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Username: captainlyon

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 3:41 pm:   Edit Post

i've been playing bass and guitar for a while and have gone through a fair share of instruments. i believe it's time for a custom, and all the signs point to an alembic. my dilemma is that i'm not sure what woods to go with. i know i'll more likely than not go with a 4-string bass first, before a guitar. i'm not sure of the tonal capabilities of the different woods. any advice?
Advanced Member
Username: malthumb

Post Number: 320
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 5:14 pm:   Edit Post


Welcome to the Alembic Club!

First, you might have some person, goes by the name "Mica", respond and say something to the effect that with Alembics, the type of wood has less to do with the instrument's sound than a whole bunch of other factors. Believe her. She knows what she's talking about. Mica Wickersham is the President of Alembic and the daughter of the founders. One exception to the "top wood doesn't matter much" theory is cocobolo. I have a walnut Series I and a cocobolo Series II that sound significantly different from each other. The cocobolo bass has a very complex tone. It sounds as if it's being played through a chorus effect, even when it isn't.

Second, if you accept that for the most part, your top wood ain't gonna impact your tone a whole heckuva lot, spend a lot of time in the Factory To Customer section to get some ideas of what's possible wrt wood selections, lamination patterns, other options and customizations.

While in the FTC section, pay particular attention to the comments around ebony neck laminates as opposed to purpleheart or walnut and how that impacts tone and sustain.

Third, HAVE FUN!


Advanced Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 349
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 5:27 pm:   Edit Post

Hello and welcome, Robert
Try this link to "Must Reads" on this forum:

I'd bet the most common top woods on Alembic are cocobolo, maple and walnut. That's just a guess on my part.
Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 171
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 5:57 am:   Edit Post

Welcome Robert
Another thing to take into consideration is neck thru or set neck intruments. And your budget, checkout the quote generator..it's kinda fun.
And I'll have to agree with James and Mike, if you can swing it, cocobolo is a great choice, not just for the sound (which is great)..well, it's also real purdy too !
Good luck on your quest.
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1966
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 6:21 am:   Edit Post

Hi Robert,

just some thoughts as "bad one":
- I (at least) know ONE Alembic player who said that his best sounding bass (and he has more than 1 ALmebic) was a 1 PU Excel fretless so ...you don't need to "overdo" the options.
- I KNOW what they say about Coco-Bolo but me personally I am a more Clarowood fan. Clarowood being the Californian type of dark figured walnut.
For the rest: take a DEEEE-EEP breath and take a stroll through the garden of "Customs Archive" http://www.alembic.com/info/fcvault.html
It will be the start of one of the hardest headaches you will have ...and one of the most exciting trips inside yourself you will live through!

Paul the bad one
Username: grateful

Post Number: 28
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 8:20 am:   Edit Post

Welcome Robert,

I'd suggest taking your time. It's a stunning trip exploring this site!

Mark, ago
Advanced Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 208
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 10:42 am:   Edit Post

Welcome to the club. One great thing about the journey you're on is that even if you decide that most of the wood options would give you the sound you want, you can still make a choice based on the looks. I really believe that, with very few exceptions, Alembics are the most beautiful instruments out there.
Username: captainlyon

Post Number: 2
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, April 01, 2005 - 9:02 am:   Edit Post

thanx for all the help. after checking the price quote, i think i may need to save a touch more, but i'm 100% sure it'll be worth the wait. thanx again.

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