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Username: gibsongrabberuser

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2011
Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 12:53 am:   Edit Post

Then I would want on similar to the one in the picture attached.... This is my first post, I own several basses, and I'm currently in the middle of paying off my first electric guitar (a Gibson Les Paul Custom) I noticed one very similar to this one posted in another thread on the site (it was going for $4000.00) after my guitar is paid off, I'm going to be in the hunt for my first Alembic!!! I'm going for an Entwistle type of tone... to be more specific, if youve ever seen the extras on The Kids Are Alright DVD, theres a video of the Ox playing Won't Get Fooled Again that is isolated so you only hear the bass track... I have several passive basses and its pretty hard to achieve a tone like this. Does anyone have any suggestions as far as pickup configurations? I.m pretty much looking for general info, I don't know that much about Alembics other than that they are true works of art. Any info would be awesome!The Who at Winterland
Username: gibsongrabberuser

Post Number: 2
Registered: 9-2011
Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 12:58 am:   Edit Post

here is the video I was speaking about in my first post.....

Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 966
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 5:33 am:   Edit Post

Hey John,

Welcome to the club! The Bass pictured appears to be a Series I Standard Point body. Options unlimited... Starting price....a bit higher than that Les Paul!

Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 366
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post

Hi John. Good to see another Oregon fellow in the club. Welcome!

Username: wishbass

Post Number: 53
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Friday, September 09, 2011 - 8:02 pm:   Edit Post

Hi John! Glad you made it.I told you you'd like the club.You need to check out Nicks(the previous post) basses. He has a gorgeous series bass.I'll talk to you later. Karl
Advanced Member
Username: jseitang

Post Number: 309
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 4:25 pm:   Edit Post

calling senmen...
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3008
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 11:48 pm:   Edit Post

here's a great reference site detailing all John's gear.

Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1030
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 3:55 pm:   Edit Post

Nick does have a gorgeous Series I. It used to be mine!
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 369
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 4:29 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks, fella's. I do love my Alembics! John if you are looking for an intro bass I have a sexy cocobolo spoiler I will let go of.

Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 517
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, October 06, 2011 - 2:14 pm:   Edit Post

Entwistle has a very unusual playing style and setup that contributes a lot to his very distinctive tone. A big part of his tone is that he's really precise about the angle that he plucks the strings at is a master at controlling the amount of fret buzz. When he hits the strings, the vibration is not parallel to the fretboard, it's got more perpendicular motion. The instrument is set up with almost no relief and super low action. He plays in a percussive style, sometimes likened to typing on a typewriter.

It's very hard to maintain a super low action like this in a concert environment. Entwistle had a number of instruments built by Modulus Graphite with graphite necks that were more impervious to moisture and temperature changes that looked like his Alembics and Warwicks. I had a chance to handle one of his wood Warwick Buzzard prototypes when it was at Modulus, provided so they could cut a copy of the neck profile to make a custom mold. This one actually had an inlay on the neck which said something like "Prototype #3 for John Entwistle". When I picked the proto bass up, I figured that the neck was messed up from travel and weather - I totally could not play a clean note on it, the action was so low and flat. But this turned out to be set up exactly as he had them set for the tour. I also played the first Modulus Buzzard when it was finished and it was also similarly unplayable. It actually turned out that it wasn't right for Entwistle either. Ultimately, they ended up building a different Buzzard for Entwistle, and that first green Modulus Buzzard had the fretwork redone so it was more playable by mortals, had Entwistle's autograph on the body, and was featured in a Bass Player giveaway (actually, this might have been before Bass Player mag, and woudl have been Guitar Player).

Knowing all this, you actually can get a decent Entwistle tone by setting up a relatively low action with not much relief, put on brand new Rotosounds RS66s and play hard. It probably won't sound nearly as snappy on a passive bass, but even if you have EMGs, you'll be in the ball park. To get the full effect, you really will need to go Alembic, as even other active basses don't have have the extended highs and lows that the Alembic pickups have.

You probably don't need to be screaming loud to get this kind of sound, but you can see he's playing &*$*(@ loud in that video clip - some of those long notes are tailing into feedback.


David Fung
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1726
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 2:42 pm:   Edit Post

here is that isolated bass from 'Won't get Fooled Again'
Nice full sound
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1842
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2012 - 10:37 pm:   Edit Post

GGU, you can cruise thru the FAQs section of the Club and 'homework' the various pages about Series basses. A few 'Cliff Notes':

-Alembics are very honest and neutral sounding instruments. Think studio monitors instead of home stereo speakers. With the filters pioneered by Ron Wickersham in conjunction with the 'phantom powered' pickups in the axes, you can go from organ pedal deadness to virtually clavinet-like brightness with the turn of a knob and a switch, all with very high headroom. If you look at the S1 that John's playing you'll notice there's no 1/4" plug: It's connected to an offboard power supply and a stereo (or mono) output via a proprietary 5-pin output cable that powers the onboard electronics and outputs to whatever amp rig you use. We have guys here that play them straight into Crowns, BGW's, etc., for a hifi/minimalist approach, something not possible with most basses.

-It's alot to take in. If you're like most of us, these things were almost legends, I bought the first one I ever saw. And I live in Nashville, where there's every kind of axe under the sun, you don't see a lot of them. So I'd suggest hanging with us, finding your way around Alembic's website and this club, and slowly you'll learn the 'language'. It's hard for me to think of another small family business, headed by one of the great innovators (I think of Ron on the same level as a Leo Fender or Les Paul) and his artist wife, who build every part of every instrument (pickups, bridges, all the Alembic hardware save the tuning keys and pots), and create the magic they do.

A Series Alembic is one of those landmark instuments, like a '59 Sunburst, a Selmer Paris horn, or a German Steinway or Bosendorfer. They're honestly not for everyone, but if you 'get it', truly, nothing else will do.

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 217
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 4:08 pm:   Edit Post

Amen Joey!
Username: jzstephan

Post Number: 50
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 8:06 am:   Edit Post

The Alembic electronics are unique to this world. There is simply nothing else that has the clarity and versatility of tone. Everybody has imitated Leo and Les very successfully (including them imitating themselves), but the Alembic imitations are usually just cosmetic. ALL of the Wickershams are incredible artists (I can't wait to see what Eric is about to do!) By the way, Ron is not on the same level as Leo and Les; he is light years more evolved!

Imagine Einstein and Oppenheimer's intellect combined with Picasso and Dali's vision: ergo ALEMBIC
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2443
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 9:07 am:   Edit Post

Yes!____Agreed !
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 20
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 5:09 pm:   Edit Post

Enwhistle's tone and overall sound have alot to do with all that brass, and possible sustain block feature. When you pluck a note that lasts forever like that, it's gotta be something.
Intermediate Member
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 178
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Sunday, June 09, 2013 - 5:22 pm:   Edit Post

What Alembic would I want? Probably the one I currently own.

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