Life with my Tribute Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive through September 08, 2005 » Life with my Tribute « Previous Next »

Author Message
Username: mgatov

Post Number: 11
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 2:59 pm:   Edit Post

Well, I’ve had a couple of weeks to become acquainted with the Tribute, and I wanted to share those experiences. First off… it is the best sounding guitar I have ever played. I mostly play clean, and the sounds out of this instrument are phenomenal. When picking the strings, it is almost possible to hear whether they are vibrating horizontally or vertically… there is that much tonal information coming through. I’ve found the controls to be very intuitive and easy to dial in. I’m playing through a Mesa F-30, and can get most any sound that I want. Even ‘dirty’, the harmonics come through wonderfully. On the warranty card, that I mailed in, it asked if I was going to buy any more Alembics. I checked ‘no’ because I can’t think of another thing that I would want that I don’t have. I have three electric guitars: the Alembic Tribute, a Fender American Deluxe, and a PRS Custom 22. If I needed to give up one of these, it would be the PRS. The Fender is a great player’s instrument.

The Alembic came with a lot of Mojo attached to it. When something is built with so much love and attention, it almost takes on a personality. It is the only instrument I’ve got that deserves a name. When I ordered it, I thought the LED’s would be gimmicky, but I’ve found that they are quite stunning and very helpful. I wouldn’t want another instrument without them.

It is not a perfect instrument, but it gives me everything I would ever want sonically. In terms of workmanship, I found a few small areas wanting. The Ebony on the head isn’t quite jet black across the entire surface, so it looks a bit thin in the center. It might be hard to see in this photo, but it is readily visible in real life. The cover plates on the back don’t fit as flush all the way around, and there was a small defect on the neck (sort of like Cindy Crawford's mole). Also, I can feel the slight junctions of the wood laminates on the neck where the softer woods were sanded a bit deeper than the harder woods.

Finally, the neck switch needed a bit of ‘break-in’ before it worked in the third position. And the case’s latches sometimes have to be pried open.

Would I buy another Alembic, if this one were lost/stolen… heck yeah! There is nothing like it for playability and sonic enjoyment. Would I buy this particular one if another were sitting beside it… no. So, it is a fabulous instrument that I look forward to playing for the rest of my days.

Tribute 1
Tribute 2
Tribute 3
Tribute 4
Tribute 5

(Message edited by davehouck on September 04, 2005)
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1040
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 6:33 am:   Edit Post

Alembic's aren't perfect, but at least you know they're made by hand from quality components in a small Mom and Pop company located right here in the good ole' U.S. of A.


Senior Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 504
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 11:27 pm:   Edit Post


Glad to hear you're enjoying it so much. I think your comment that it is "almost possible to hear whether they are vibrating horizontally or vertically" is right on the mark. On my bass, I often find that my fingers tell me where to play a harmonic (though my conscious mind doesn't know it yet), and while I give some of the credit here to the Thomastiks, they need to be played on an instrument that lets them vibrate in the way they were meant to, and really sing. These instruments do that.

As for your observation about "the slight junctions of the wood laminates on the neck where the softer woods were sanded a bit deeper than the harder woods", I think it is more likely that what you are experiencing here is differential shrinkage. They were almost certainly sanded evenly, but since then some laminates shrunk more than others. In my case, they started off perfectly smooth, but after 8-12 months the ebony shrunk - which is harder than the maple, so it wasn't a matter of uneven sanding based on density.

Sometimes this happens quickly, sometimes it takes a year or two, and over the long run it will probably even out (though that could take 5-10 years...). Whether it bothers you enough to fix in the meantime is up to you; personally, I find that while I can feel it if I'm looking for it, I never notice it when I'm playing, and unless I have some really compelling reason to let this thing out of my hands for a while, I'm not going to do anything about it.

I think some of what you are seeing is nature, not nurture :-) And I also happen to have a flaky toggle switch, that I'll shortly have to get replaced, but I certainly can't blame Alembic for that. I don't mean to sound defensive on their behalf, and unlike Kevin (I know I shouldn't say this...) I have a hard time applying the term 'good ole' to USA these days.

They are made by some very special people (wherever they happen to be based, and regardless of where their customers reside), and the overall results tend to be quite spectacular and a joy to play - like yours. I also checked 'no', because I can't think of anything else I wanted. And if I'm reading between the lines correctly, you probably think that Crawford made the right choice by not having her mole removed.

Username: mgatov

Post Number: 12
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2005 - 12:44 am:   Edit Post

Hi Bob,

The Tribute (nicknamed: Lady Morgaine) is very much an 'instrument' instead of just being a guitar. I get lost in the tone and the flexibilty to find the right settings for whatever mood I'm in. It makes even simple scale practicing a joy. It is a very rewarding experience.

I am not sure the neck irregularities are due to humidity issues since it is not constant over the entire length. This is not something that I would make a fuss over, however, since it is only noticible when I run my finger tips over the neck. While it wouldn't break my heart for the blemishs to not be there, it doesn't affect the feel, or influence my playing. I had expected the overall build quality to exceed my PRS, but given a choice between sonic perfection or sterile build perfection, I'll take the sonic any day. The issues with the switch and the case latches are no big deal... especially since the neck switch has started to work properly. I'm just curious how these things were overlooked in the final QC.

I'm considering having a Calton case made to house Lady Morgaine since it would be more compact, yet far more protective during travels.

If I ever had to evacuate my home, if I rescued: my girlfriend, my cat, the Tribute, and a small chest of family heirlooms safely, I'd not bat an eyelash at any of the other stuff left behind.

Username: j_gary

Post Number: 85
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2005 - 10:27 am:   Edit Post

Hi Michael, I enjoyed your honest appraisel of Lady Morgaine, but not as much as I enjoyed looking at her. If she looks half as nice in real life, that is one beautiful instrument. How do they produce a piece that is so different, striking and playable? Amazing.
Username: mgatov

Post Number: 13
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 12:34 pm:   Edit Post

She looks better in real life. Also, the LED's are quite beautiful and functional. For a 'guitar student' like myself, they help in reminding me where I am on the neck since I can easily see them out of the corner of my eye.

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration