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Username: hinrich

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 1:11 pm:   Edit Post

Dear bassists and bass makers,

I have a the following Alembic bass, and I have
a few questions about it.

Birthdate 7/31/1992
Model: SMSB-4 Spoiler
Serial Number 92S7307
Top: Birdseye Maple
Back: Mahogany
Neck: Maple
Finger Board: Ebony
Veneers: Birdseye Maple/ Walnut
Finish: Clear

Tuners: Alembic Chrome
Inlays: Ovals
Electronics: 2XY Vol, Tone, Pickup Selector, Q

My first question is: will this instrument
appreciate in value over time? What is it worth
today (in supreme condition)?

Now for some really annoying questions

What does 2XY indicate? I'm pretty sure this indicates two pickups of the "XY" type, but
I'm unsure of what XY means.

The pickup selector
"Pointer knob" seems to have the following control: In the up position, both pickups are
deselected, moving clockwise, the next position
is both selected, then rear pickup only, and then front pickup only. Is this correct?

I'm unsure of what the Q
switch does because I can't honestly detect
a difference in sound between the up and down positions.

Thanks for your help folks.

Rich Hinrichsen
Intermediate Member
Username: sfnic

Post Number: 140
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 2:31 pm:   Edit Post

Well, it's always hard to say what any given instrument is worth, off hand, but in general used Spolier 4s go for between $900 and $2200, with the majority selling in the $1200-1600 range.

As it happens, I have a note that some store (dhrmusic.com) has been trying to sell a lefty production-mate of yours (literally: it's S/N 92S7306) for $3200. It hasn't sold yet. You can see it here.

Basic info on Alembic pickups is here.

The "Q" switch changes the resonance (actually, the "damping factor" of the active low-pass filter. In and of itself, simply changing its position won't vary the instrument's sound much, unless you happen to be playing a note right at the filter's resonant pole frequency. Where you'll generally hear a difference is when you put thr switch into one of its "boost" positions, then rotate the tone control knob. You should hear the filter sweep as you move the resonant pole across the frequency range. It'll sound like a basic wah-wah pedal. The main use for the Q switchg is to change the "flavor" of the bass a bit, providing more upper-midrange pop without losing the bass fundamentals.

There's more info in the FAQ section for the Spoiler electronics, here.

Username: guineapig

Post Number: 5
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 3:00 pm:   Edit Post

Well, I just purchased a '92 Spoiler, SN 7266. I bought it over here in Belgium (were prices are a bit higher for American instruments) for 1600 Euro's which is at the moment about 2000 USD. I've seen other ones in Europe for 1500 and 1550, but they didn't have a maple top. I can't recall what year they were from. The one I have really is in supreme condition. It was part of the stock of an instrument shop that was closed some time ago. I was told that they bought it new, but never sold it (price was probably too high), so I'm actually the first owner.

About the Q switch. I didn't really notice a difference in sound between the two positions the first days that I had this bass. I was playing at home and I live in an appartment building so I played at low volume. Today I took it too our rehearsel room were I was able to turn my amp (Eden WT600) much louder. There clearly was a difference in sound between the two positions. While slapping the bass sounded quite a bit punchier with the switch in the on position (which is down). Sounded like it had more 'attack' and I must say, I really liked it!
Username: george_wright

Post Number: 15
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 4:48 pm:   Edit Post

Nic, that's a wierd one. It's not a spoiler body-shape.

Judging from the knob configuration, it MAY have spoiler electronics, but the pick-up selector would have been replaced with a top-hat knob.

The knobs/switches position make it a left, but it sure looks like it's strung right in the picture.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2308
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 4:17 am:   Edit Post

George and Nic, that is indeed an unusual but very nice bass. My guess is that the controls are Elan: volume, pan, filter, Q.

Rich; welcome to the group!

The description was probably meant to read 2AXY as in two AXY model pickups.

It has been my observation that the average market prices of all models of used Alembics have increased over the last year or so. It would seem that the two primary reasons for this are greater demand, more players are becoming aware of Alembics and more Alembic owners are purchasing additional instruments, and the significant price increase on new models last January. So, it is my expectation that the average market price of used Alembics will at times level out and remain steady but in the long run continue to increase over time.

The pickup selector switch should read standby, neck, both, bridge. You can switch the pickup leads to reverse the neck and bridge positions. You can also, with an Allen wrench, loosen the two hex screws and reposition the knob itself so that it points in a different direction.

As Mica stated in the post that Nic referenced, the Q if off in the up position. Open the filter all the way and with the Q off play a scale up high on the neck. Now flip the switch down to cut the Q on and play the same scale again. You should hear a difference in the high end of the freqency range. Now cut the Q off and back off a good bit on the filter. Play a scale on the low end of the neck. Now cut the Q on and play the same scale. You should hear a difference in the low to mid range of the signal depending on how much you rolled off the filter. As Mica's post pointed out, the boost provided by the Q switch is at the frequency you've selected with the low pass filter. Thus if you've got the filter rolled off, you'll hear a boost in the lower frequencies; if you have the filter open, you'll hear the boost in the higher frequencies.

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