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hammer
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 150
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 7:53 am:   Edit Post

My sonís new Further (the college graduation present) arrived last week and it is gorgeous (Iíll get pics up in the next few days). Of greater immediate importance to me is that now that $50,000/year college bills are finished, itís time for Dad to get his 2nd Alembic and Iíd be interested in some feedback and advice.

I currently play a Distillate (walnut with a maple/purpleheart neck sandwich) and an EB-3 for some real vintage stuff. Iím a little guy (5í8Ē) with short arms and rather short, stubby fingers. The max. length I can play is a 32Ē (the scale of my Distillate) and on the lower frets itís still a long stretch to reach that 4th fret. What I typically play is the blues and classic rock. Iím a picker 50% of the time and just never got in to slap and pop. As far as my Distillate goes, itís a bit bright for me used with the Yamaha/F-1X/Phil Jones rig I have so Iím typically playing flatwounds and using the on-board controls and my F-1X to mellow it out.

As a result of the sound for which Iím looking and the physical challenges with which I must deal, I was originally thinking a short scale SC signature standard or deluxe with Koa back and front, a Mahogany body, and a neck recipe based on either primary woods of Maple and Purpleheart with a central laminate of Ebony or substituting Mahogany for Maple. After thinking about it I a while Iím currently leaning toward the Maple. I figured that this would give me a nice combination of lows and highs and more of the mellow (than bright) sound for which Iím striving. I was also afraid that a neck of Mahogany might make the bass sound a little too much like my Gibson given the other woods.

After discussing things over with both Mica and Will Gunn, however, Iím now thinking a bit differently, as least with respect to scale and body type. Will made a point of asking me about what part of the neck I spend the most time on and itís definitely the middle to upper sections (even on my EB-3 Short scale). His point was that if thatís where Iím spending the most of my time, a medium scale would be a bit more versatile and if I have a tendency to play higher on the neck it will easier given the shorter distance between frets. I like the Balance K body look though Iíve only seen it so far in coco bolo, maple, and buckeye burl, none of which really do it for me. Until a few days ago I was thinking about going with that body type if I decided on a medium scale.

Then I spoke to Mica who brought up the possibility of building a Darling bass. That made sense to me given the smaller body (man I think I could hide behind the body of some of the old signature deluxe and series body types). She sent me some pics that show the balance K and Darling side by side. Although there may be some distortion from the angles at which the pic was taken, the Balance K body looks a bit longer, but the Darling actually appears to have a wider body than the Balance K which is a bit less ďcurvey.Ē

I know that only a few Darling basses that have been made. Does anyone know who purchased them and if they are from the club? Iíd love to get in touch with them. I believe one was for sale by a shop in Germany not long ago. For those who might have a Darling guitar? Iíd love to hear what you and others think about the suitability of this body type for a short or medium scale bass. Would a medium scale Darling lead to severe neck drop? In addition, any thoughts on the comfort and playability of a medium scale Balance K body from someone who has had experience playing that body would be appreciated, especially from someone of the less statuesque body type (e.g., as in 5í8Ē or so).

Thanks
tbrannon
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1503
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 8:14 am:   Edit Post

Brian,

You're talking to the right people in Will Gunn and Mica. Will was absolutely awesome in the planning of my Elan build.

Personally, I think the Mahogany and Koa body will give you plenty of warmth and I'd tend to go for the maple in the neck. You can always tone down the brightness, but you can't add to what was never there.... know what I mean?

In terms of the body shape- I don't have any recommendations for you, but I'd love to see the side by side of the Darling and Balance K that Mica sent you.

Neck dive.... if Mica is onboard with the build idea, I doubt neck dive is going to be a major issue. If they thought balance was going to be an issue, they'd let you know.

What kind of electronics do you have in mind?
hammer
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 152
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 9:08 am:   Edit Post

I'll probably need to go with the standard signature electronics. After the Further build for my son, I've got to keep it reasonable. Plus I don't record. Its only going to be used live and given the potential settings on a series I'd be concerned everyone else would be halfway through a piece before I got done fiddling around with all the controls.
tbrannon
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1505
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 10:18 am:   Edit Post

Just a thought on the Signature electronics. I owned a 'Signature Plus' Rogue as my first bass. It was originally built with standard Rogue/Europa electronics, but then along the line, someone had Alembic upgrade the electronics to Signature, but the Bass/Treble boost/cut switches were left.

I don't think it would be an extremely expensive addition and it would add some more flexibility to your controls- assuming you think it would be handy to have. I didn't use them much when I owned the bass, but that was more a result of the type of stuff I was playing at the time. I just didn't really need to change on the fly quickly, so I never used them much. Now, I think I'd use them quite a bit more.

Here is a link to the bass in question- it's been owned by at least 3 forum regulars (or guys who were regulars at one time).
http://alembic.com/club/messages/411/25827.html?1267058148
hammer
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 153
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 1:24 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks! That's a good suggestion and makes a lot of sense. I'll definitely check it out with Mica.

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