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admin (admin)
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 17
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 4:24 pm:   Edit Post

dela217's 1972 Alembic

1972 Series I
trapezoid pickups, front battery plate, front gain controls, shim style tailpiece.
Michael Delacerda (dela217)
Username: dela217

Post Number: 1
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post

Mica - Thanks for posting this picture of my bass. It is my favorite Alembic. It is truly an amazing instrument. It has a walnut top and back, with a walnut neck. It is very dark and deep sounding. It has no filters as we are used to with modern series instruments, but has passive tone controls. It is a very warm, and punchy bass. I have it strung with flatwound strings and when I split the pickups between 2 amps or between the 2 channels of an F2B, it gets THE sound. It is a completely original bass except for 2 very necessary modifications.

1. If you look closely at the picture you will see that there is rubber between the bridge saddles. I did this about 15 years ago. The saddles and screws on this bridge are so worn, they wiggle about. I stuffed the hard rubber between the saddles and the problem is taken care of.

2. Also when I first got this bass, about 20 years ago, it was quite noisy. On this particular instrument, there are 2 dummy pickups in the control cavity. There is one for each channel. It seems that they are very sensitive as far as their placement in the cavity, and were just rattling around in there with no mounting at all. I secured them in place with foam and also noticed that the bass was dead quiet as long as the brass cover for the control cavity was removed. It seemed that the brass plate was picking up all sorts of noise like an antenna! I made a clear plastic cover for the control cavity and it is now completely quiet!

My only complaint about this bass is that there is no side LED's!
Mica Wickersham (mica)
Username: mica

Post Number: 13
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 2:04 pm:   Edit Post

If the fingerboard is thick enough, you can have us retrofit side LEDs. You have to be without the bass for a couple of months though, since it usually involves some amount of refinishing work.

If the fingerboard is too thin, we can usually replace the board with one that will allow LED retrofitting.
Advanced Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 204
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 8:42 pm:   Edit Post

hey dela? whats the serial # on this peanut butter sandwich?
Advanced Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 205
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 9:24 pm:   Edit Post

and how many alembics do you have?,as many as stanley?
Advanced Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 326
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 10:52 pm:   Edit Post

This bass is a 1972 and is serial number 16. I can only imagine that Stanley has a bunch. I only have six Alembic basses. Like you, I like the early ones too. The basses that Alembic make today are second to none. But I appreciate the growing years that they went through. The early ones to me represent the original thought.

(Message edited by dela217 on April 05, 2004)
Advanced Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 300
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 8:59 pm:   Edit Post

Wish I could hear it...
Thanks for your descriptions and explanations in this thread. I'm fascinated by (and agree with) the point you made about "the growing years". I'd like to get a little more exposure to the older Alembics. Problem seems to be that most that turn up where I can find them are in such desperate shape, they scare me off.
Intermediate Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 179
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 9:55 pm:   Edit Post

dela, now that we're back here...

What's the deal on the pointy-shaped (excuse me, trapezoid) pickups? I think this was asked elsewhere recently, but don't recall seeing an explanation. Was this done to narrow the aperture and/or shift the position for the higher strings? Hard to believe it would be just a cosmetic thing, but it hasn't persisted. Just curious.

(Meanwhile, this little voice in the back of my head is composing a completely different post to Bill, along the lines of "well, you know, if you keep bumping into these, and you find one around 74-76, and it's fretless, and at least long scale... I Don'T Care What It Looks Like" But hey, I'm not a collector, so forget that.)
Advanced Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 330
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 4:58 pm:   Edit Post

I wish you could hear this bass too. I don't know if it is the electronics, or the walnut neck, but it is incredible.

I spoke to someone who used to work for Alembic a while back. He mentioned that the thought behind the trapezoidal pickups was that the lower frequencies needed a greater pickup area. I don't think it was cosmetic, but just an experiment in sound at the time. I know back then they made just a few pickups that shape and some ended up in non Alembic basses that were modified by Alembic. Those pickups were held in place with pickup rings. Folks back then even turned the trapezoids around so that the wider aperture faced the thinner strings. I guess it was an easy thing to do since they were mounted in rectangular rings. In my 1972 Alembic, there is no turning them, they are mounted in trapezoid shaped holes. On the inside of this bass the 2 hum cancelling pickups (1 for each pickup) are also trapezoidal shaped. I am sure that it was just easy for them to make them in the same molds, and not for any other reason. I know that this shape did not continue for very long. In fact, I had the ability to check out Alembic 72-17 at a guitar show. It did not have the trapezoidal pickups, and it was the next serial number after mine.

Some day I may send this bass back to Alembic for some repairs. I would like to have a new bridge and tailpiece made. The bridge is worn out, and the tailpiece is made so that there is not much angle of the strings over the bridge. I think it would benefit from a better designed tailpiece. I forgive them, they were just learning at the time.

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