1997 Alembic USA ESSENCE 5 String Bas... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » 1997 Alembic USA ESSENCE 5 String Bass. Flamed Maple and Vermillion « Previous Next »

Author Message
frankfiveinc
New
Username: frankfiveinc

Post Number: 9
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 6:07 am:   Edit Post

Love to hear opinions about expected tone from this knowledgeable group and any other subtle observations about this bass on ebay….thanks so much!!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1997-Alembic-USA-ESSENCE-5-String-Bass-Flamed-Maple-and-Vermillion-/141319765927?pt=Guitar&hash=item20e7507fa7
tbrannon
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1637
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 8:18 am:   Edit Post

Nice looking maple top!

The listing states that it has maple/vermillion, but it's a flame maple top over a mahogany body according to the build sheet.

I owned a maple over mahogany bass- it sounded fantastic- I'm sure this one will too.

This is a great introduction to Alembic electronics. Vol/filter/pan is nice and simple, but you do get that Alembic filter to play with, which is what makes Alembics different than most. Only thing not there on the Essence is the Q switch, but no telling how important that will be to your playing style and environment.

I think this would be a fantastic intro to Alembics- and if you can get it at a reasonable price, you will certainly get your money back on it if you ever decide you want to sell it and upgrade to a double filter/Q switch equipped bass (Sig/Anniversary) or to a Series bass.

Looks to be in good condition- though I might ask for some details of the 'dings' the seller reports.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2188
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 9:34 am:   Edit Post

I'm with Toby, you'll have to decide if a small ding here or there will keep you up nights.

I have a Spoiler that's quilt maple over mahogany and to me it's the best 'all-rounder' sound-wise: The maple squawk is moderated by the mahogany. Les Pauls haven't used this combo for nothing over all these years, it's just an MVP choice that works great for basses as well. I REALLY dig the tiger stripe, I think often under-used for basses, and I dig the 'blank' fingerboard.

You can keep yourself up nights thinking of 'tuning' a tone via the wood recipe. Good Luck. Mica and Susan can do it, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it's both a black art and a wild guess. So for a 'first' Alembic, this is fine. The Essence also is one of the few smaller body shapes, maybe a consideration: My Series-shaped, long-scale Spoiler could be a handful to wear for someone shorter than me (6', 225#, 44 Long coat size). Quite a handful in first position, that nut is almost next door . . . .

Very simple control layout, most guys will never need more than that, elegantly simple. Buy it right (I'm thinking 1500-2500 ballpark, steal it if at all possible!) and you'll play it for free.

J o e y
frankfiveinc
New
Username: frankfiveinc

Post Number: 10
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 10:07 am:   Edit Post

Thank you Toby and Joey! That is very helpful! I was wondering about the tone range…..I figured that the maple would produce the jazzy tone, which I love, but I would like to have the ability to produce deep lows, especially for "dropping bombs" on the b string. I may low-bid to see if I can get it for a steal…thanks for the pricing suggestion too, as I was thinking it would be about the mid-point of your stated range.
lembic76450
Advanced Member
Username: lembic76450

Post Number: 381
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post

I agree with both Toby and Joey on this, though as an owner of a 5 string Bocate over Mahogany Essence I think this will end on the higher side of Joey's estimate, if not a little higher. The top on this is pretty nice looking and if the dings are as described they would not bother me.
Good luck with the auction.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2189
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 10:00 pm:   Edit Post

As our legendary and dearly-missed Paul (the bad one) would say: "There will always be another, there will always be another, there will always be another . . . ."

SO, Dan, IF this is really what you wanted, go for it. If you wanted something else and you can take your time, the right one will come along.

Just sayin' . . . . .

J o e y
frankfiveinc
Junior
Username: frankfiveinc

Post Number: 11
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 2:37 pm:   Edit Post

I was surprised by the selling price of this Essence. The bidding was won at $1525. I was thinking about putting a bid in, but decided not to because I thought it would be a waste of time and wasn't planning to bid much higher for this one because it didn't feel right for some reason. But I noticed that this was the 2nd Essence within the last year that went for a lower price than I expected.

