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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive 2006 » Archive through August 29, 2006 » Fernandes "Masterhand" it looked the part but did it sound the part too? « Previous Next »

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blazer
Member
Username: blazer

Post Number: 81
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 5:23 pm:   Edit Post

A clip for those who wonder how close those Lawsuit Fernandes "Masterhand" basses came to the real alembic sound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G78NaWntdeE

This is dutch master guitarist Jan Akkerman with his band sometime in the eighties (dig that synth guitar he's using) with the Bassplayer playing a Fernandes Alembic copy (identifyable by not having the brass logo and by having cream covered pickups.)

So my question here is how "Alembic" does it sound compared to the real thing?
blazer
Member
Username: blazer

Post Number: 82
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 5:28 pm:   Edit Post

Whoops, wrong link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNg5VfP9n4A
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 517
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 5:44 pm:   Edit Post

My dad used to have a guitar just like the on in the first link. I don't remeber what brand it was though.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1444
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 5:54 pm:   Edit Post

Everything I've read about the Masterhands and other Fernandes Alembic copies was that they got the wood part down pretty well, but came up short on the electronics. When I found my Masterhand guitar the electronics didn't work. I pulled it all out and dropped in Alembic electronics with RMC piezo bridge saddles. You can see it here:

http://alembic.com/club/messages/449/27907.html?1151871041

Bill, tgo
paulman
Junior
Username: paulman

Post Number: 47
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 8:38 am:   Edit Post

The guitar on the first link is the 2nd generation of Roland synth guitars.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 3401
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

I've heard the Fernandes Masterhands many times. They don't sound bad, but they also don't sound particularly special either. They don't sound like Alembics to me.

BTW, cream pickups have been on many Alembics, you can even still special order that way. Also, while it may be fun to refer to these as "Lawsuit Fernandes" there was no lawsuit over these instruments.
blazer
Member
Username: blazer

Post Number: 83
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 12:02 pm:   Edit Post

Well Mica, I guess I call them "lawsuit" because they hail from the era of when Japanese factories such as Kanda Shokai (Tokai, Fernandes) Matsumoku (Aria, univox) and Fuji-gen (Ibanez, Greco) were making copies of such quality that the companies they copied from were losing sales. So Fender, Gibson and Rickenbacker filed lawsuits to make the copying stop.

Because Fernandes has also stopped making Alembic copies I figured that you guys also took action against them copying your basses.
byoung
Advanced Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 302
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 8:13 pm:   Edit Post

So, if I order cream pickups will I sound like Jack Bruce?
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 715
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 5:20 am:   Edit Post

Brad, You need years of alcohol abuse and a glaswegian accent to sound like Jack Bruce;-)

Graeme
keavin
Senior Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 876
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 7:10 am:   Edit Post

I recall Mica stating in a (previous thread somewhere) that the feds Raided a music store somewhere & comphiscated all of those Fernendes alembic copys and DESTROYED them all in the parking lot by Breaking off all of their Head stocks!.....by the way those Basses don't sound all that bad & they look Stunning!

(Message edited by keavin on July 07, 2006)
fc_spoiler
Member
Username: fc_spoiler

Post Number: 76
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 8:13 am:   Edit Post

Found these on the net



I wonder how many Fernandes owners there are thinking they have an Alembic...

(Message edited by fc_spoiler on July 07, 2006)
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 537
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 8:41 am:   Edit Post

This is one of those odd legal battles that I don't fully understand. I mean this bass is obviously meant to copy an Alembic, which IMHO is wrong. But how many brands of basses and guitars are copies of P-basses, Jazzís, Strats, Teles and so on. So how do you punish the manufacturer of this bass but not the Fender copycats? I guess as long as they donít actually put the Alembic or Fender names on them they feel itís OK.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1455
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 8:43 am:   Edit Post

I've also heard the "broke all the heads off in a guitar center parking lot in Denver" story. I don't think it was from Mica, though. As I recall, I read it in another forum while I was researching Masterhands after buying mine two years ago. I believe the concensus was that this was an urban myth. Another urban myth is the whole "lawsuit guitars" thing. IIRC there really was never a big lawsuit, America v. Japan. There was only one or two actions regarding headstock shape. Notice that many companies in countries all over the world still manufature strat/tele/Les Paul/SG/335 look-a-likes. The headstock shapes, though, are different.

