Post Number: 34
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 7:20 am: |
Just wondering if Alembic has ever made a bass with a maple fretboard? I don't recall ever having seen one, and that struck me as a little odd. But then I also have a vague recollection of Mica or one of the other Alembic folks on the board here writing, of maple fretboards, something like 'Why anybody would do that to a bass is beyond me!'. Anyway, does Alembic have some kind of 'you can have anything you want . . . except a maple fretboard' policy, and if so, why? Or did I just imagine it?
I guess it may partly answer my own question, but I have to admit that in my 15 years of playing, I've never owned a bass with a maple board - not because I have some kind of aversion to them - in fact I think they're quite pretty - but because I've always preferred the sound of a darker wood fretboard.
Post Number: 149
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 7:39 am: |
One of the reasons why they prefer not to do maple boards is because over time when the finish wears maple absorbs the oils from your hands thus becoming discolored & dirty looking (just like older fender necks) and that wouldnt be very attractive on a "Rolls Royce" now wouldnt it!
(Message edited by serialnumber12 on March 08, 2005)
Post Number: 70
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 7:41 am: |
I'm sure they'd do it if you really want them to.
Maple is a great construction wood for instruments, but maybe not the best for fingerboards. The fingerboard wood gets worked harder than anything else on the bass. There's a lot of finger contact as well as string contact. Normally you use rosewood or ebony because they're hard and have high internal oil content. You don't need to have a hard finish for these woods to fare well.
Maple isn't as hard as rosewood or ebony so it won't hold up to string wear as well. The oil content isn't that high either which means more care. And on top of that, it's light colored to so if you don't have a varnished finish the dirt from your strings and fingers will really show up a lot. The solution to this is to put a heavy coat of varnish on the fingerboard to protect it (a la Fender) but that makes it harder to do fret maintainance and repair and, on a fretless, you don't really have the sound of the wood anymore.
Post Number: 1466
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 4:45 pm: |
Karl, go here to see what Susan says about Maple fretboards.
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 6:20 pm: |
Some of us don't mind the fact that the gloss finishes on old Fender bass necks wears off and this and that. It's a Fender -- it can fall down the stairs and it's okay. Well, the neck might move but again, it's okay. A Fender is no Alembic, however. It would be cool if a maple board option was there -- particularly if you really dig the brighter sound and or the lighter color. I have thrown around the idea of an ash excel with a maple fretboard and a gloss poly finish with P J pickups. Then again I'm probably one of the last few people on the planet who prefers a gloss finish to satin or (horrors!) oil finishes. Some of us like these "risky" propositions. And why not?
Post Number: 2330
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 6:41 pm: |
In my experience (which is limited to the world of Alembic-land), it is not really possible to hear the fingerboard one of our fretted basses. When you play, you are touching the string to the fret, and the fingerboard's job is to give the fret a place to live. There isn't any wood that surpasses Ebony's density, ease of care, durability, and downright good looks.
On an Alembic, the choice of Maple for a fingerboard would be purely aesthetic. This may not apply to other basses, but you'll need to rely on your own experience for them, I simply don't have any.
I know that you'd have to convince my mom that you know what you're getting into if it's a Maple fingerboard you must have on your Alembic, and do be prepared for us to try and persuade you on the path to Ebony, it is something we're sort of stubborn about.
Post Number: 6
|Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 9:47 pm: |
What's wrong with a maple fretboard with ebony oval inlays? Or oval inlays of several different kinds of dark exotic woods. This is definitely one thing a maple fingerboard is good for -- contrast. There is also a different feel established for a maple fingerboard versus rosewood and ebony. It would be very interesting to see an Alembic with some fingerboard varieties: if purpleheart for an 'off the wall' fingerboard why not maple?
Post Number: 156
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 12:05 am: |
Here's a picture of an Elan so you can see what it looks like.
Lot's of Alembic basses on this site. It's a little bit in Japanese so it takes a couple of years to understand the comments.
Post Number: 298
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 5:11 am: |
You can plug the above into Google's transliteration tool at:
Post Number: 1470
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 5:31 am: |
"It takes a couple of years to understand the comments." Ahhh ... Must be because their insights into Alembic instruments are so profound.
What is the sound of an unplucked Alembic?
Post Number: 511
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 6:27 am: |
As most of us are not in Japan, how can we ever tell if an unplucked Alembic makes a sound at all? It keeps me up all hours of the night - ah the uncertainty.
Check out http://www8.plala.or.jp/alembic/column_top.html for some nice semi-technical drawings about some Alembic construction details.
Anyway, I don't think the Elan pictured above has a maple fretboard: looks more like rosewood to me.
Post Number: 157
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 6:50 am: |
The translation gives me May pulling, which, as you will probably all know, comes from the may pulling tree . Don't know what it is but it sounds like maple to me, but on the other hand, it looks different.
The sound of an unplucked Alembic? Listen carefully and you hear them sing.
Post Number: 166
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 7:16 am: |
What a riot! My favorite is: " without being the core " you are not wrong.
I'm going to climb a hilltop and meditate on that awhile!
Post Number: 2333
|Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 11:01 am: |
There isn't anything wrong with a Maple fingerboard, we just prefer Ebony. I would argue that unless you're using black strings, Ebony is better contrast to the silver colored strings.
There actually is something wrong with Ebony inlays on a Maple board - the Ebony dust will pollute the Maple when you sand it down. I've seen many Maple boards with Ebony dots, and I cringe at the trail of Ebony dust between the markers. Black mother of pearl is a better choice.
As I stated in my previous post, you can custom order a bass with a Maple fingerboard, we just want to understand why you want it before we build it so that you are happy with your choice.