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terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2191
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:16 am:   Edit Post

Okay last night the LED's in my MK stopped working, a bit of simple diagnostics showed the switch had failed, 5 minutes later with the soldering iron and a mini toggle I had in my spares drawer fixed it all.
The question to all of you, what is the Achilles Heel of any Alembic bass or guitar,(God Forbid!!!) what is the most common electronic component to fail over time or what part of the body/hardware does the same. I bet some of the answers will be interesting, some even from Mica.
I await in anticipation
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3324
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post

HI Terry,
it is good to read of your fast and successful diagnosis and repair talents . In my experience it is electromechanical mechanisms and switches and the such that show failures more then less often. I find that to be expected and logical . This statement applies to all Audio Desks/mixers / Tape recorders/ Audio processing / and switches & pots, attenuators , found in musical instruments and studio and live musical apparatus.

IN short ; if it moves and grooves, sooner or later you must remove ___+LOL _!

Wolf ___
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3960
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 12:06 pm:   Edit Post

Terry I thought your LEDs we're put in by Simms not alembic.
I had the lever on my standby switch break but that was my fault using a right angled jack and not adjusting it before plonking it on my guitar stand.

Jazzyvee
growlypants
Member
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 78
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post

Excellent synopsis, sonicus!! (If it moves and grooves...) I have an '09 MK5, and my LED switch sometimes needs to be jiggled a bit to work right, so you're not alone, Jazzyvee!
jimmyj
Senior Member
Username: jimmyj

Post Number: 522
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 2:19 pm:   Edit Post

I've replaced p/u selector switches. I literally spin that after every song so it's not surprising that it would wear out after years.

I've also replaced several of my Schaller tuning pegs. Same story, I change strings a lot and they get a good workout.

And one pickup stopped transmitting a few years ago which I imagine is a rare problem.

Alembic gear is built as robustly as can be. Made to be rolled on and off the truck and work reliably every night. That said, when I have my trunk on the road I carry spare everything, starting with a 2nd complete bass. Plus a small case with cables, connectors, switches, preamp board, and even a spare set of pickups and wiring harness.

Even though the active circuitry of these instruments could be considered complicated compared to a passive axe, I've only had one preamp card fail in almost 40 years (Jeez!) of use. Glad I had the spare card that moment! I can tell the boring story if you want...

Curious to hear from Mica about what the most common repair is.

The "move + groove = remove" formula is great, and right on the money!

Jimmy J
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3325
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 3:34 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks guys for the thumbs up on the " moves + grooves = remove" .

Jimmy J , none of your stories have been boring , it seems reasonable that your spare card story would be interesting ___.

Wolf __
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 8163
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 3:35 pm:   Edit Post

ICs are the most commonly replaced electronic part. These are socketed on all but the earliest instruments, so the repair is both cheap and easy. Probably the pickup selector switch is after that.

Then the 5-pin cables in general - but that's usually due to poor use habits. Not everyone is kind to the wire and uses the over-under looping method. I cringe when I see the techs at big name shows coiling cables over their elbows then cinching them up tight around the middle. The agony!

It's no surprise, and I think I've said this before but pegheads are the most vulnerable thing physically, as they are the smallest part of the instrument and bear all the tension of the strings. Since we know they will eventually break here (maybe not in our lifetimes, but someday something bad is bound to happen) they are made to be fairly easy and inexpensive to repair. For instance, now it's typically a $75 repair and though not invisible, it's strong and functional.

I think especially with the long scale large body basses, they are more prone to damage of the peghead simply because they are hanging out longer than many players expect.
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1125
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 7:34 pm:   Edit Post

Pick up selector switch on my Distillate.

On my 3rd one.

Switch one and two were broken by my own robust carelessness.
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 736
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 9:29 pm:   Edit Post

Clarostat pot detents, if someone reefs on them.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 474
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 9:37 pm:   Edit Post

LED switch on both of my Signatures. Still work... but have to wiggle them a bit.

And Pauldo, you have a way with language. I love your term, "robust carelessness."
slawie
Senior Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 610
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:05 pm:   Edit Post

I have learnt that the neck pick up Q switch is not robust enough for drunk women to stand on.

It happened at a gig where there was no stage and we played just at the back of the dance floor.

My next trip to the states will be with my bass in hand for a full refurb by the mother ship.

slawie
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2700
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:23 pm:   Edit Post

I have one "bad" mini-toggle that rocks in a direction it isn't supposed to, but still works correctly. I also still have something going on with the Excel that remains undiagnosed. Prior to that no issues at all in 20 years of playing various Alembics. Going to have to rip the guts out and ship them to Santa Rosa one of these days.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2192
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 1:18 am:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee..yes they were installed by Martin Sims, just the other night I was about to noodle and no sound, thought it was the battery, no sound then I tried the LED's and they didn't come on..so after a little probing with a wire and battery(by-passing the switch) and they came on. Problem solved.
Good to see such varied answers and obviously Sonicus's rule applies here.. I remember when I was an apprentice mechanic and old George(well he looked old to me as I was only 16!) said 'If it moves and heats up..it will wear out!' Which is just about everything really! Nice to see Mica chip in as well.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3962
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 4:25 am:   Edit Post

Just as mica mentions here is a broken headstock.Not for the faint hearted.
http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/114126.html?1317706724

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/3583/sam0046g.jpg

http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/28504.html

Jazzyvee
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2193
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post

Yep..pretty horrific but they can repair anything at Alembic
hankster
Advanced Member
Username: hankster

Post Number: 358
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 6:59 pm:   Edit Post

Locking screw on bridge pickup loosens over time and pickup suddenly starts rattling around. Happened once in nine years. I think of it as "character".