Here's a previous thread discussing Fernandes:

http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/7109.html#POST11708

By the way, not all Fernandes Alembic copies are "Masterhands", in fact, most aren't. The top picture in the above post is an FAB180, while the bottom pics are an FAB170.

Here's a Masterhand Bass:



And here's a Fernandes copy of an Alembicized Fender Precision!:



Bill, tgo
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 963
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 9:23 am:   Edit Post

Olie,

Not odd at all. When you're a small company like Alembic, you have a reputation at stake, with a large-scale company that marketed the Fernandes brand, with a large-scale budget, cutting into your small-scale earnings.

For corporate America, the Gibson or Fender product is a market commodity. Copies mean slightly less turnaround, plus an aura of 'the real thing' attached to the originals, which helps marketing.

Plus pre-corporate Fender and Gibson forgot to patent body shapes. Since most models had the same peghead shape, those were considered a distinguishing mark for the Fender or Gibson brand, and these could not be used on copies.
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 538
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 9:38 am:   Edit Post

I think I may have been misunderstood in my last post. I am NOT condoning Fernandes making copies of Alembics. I think any copy, whether it is of an Alembic, Fender, Gibson, Elvis or whatever is just that, a COPY of the real thing, which can never be as good. I personally think Fernandes was coat-tailing on Alembics success and awe. This shows a lack of originality to me.
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 717
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 2:23 pm:   Edit Post

coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago, a guy on a UK bass forum pointed out that whenever a rick copy appears on EBAY, rickenbacker manage to get the auction pulled. Even if the seller makes it very obvious that it's a copy which seems incredibly petty to me.

graeme
zappahead
Intermediate Member
Username: zappahead

Post Number: 132
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 6:37 pm:   Edit Post

The Tribute is a "copy" of an Irwin guitar....

Lets face it, just about every guitar maker is guilty of making one offs and copies. Fernandes (to me) crossed the line by trying to pass their guitars and basses off as Alembics. Very rarely does someone go that far in copying a guitar. It wasnt done as a nod to Alembic either, it was just a complete rip off of their instruments.
oujeebass
Member
Username: oujeebass

Post Number: 78
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 9:16 am:   Edit Post

We are all copies in one way or another.
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 563
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 9:21 am:   Edit Post

I believe Russ is correct here, Fernandes was looking to make a buck.
And Wade while we are all copies of the "original" I like to think of us has hand signed lithographs.
georgie_boy
Member
Username: georgie_boy

Post Number: 55
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 10:34 am:   Edit Post

Hi Wouter!
Well, to answer your question, and those of so many other Alembiciens.
I used to own a Fernandes Alembic "copy" It was a "series 1". To look at both guitars, there was NO difference (not having seen many real Alembics) except for the head logo. The one I owned cost me £790.00 way back in 1987 and I was so thrilled at having my first "Alembic"
The sound was better than anything I'd played before-I even put her up against a JD MK and it was BETTER!
It had all the Q switches and filters and all that stuff, but it was so "clinical"---no warmth or sweetness of tone,-but it was an "Alembic!!!)
At the time, I played it through a 400watt Peavey amp with 2x H.H. 8x10 cabs, so the sound should have been awesome!------but it wasn't?!
I waited 25 years to get a 1976 Series 1, and finally got one 6 years ago. The sweetness of tones and playability on the real one are way beyond that of the Fernandes.
So maybe the "cheapest" option is to buy a fernandes and rip the guts out of it and put the "real" stuff inside!
Maybe all I wanted to say is-don't decry the Underdog, as they make some superb instruments.
Just appreciate the fact that you've got the real thing------cause it's worth the extra bucks.

Take care

George
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1462
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 7:13 pm:   Edit Post

Like this, George?

http://alembic.com/club/messages/449/27907.html?1152125927

Bill, tgo
georgie_boy
Member
Username: georgie_boy

Post Number: 56
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 6:33 am:   Edit Post

Well er em YES Bill!!!. Just like that!
That guitar looks just awesome. You certainly must love her to put so much time, effort and money into her but, why did you do that to that guitar?? The craftsmanship looks amazing but, as stated in a previous response----how does it sound??? Does it sound like an Alembic (with the magnetic pick-ups) or is it still a "copy" trying to emulate the real thing??
Having said all that, she must be great with all that stuff inside. The inlays are superb, as is the work done to bring her to the spec you wanted.
Enjoy her Bill!!!

