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damonuk
New
Username: damonuk

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 10:47 am:   Edit Post

Hi all,
This is my forst post here, so hello all fellow Alembic owners and players.
I own the following Alembic:
1998 4 string Medium scale signature standard Mark King
> 3/4 standard body size
> flame maple top
> purpleheart laminate
> mahogany body
> ebony fretboard
> brass hardware
> perloid oval inlays
> polyurethane satin finish
> plastic backplate
> gold Alembic gotoh tuners
> completed 12/01/98
I'm sure this has probably been covered before so please forgive me if there are loads of other posts on this.
I'm really keen to upgrade my electronics to those of a Series II. 1. Is this possible? 2. Does anyone know how much is costs?
Any help gratefully received.
Best wishes from London.
DamonUK
bassicinstincts
Junior
Username: bassicinstincts

Post Number: 35
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 11:16 am:   Edit Post

Hi Damon,

Biggest problem you're likely to have is the instrument thickness. I think the older instruments were all 1.8" thick. The Series components are physically taller I believe, hence a modern Series I or II is thicker than say, a Stanley or Mark jobbie.

I thought for a moment you'd purchased the MK Standard I've had my eye on at the Bass Gallery. Sounds similar, but I think the BG's bass is a full-sized body bass.

Ben
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2973
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 2:08 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Damon; welcome to the group. Ben is right, because of the body thickness, you can't upgrade a Mark King to Series electronics unless your bass was custom made specifically to have the thickness necessary for the upgrade.
kungfusheriff
Senior Member
Username: kungfusheriff

Post Number: 449
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 4:13 pm:   Edit Post

This has come up before; wouldn't it be possible to add a back laminate and give the body a 1.8" depth that way?
damonuk
New
Username: damonuk

Post Number: 2
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 4:33 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Ben & Dave,
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly.
That's really disappointing. Is there really no way round it apart from the obvious and buying a Series II? I donít even mind it my bass bulges a bit at the back.
Cheers
Damon
dfung60
Intermediate Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 126
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 7:01 pm:   Edit Post

Another big issue here is that Series basses have a chambered body. When the body wings are being assembled the center core section is mostly cut away (there must be pictures of this in the Factory-to-Customer section somewhere). Since the top laminates are full thickness this isn't like an acoustic instrument at all, but it does mean that all the electronics are installed without much routing or channels being cut for wiring. Modern Series basses have the pickup selector switch near the other controls, but old ones have it out on the lower cutaway which would be a serious retrofit challenge if the body were solid (on a guitar like a Les Paul, they route the channel for the pickup selector in the body before gluing on the top).

The costs for having this sort of a mod done in the factory would likely be pretty terrifying, as just the electronics set is over $2000, then you'd have to add extensive routing and refinishing on top of that.

One less fiercesome alternative would perhaps see if you could get single coil Series-type pickups cast in the existing pickup shape you have and see if there's room to mount an unpotted hum canceller in the control cavity or another route. You would pick up some of the Series tone with the pickup change but you wouldn't have the Q-filter tone controls, stereo out, external power, etc.

David Fung
jseitang
Intermediate Member
Username: jseitang

Post Number: 135
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 7:34 pm:   Edit Post

i had this situation before. i had a signature bass but wanted series tone. issues with body thickness and chambered body considered, i upgraded the bass with anniversary electronics. this was a very good solution. it didn't cost me a ton, and i felt it was the best i could get from that situation.
however, i sold that bass, and got a series II SOLIDBODY. yes it totaLLy sounds different than a regular series bass. i also had alembic make my bass with the older original thickness of 1.75.(newer series are about 1.5, i've talked about this with mica many a times)
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 965
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 8:30 pm:   Edit Post

The quote generator says it is a $3900 upcharge on a signature bass when it is being made new. I can't see that it could possibly cost any less than that after-market, and probably would cost more. When you're making a custom order, there is probably some credit being given since the Signature electronics and AXY pickups aren't being installed. Also, there would be routing involved for the hum-canceller, so that means taking some hardware off and probably some refinish work to seal the wood where the new pocket is made.

The short answer is that you would do much better to find a 90's Series II bass for $4000-5000 and sell your MK for $2500-3000.