R
pace
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 989
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 10:32 am:   Edit Post

I went to Activate a fender jazz bass last week, smelled "burning" when I plugged it in (electronics seemed to work great outside of bass), and smoke poured out of the input jack when I unplugged it!!!

Looks like a cap burnt on the filter board, so the whole set is off to Santa Rosa.... Looking forward to the diagnosis!!!!
elwoodblue
Senior Member
Username: elwoodblue

Post Number: 1525
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 11:23 am:   Edit Post

You let out the magic smoke !
I hate it when that happens.
That reminds me of putting a 9 volt in the same pocket as my keys...DON'T DO THAT ;)

The center detent has gone smooth an a couple of my activator pots, and there's a nice beeep as it goes from 10 to 1.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2195
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 10:08 am:   Edit Post

elwoodblue..that brings back memories about the 9V in the pocket with loose change..got this lovely warm feeling and there wasn't a woman in sight! LOL
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2196
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 10:08 am:   Edit Post

elwoodblue..that brings back memories about the 9V in the pocket with loose change..got this lovely warm feeling and there wasn't a woman in sight! LOL
smokin_dave
Advanced Member
Username: smokin_dave

Post Number: 383
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 1:51 pm:   Edit Post

I've given this a lot of thought as to whether to post my experience with my bass or not but the fine folks at Alembic treated me and the problems with my bass so well I guess it must be told.

In the summer of 03' I pulled the trigger on the purchase of my Purpleheart Rogue 5 from Bass Central and the good Beaver Felton and waited anxiously for it's arrival.

UPS arrives with my new purchase in good shape and I excitedly uncrated the my new treasure pulled it out of the case looked it over plucked the strings and so far so good.

Now it's time to run it through the amp.Fire up my practice rig plug the new bass in and....nothing.Well maybe a lot of pops and static but nothing as I expected to hear.Checked the battery but it was good so an immediate phone call to the Mothership was in order.

It was determined that my bass was to be overnighted back to Alembic,repaired and overnighted back to me where finally I played the most incredible sounding playing bass I've ever owned and thought to myself that those folks at the Mothership,when problems beyond my control arose,really treated me right.

OK.Let's fast forward here about 1 and a half years later to the truss rod predicament.

I was doing a setup on my bass,adjusting the truss rod when CRACK.....what the hell was that?The truss rod on the bass side of the neck had snapped and with every turn of the rod nut,the rod itself was working it's way out of the neck.
Another panicked call to Alembic results in my bass being returned for repairs and to my surprise they sent me a loaner Orion 5 to use while I was on a particular busy playing season.Astounding.I couldn't think of another company that would do that for a customer and that is why I say to everyone that Alembic is the greatest instrument manufacturer in the world.

Also I found out later that I own the only bass they produced that had a truss rod break.

Flash forward a few weeks later when my Purpleheart fiver is now returned to me to discover that the quick tone and Q switches were inoperable and another call to the Mothership was in order which resulted in another overnight shipment of a new replacement electronics set to swap out.

Once again,what other instrument company out there is going to do all of that for a customer?

I pledge my allegiance to the BEST instrument manufacturer in the world....ALEMBIC.
lyla53
Junior
Username: lyla53

Post Number: 11
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 9:18 am:   Edit Post

HUGE RECURRING PROBLEM = There are never any hats available in the online store.
dannobasso
Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 1536
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 10:59 am:   Edit Post

Led switches, PU switches on my Skylark, 2 basses with one note buzzes. Shrinkage of fretboards exposing frets on every Alembic I own and have owned. About 25 in all.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2701
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 1:29 pm:   Edit Post

That's true, Danno - the frets, and often the plies of the neck will shrink/expand differently and you can feel slight ridges at the glue joints. Not really a problem for me, but I could see how they might bother someone buying new at the top of the market.
jzstephan
Advanced Member
Username: jzstephan

Post Number: 251
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 3:02 am:   Edit Post

http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/20662-guitar-shop-101-how-to-file-sharp-fret-ends
alemboid
Intermediate Member
Username: alemboid

Post Number: 170
Registered: 5-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 4:13 pm:   Edit Post

Fragile output jack! They are made with a plastic body and if you use a straight plug, knock it the wrong way and you are SOL. They should be steel. I was sent a replacement by Mica and it was incredible- all steel. Just be careful with Alembic output jacks!!!

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