definitely the standard Excel configuration: one Fatboy with Bass, Treble & Volume. I wouldn't change anything about it - it wouldn't be an Excel anymore. Maybe the string choice would give you more sparkle? Anyway, you have to find what suits you best.

Rami
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2667
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 7:05 pm:   Edit Post

I had an orange set of DR Neons that I wanted to put on, but I couldn't find them. I ended up putting on Black Beauties in 45-125. I'm messing with it and seem to like the tone very much with about 33% of the available boost on both controls. Of course, that's through the Baby Blue II I have in the living room. What it sounds like through the recording and gigging gear remains to be seen.
rami
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 1037
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 8:44 pm:   Edit Post

As an Excel-aholic, it may seem a little self serving to note that I own that 2 pickup fretless Vermillion top pictured on the Excel page. Excels make up the majority of my Alembic collection. I love this thread! It's so aptly named!
hieronymous
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1337
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 9:26 pm:   Edit Post

I was going to ask what kind of strings you had on there - was going to guess either Black Beauties or some kind of nylons. After reading your description of your ideal tone, I figured they must be roundwounds.

I've never particularly been moved by the Excel but that one looks great! I never knew that there was an Alembic model that didn't come standard with ebony fretboard - now I do!
hifiguy
Senior Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 404
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 9:49 pm:   Edit Post

You earned lots of karma points for your reclamation of that lovely instrument. That is a sweet bass.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m107pfQhfu1rr4c8xo1_400.gif
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2673
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 6:13 pm:   Edit Post

Temporarily sad. I went to use it at a gig tonight and had to put it away. I got crazy and untamable hum. It may not entirely be the bass, but I'll have to troubleshoot later. My Zon have bad hum when I shifted balance to one pickup as well. Could be the room in some fashion since I had no issues at rehearsal with the same amp.

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