I just also read Jimmy Seitang's post and agree with his premise. My bass (in construction) includes Fatboy pickups, dual volume controls and 3-position Q-switches. Kind of like Anniversary electronics hard-wired for mono output with pickup and Q-switch upgrades. My understanding and expectation is that these upgrades approach the Series tone but don't quite get there.
hb3
Member
Username: hb3

Post Number: 64
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 9:15 pm:   Edit Post

my bass has anniversary electronics and I'd like to hear anyone's thoughst on the difference between those and series tone. how big a change is it?
damonuk
New
Username: damonuk

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 2:52 am:   Edit Post

Thanks Jimmy, David and bsee.
Maybe the answer is to seek a 90's series II as I really want to get that Mark King Alembic tone.
By the way - and forgive my ignorance - but what are the differences between the Signature, Anniversary and Series IIelectronics apart from the extra Q-switches? I'm assumed there was a completely different board but I didn't realise the pick-pus were different as well?
Also, just found this amongst other threads.
http://alembic.com/club/messages/411/2140.html?1060882938
So this bass is an example of a bass which had been made to be upgraded to Series II.

(Message edited by damonuk on January 08, 2006)
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 2216
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 5:20 am:   Edit Post

Signatures and Anniversary basses have -like all other basses- huncancelling PU's. Beware: that is NOT humBUCKING but for that technical difference ...I know Mica wrote something baout it some time ago. There is however a "fatboy" PU who has a wider aperture for picking up signals. There are also different "styles" in PU's: the thinner ones and teh broader ones.
Series basses (I and II) are comming with SINGLE COIL PU's .
To compensate for the huge "hum" that such LARGE sibgle coils would give a dummy "humcanceller" is added between them or hidden under the bridge for older basses.

Paul tbo
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2976
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 1:18 pm:   Edit Post

Damon; if you haven't already, check out our FAQ & Must Reads section. It won't answer all your questions, but it will provide hours of enjoyable reading!
terryc
Junior
Username: terryc

Post Number: 20
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 7:52 am:   Edit Post

I own a 1993 Mark King Standard with medium, scale with the volume, pan, 2 x tone filters and 2x Q switches and I really cannot see why you would want to upgrade the circuits. I have nicknamed mine 'Dial A Bass' as I can get every concievable sound out of it..clanky Rickenbacker to muddy Gibson to funky Fender Jazz to country Fender Precision. I don't how long you have your bass but it took me 6 months of experimentation before I got used to it..it's not 'on & off' like passive basses. A slight turn of the tone filters is all that is needed but if needs are must...
jazzyvee
Advanced Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 321
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post

I'm slightly in agreement with terryc as I have a Stanley Clarke Deluxe and I can get pretty much all the bass sounds I like. However I'm happy that I haven't really managed to get an accurate reproduction of a fender or any other bass sounds from it, I just like it to sound like an Alembic.

I agree withe the time it takes to get used to the filters. they are amazing and very sensitive. Of course a good amp helps.
Jazzyvee
rklisme
Advanced Member
Username: rklisme

Post Number: 274
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 5:24 pm:   Edit Post

I have to agree with selling your bass and picking up a used Series bass. I think it would be the best thing if not the only thing to do. You will find the Series bass to do exactly what you want it to do. They are truly amazing instruments. So much so I am thinking of selling my two none series basses one of which is still being built. If anyone is looking for a 91 Essence with Europa electronics and wide apeture pickups or a six string Coco bolo balance K with anniversary electronics and 4 position bass and treble boost on each pickup, amber LED's, stereo, 5 pin connector etc etc contact me.

Rory
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 967
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 6:59 pm:   Edit Post

Rory,

Have you asked about having your bass in-construction upgraded now? It may not be that painful to the wallet, and certainly less so than taking the hit on resale if everything else about it is the way you want it to be.

Best of luck-
Bob
rklisme
Advanced Member
Username: rklisme

Post Number: 275
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 7:59 pm:   Edit Post

Bob

I did that quite some time ago to no avail it was to late. The only thing I can do is suffer the possible loss and move on. I am totally sold on the Series instruments and can't look back. My Essence was my main/only instrument for many years and served me well now it seems I have Series fever and nothing else will do. We will see what happens in the future!

Rory
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 878
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:08 am:   Edit Post

I ain't no bass player, but rather than upgrading to series electronics isn't the next best thing (and FAR less expensive) adding an SF-2? Doesn't this give you much the same as the series system, just on the rack instead of on board?

Bill, tgo
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2984
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:41 am:   Edit Post

Bill, I think the answer in no. The starting point for Series electronics is the pickups. I don't think that you're going to get the same sound starting with AXY's and adding an SF-2.
lidon2001
Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 69
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:42 am:   Edit Post

That's funny. Rory, with his bourgeiuos concerns for other members and the prices they pay and the dealers they use, is going to throw money away since he can't order the right bass despite his many visits to the mothership. I find that very ironic and amusing.

I find the Signature electronics simply amazing, though they do make me long for a brand new Series bass.