Is the Essence the lowest cost bass with a neck-thru design? I realize the control electronics are basic, but how does the tone control compare to other models that are not neck-thru designs, e.g., Epic, Orion. I thought Essence was considered a better model than the others I just mentioned. I think I'd be happy with that model for my first Alembic, so I won't miss the next one…..
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 512
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 4:52 pm:   Edit Post

It really depends on what you are looking for in a bass. It it's one tone that you want and sustain is not something for which you long, that an Epic or Orion is going to be fine for you. Although not thru-neck designs they are still built to the high standards of all Alembic instruments.

If you're looking for more flexibility in a bass with respect to dialing in just about any tone possible (you area twiddler) or want something that has more sustain than I'd wait for a thru-neck to come up.

As Joey suggested, its really hard to go wrong with a Spoiler. But also keep your eye out for Persuaders and Distillates. The latter provides some additional flexibility over Spoilers and Persuaders as far as filter and tonal adjustments go.

As far as the price for which the Essence sold...In my experience that's about right. It is a 5-stringer which makes it worth a bit more if that's something you really need. However, I've seen a number go for between $1,500-$1,700.

Keep in mind that a LOT of the Alembics you see on Ebay are IMHO grossly over-priced. That's why you'll see some basses placed up for sale 3 or 4 times and each time they won't receive even a single bid. There are several Epics up for sale right now with asking prices around $2,500 (no bids). On the other hand there is a 5-string Epic with bidding at $1,100 that has 12 bids and a 5-string Distillate with 5-bids currently at $2,025 (Just noticed that it appears from the close-up shot that one of the PU casings is cracked).

So...although this is probably a lot more information than you requested, I'd go back and read Joey's last post in which he quoted the late Paul, "There will always be another, there will always be another, there will always be another."

If your interested in a 4-stringer thru-neck at little less than $2,000 PM me. I've gone back and forth several times about selling my medium scale Distillate. I have 2 other Alembics with a 3rd on the way (and need to prove to my CEO here at home that I'm making an attempt to move it).
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 513
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 5:03 pm:   Edit Post

Dan:

Have you attempted to do a thorough Craiglist search or have you been relying on Ebay? I know of several individuals who have picked up their Alembics through the former (and even had people on the board in the nearby area offer to go check out the gear for them).

Right now there are two nice 4-string Spoilers listed which are not found on EBay. One is listed by a dealer, (see below links).

Spoiler 1: http://columbus.craigslist.org/msg/4521772822.html Ohio

Spoiler 2: https://tucson.craigslist.org/msd/4514392969.html Arizona
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2192
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 11:17 pm:   Edit Post

So the 'dropping bombs on the B-string' sticks out to me. Would this be your first five, Dan?

J o e y
frankfiveinc
Junior
Username: frankfiveinc

Post Number: 12
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2014 - 6:03 am:   Edit Post

Thanks Brian and Joey! I was looking on ebay and selected nearby areas (PA) and other large metropolitan areas in the country….NYC, LA, Bay Area, LA, which I thought might have a few, given their proximity to the factory, size, etc. I saw a few in LA, but nothing I wanted to aggressively pursue, either because of different specs or asking price high. I will look at the links you provided and continue to search other areas through Craig's.

I have been playing an Ibanez SR506 (bought on Craig's), which is a 6-string that I strung with a set Ken Smith slick rounds.

That b-string adds a nice complement for dramatic effect when not over used but used at the right time. I loved when Phil was "turned up" at GD shows and he was "dropping bombs" during a great jam….his bass would "hit you in the chest" and add a jaw-dropping effect at just the perfect moment.

I have a 6-string, so I was looking for a 5-string Alembic because I think the weight and fingerboard specs would be more similar than a 6-string Alembic. But I'm not sure, as I don't have any opportunity to play Alembics here in PA….I have seen nothing around here that possesses my minimum requirements for over 6-months within several hours of my home in (Allentown area): 5-string, neck-thru, controls with a low-pass filter, tone that can adjust from bright to deep lows (that's a difficult one to know but I'm looking at wood combinations and banking on the low pass to bring the rest of it).

Anyway, thank you for indulging my OCD about this subject and taking the time to respond. You all are very helpful and educating me about these great instruments! I will take my time to buy the right one eventually but I might have just missed an excellent opportunity with that Essence because I think it had all that I wanted and it was the 2nd Essence that sold cheaper than I expected within the last year on eBay….but I have now adopted a wise saying as your friend suggested….'there will always be another….there will always be another…." thanks again!!

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration