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Username: cosmic

Post Number: 36
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 12:34 pm:   Edit Post

What are ya'lls thoughts on Spector vs. Alembic?

And just comparing the top end Spectors, not their bolt on stuff.

Major similarities:
-Both are neck thru
-Both are active electronics
-Both are made with a differring wood tops vs bodies
-Both can be had with varying exotic woods
-Both are extremely versatile in sound
-Both are preferred by many professionals.

Major differences:
-Alembics are completely custom made
-Alembics utilize filters, versus the boost only circuitry in Spectors
-Alembics use ebony fingerboards, Spectors either rosewood or pau ferro
-Alembic neck thrus can be compsed of maple only or a mix of ebony or purpleheart

Has anybody ever really A-B ed these basses? I own a Spector neck-thru and am in the market for a vintage Alembic.

Any thoughts on the two?

(Message edited by cosmic on November 18, 2005)

(Message edited by cosmic on November 18, 2005)
Intermediate Member
Username: jseitang

Post Number: 127
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post

i've played on both. there is no comparison. thats my opinion. since you already own a spector, i think you should go for the alembic.
Intermediate Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 166
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 1:09 pm:   Edit Post

Actually, Alembic has more wood choices are available for necks than those listed (I've seen cherry and walnut at least). The spector basses I have played have been really nice, but usually if someone is going to drop 6k on instrument, they want it exactly to their own specs.
Username: cosmic

Post Number: 37
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 3:59 pm:   Edit Post

Any opinions on tone and playability?

And by the way, I am already in the market for an Alembic -- but I have only had the opportunity to play an Epic. I am not looking for a set-neck, but a neck thru.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 567
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 6:40 pm:   Edit Post

Get a Series I or Series II and you'll find that you can get any sound that's in your head, though it will take some time to learn how to use the filters and Q...

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 485
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 9:03 pm:   Edit Post

I'd give anything to be in their shop and see the fixture they use to carve that curve into the body. There was a picture in one of their brochures but I still couldn't picture in my mind the blank and the fixture and how they do it . . .

Spectors are perfectly fine instruments, the design long since perfected in the 20 years that Stuart has been building Ned Steinberger's amazing design. I demo'd a NS4 in oil natural and the feeling of the body next to me, the curve, all the roundover'd edges, it was just wonderful. Neck profile/width, etc., is so personal, but was OK for me. Schaller keys, and the countersunk bridge is a nice touch. The Czech ones are easily as good as the handbuilts they send out of upstate NY, unless you've just got money to burn.

The only catch is the EMGs. They are the perfect commercial pickups, quiet as death, and a very useful tone, if not just a little sterile for some players. Over the years they've used EMG, or Aguilar, or Spector tone networks, so that varies a little bit. But they AIN'T Alembic pickups or tone controls, and that's the big difference, as well as the broad range of designs that Alembic builds.

I can't think of a better EMG bass, but as always, I hope the routs are a standard size so you could trade out to Activators, Barts, what have you if the mood strikes you.

I've always admired just how ergonomic they are, just one more masterwork from Ned S. It's also interesting to watch the price points of the Spector range to watch as the price indicates geography: real cheap (China), cheap (Korea), moderate (Czech Republic), expensive (NY State).
Oughta be on CNBC . . .

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 288
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 8:40 am:   Edit Post

I've got a Spector Czech bass..very nice instrument, like Joey said the body feels great. But the neck doesnt compare to the Alembic (personal preference)..I like the satin feel of the Alembic better. The Alembics electronics are far more versitile. To each their own, but I plan on selling it to support another Alembic.
After comparing their USA and Czech models I think the Czech is a much better buy.

Username: cosmic

Post Number: 38
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 12:05 pm:   Edit Post

Yeah, that is what I have is a Czech model. A-B'd one to a USS model and could not fathom why I would pay more.

On a side note, I am a big EMG fan and like the cleaness of the pickups. What some call sterlie, I call clean and pure.

As far as Alembics go, I have mainly been looking at medium scale spoilers and persuaders -- possibly a full scale essence. Not sure if I could afford a series 1 or 2 quite yet.

If I was having one custom built I think I would go with the Europa. I like the styling of that bass. LLike to find one to try out -- problem is the oonly place around me that has Alembic's is Chuck Levin's in MD and they only carry some epic, orion's and an essence.
Username: ctjim

Post Number: 22
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 2:04 pm:   Edit Post

you need to surf a little more @ Chuck's. From my own surfing I noticed a slew of rogue 4 & 5 strings. I don't know how they compare to europa's, but they are all NOS, so the co$t$ are very reasonable. FWIW. Good luck.
Username: cosmic

Post Number: 39
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 5:04 pm:   Edit Post

you're right, there are rogues there. I forget to mention them. Not a big fan of the upper horn design so I did not really consider them. I should check them out though, next time I head by Chuck's.
Username: bassdr

Post Number: 34
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 4:10 pm:   Edit Post

Cosmic- you should play an Essence some time if you haven't- light and comfortable, not as versitle in tone controls as the high end models but wonderful to play and through an F-1X sounds the best of anything I've played, and affordable. Michael (Flame Koa Essence)
Intermediate Member
Username: 88persuader

Post Number: 168
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 8:53 pm:   Edit Post

My two cents ... high end Spectors are great. So are MANY other high end basses. Once you reach the level and "price tag" many of these basses have you can't loose. Alembics are unique in my poinion because partly the filters and also wood combos available. And there's also the "feeling" you get playing one knowing how well made it is and the personal attention that was put into it. On a slightly different note ... Epics are nice basses but like all the set neck Alembics aren't really on the same level as the through neck models. I owned an epic 5 string, an old Persuader bass and I own a Stanley Clark Standard and the sound and play ability difference between the two set neck basses and the Epic was night and day. BUT of course you pay a premimum for the difference too. I guess i'm saying if you already play a high end Spector and want an Alembic I think you need to buy a higher end Alembic. all the set neck Alembics are GREAT basses but they have more "normal" electronics. If you really want the Alembic sound you need something with Q filters. (Or at least find an Epic or set neck Alembic with upgrades electronics.

Again just my opinion ... NO disrespect meant to any players who love their set neck Alembics!
Username: 2400wattman

Post Number: 5
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, November 21, 2005 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post

Cosmic, the difference between the two basses is that they are completely different in build and tone.These things are wonderful beautiful tools for us to make music with.I encourage you to keep your Spector as that is a Killer Bass,it does have its own sound and look that no other bass really has,(I have two NS-2's & would not sell them for the world!)& neither does the Alembic. If you are playing for other bands or artists it is nice to have a varied collection of basses so you can be prepared to meet anything that is asked of you. I had spoke briefly with one of the reps @ Alembic and they suggested that I buy a used Alembic to see what I'm getting into & when I go to make the plunge for the Custom Dream bass I'll know what I'm looking for in a truly custom piece.So I'll make the same recommendation although I will agree with 88persuader that a neck through would be more ideal, and a used neck through, cost wise won't be that much more than a used set neck(Think Distillate,Europa,or Elan).Good luck on your search.

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