T
rklisme
Advanced Member
Username: rklisme

Post Number: 276
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 5:51 pm:   Edit Post

Tom

It is because I know the value will not be there just like buying a car that is why I shop around. Anyway I have made peace with that whole subject and I hope you have as well.
Tom, unfornately I did not get my hands on a Series bass until after I started building my six string and once I did I tried to change but alas it was to late. If I only knew then what I know now!
It sounds as if you have had a chance to play a Series bass as well so I think you know what I am talking about. I just purchased a Series II and I need to recover a bit from that purchase.
I played my Essence for years thinking it was the end all but now while I still enjoy it I am hooked on those single coil pickups and I agree the signature electronics are amazing but I should have done like my man Brad and upgraded earlier. I am asking/begging you to be kind and allow me this mistake since I will now have to wear a stocking so I can once again be able to afford strings and food for the winter!
On a totally different subject, how do you like your bass? Have you played out with it? Last but not least do you want to buy a six string monster?

Rory
lidon2001
Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 75
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 3:03 pm:   Edit Post

The full Series prep option is the one I mulled over the most. In the end, I figured the dumb dumb HX would fool me visually, and everything I read on this site about the Signature Electronics and told to me by Val and others led me to the correct belief that they would give me what I wanted. And it's always nice to still have a dream...

Many people might say that simply buying an Alembic is taking a hit. Many members take "hits" in different ways, whether it be by a slightly higher quote from a dealer, having to sell an instrument in production since they are unhappy with it before delivery (?!), or in some other fashion that you pun-sters are thinking about. I find the irony of someone arguing against one and then doing the other amusing. You have to admit there is some comic value to that:

"Don't use that dealer, you'll take a hit; here, pass me Bill's guitar!" lol

I hope Rory's Series project is a complete success, including the sale of his masterpieces. I look forward to seeing the new Series created.

T

This post/poster does not condone the use of any controlled substance as banned by federal law.
terryc
Junior
Username: terryc

Post Number: 21
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 6:25 am:   Edit Post

Read all the replies, one was interesting about a good amp, when I visited the Alembic factory in 2000(I am from the UK) I talked to the MAN himself Ron Whickersham(I am not worthy!!!) who said all that is needed is a good quality power amp with a gain control and a matching speaker with tuned cabinet, he said his circuits are all that is needed and the amp & cab are there to transfer the sound to the ears. Alembic could build you one if needed but having took that info on board I now have all the EQ totally set at centre zero with no boost or cut..and you know he is right(heaven forbid if he was wrong!)
There is enough tonal parameters in the Signature and I would imagine even more with the variable Q controls on the Series at your fingertips.
Oh yes for the fender sound, for jazz, pan biased slightly towards bridge PU, Q's off, bridge filter at mid point, neck filter at a few degrees from mid point to treble end, play the strings at the bridge PU, for precision, pan to neck PU, filter a few degrees to the bass side.
Suppose it depends on style, amp etc as well..I use Peavey

Terry C
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 2228
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 6:45 am:   Edit Post

Hi Terry!
Now ...you make me thinking!
What would happen if I put Bonnie to the DS-5R and put this thing in stereo, leading one output to the A channel input of decent poweramp and the other output to the B channel of the poweramp. I think this cuold work just fine if working with two identical speakercabs ?? I have a 2x10 and 1x15.
Mmmmmmmm ...just thinking!

Paul the bad one
811952
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 615
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 7:15 am:   Edit Post

Paul,

For a time I ran the neck pickup into a clean full-range setup (power amp only) and the bridge pickup through another power amp via an FB2 set for massive distortion and I tweaked the mix with the volume controls on the bass. It was awesome for heavy rock. I'd give it a whirl with the cabinets you have. You might get hooked on it...

Have you gotten your hands on one of the Sony IMX camcorders yet? My wife has one and it is a thing to behold. Great video and it transfers to the Avid via gigabit ethernet. Yes, a broadcast quality camcorder with an ip address...

John
terryc
Junior
Username: terryc

Post Number: 25
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, January 16, 2006 - 6:12 am:   Edit Post

Looks like I may have started something here concerning the amp/cab thing. I think we were used to total lack of control on our basses before we could afford Alembics, I mean there is nothing wrong with the Fender Jazz bass..Jaco made it sound great but I think he was from another planet with some sort of force coming from his finger tips(the Jedi of Bass!!!)
I think all us bass players used the EQ on our amps to get the tone we sought after because there was virtually none at the guitar..it was either on or off. So along came Trace Elliot, SWR etc who gave us loads of tonal parmaters to subsidise that.
I mean look at high end hi-fi..there are no tone controls, just very high quality power amps and active speakers..no colouration..the natural sound of the music..the same for bass.
I once read that the wood is the sound, the pick ups are the mics,,the better the both the better the sound.
I really cannot complain at all about my bass, there is enough low end to rattle windows and enough hi end to annoy cats & dogs without putting 15dB on the graphic

terry c

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