George
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1464
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:06 am:   Edit Post

George:

"Tina" (named after my wife who, as my 49th B-day present, allowed me to buy it and have all the mods done) does indeed sound amazing, definitey Alembic-like. Gary Brawer, who did all the work except the inays, did one particular mod that seems to make a big difference. The bridge was originally screwed to the top of the guitar, as one would expect. (The Masterhands had load thru the back bridges, unlike Alembics and the Fernandes direct Alembic copies). Gary routed the top and sunk the bridge about 1/8" down into the wood to get a better angle on the strings. This seems to have increased sustain. As I've noted in a previous thread, I always judge an electric guitar by how it sounds unplugged. This one is outstanding.

In addition, this particular guitar and I have some history. I first saw it brand new about 25 years or so ago at a store in Oakland called "Leo's". Back then, it was the closest to an Alembic I could even dream of, and even then I couldn't afford it. It sat in Leo's for a while and then Leo decided to close out his instrument stock and concentrate on Pro Audio (which they still do to this day in the same location). I remember the salesmen telling me "Johnny B. Goode is dead".

Cut to about 25 years later. I'm in Subway Guitars, a VERY interesting store in Berkeley. They specialize in weird and cheapo guitars (Check them out here: http://www.fatdawg.com/). Anyway, I see the Fernandes hanging there, looking a little frayed around the edges, I think maybe one of the switches was broken off. I ask about it and find out that Fat Dawg (owner) had bought out the rest of Leo's stock years before. This was the very same Fernandes I had drooled over. It had been sitting in Fat Dawg's warehouse for over 20 years until he moved to a bigger location and put it on the floor. I had to have it.

That said, I'm still jonesing for my custom Further to be completed.

Bill, tgo

(Message edited by lbpesq on July 13, 2006)
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 719
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:16 am:   Edit Post

Forgive an ognorant Englishman but, 'Jonesing' ???

Graeme
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 720
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:16 am:   Edit Post

Forgive an ignorant Englishman but, 'Jonesing' ???

Graeme
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 565
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:18 am:   Edit Post

Graeme, it's slang for...
Yearning, craving, desiring, lusting for....
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 970
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:21 am:   Edit Post

As from "keeping up with the Joneses", right?
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 721
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:22 am:   Edit Post

Ah! It all suddenly becomes clear.

Graeme
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 566
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:24 am:   Edit Post

Adriaan, I neder thought of it that way before, but exactly.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1466
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 8:32 am:   Edit Post

It's often used to describe a VERY strong craving, commonly used for an addict going through withdrawals, for example "the junkie is really jonesing for a fix" or "Bill is really jonesing for his Alembic"

Bill, tgo
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 493
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 9:36 am:   Edit Post

Or I've got a basket ball jones, I've got a basket ball jones, I've got a basketball jones oh baby oh oh oh. :-)

Keith
byoung
Advanced Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 307
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 10:13 am:   Edit Post

That basketball was like a basketball to me.
fmm
Intermediate Member
Username: fmm

Post Number: 161
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post

I used to put that basketball underneath my pillow. Maybe that's why I can't sleep at night.
dfung60
Intermediate Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 186
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 11:44 pm:   Edit Post

ACHTUNG! TYPO OF THE DAY:

>>That said, I'm still jonesing for my custom Furher to be completed. <<

Gott Im Himmel, I don't even want to ask what the inlays will look like on that, Herr Commandant!

Leo's had more respectful psuedo-Alembics than any other store I've ever seen ("Olympic" anyone?). When Steinbergers hit big, not only did they sell the real article, but they also had a flood of "Brianbergers" and more.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1469
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 6:59 am:   Edit Post

Noted ... fixed. Thanks for the head's up, David. With a name like "Panzer", that's one typo I really should watch out for. (And for those wondering, no, my people didn't invent the tank. They were too busy getting run over by it).

Bill, tgo
crazykiwi
Junior
Username: crazykiwi

Post Number: 42
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 4:08 am:   Edit Post

"Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 2:23 pm:

coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago, a guy on a UK bass forum pointed out that whenever a rick copy appears on EBAY, rickenbacker manage to get the auction pulled."

Graeme, FWIW that specific bass forum is the one I co-manage at Bassworld.co.uk. I don't think Ebay ever furnished a satisfactory explanation.
kmh364
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1958
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 5:17 am:   Edit Post

Das ist ALLES sheisse! LOL!

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