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Advanced Member
Username: mdrdvp

Post Number: 204
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 4:35 am:   Edit Post

What makes an Alembic sound like an Alembic?
I know people who say itís the electronics, nothing more nothing less, if you put Alembic guts in another bass it sounds like one. Other say itís the neck or the body core. Or a combination of all. But the Alembic basses I have owned had a different character. I once owned a signature EVH bass which didnít even come close to the series basses I have owned or played. Series I and II that is.
Some of them were small bodies other big body basses but they all had a different sound . But the top and back laminates were different. Most basses had a mahogany body core and I think the same neck laminates (5 or 7) and electronics. Continuous Q or fixed Q. But with all controls full open all basses should have the same sound if it was only for the electronics to give the bass itís character. Right?

I was thinking about this for a some time and started wondering again when the Bartolini modified Alembic came up on ebay.
So what is it? BTW, itís not a complain or a problem but just something I was thinking about.
This is without the use of my SF-2, because with that thing, hey, sky is the limit. If you are able to connect your car to it, you can have it sound like an Alembic.

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 581
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 12:07 pm:   Edit Post

Interesting thought that. It would also be interesting to see how much of the sound of alembic is in the fingers too... eg If someone with a distinctive and instantly recognisable tone ie Stanley Clarke played a non alembic bass, would you be able to tell that he was?

I've read that he also uses Ken Smith basses sometimes and others but when listening to his albums I really couldn't tell which bass he was using on any particular track. All I know is He has a particular sound, maybe that sound is part him and part alembic.

That said recently I was in Canada at the Salmon Arm roots and blues festival and listened to many bands during that day. But when I walked past one stage i was drawn to the sound of the bass. It sounded different somehow.

To me it sounded like and alembic and i listened for a while before getting my camera out and zooming into the band on stage and indeed it was an alembic.

Now I have never heard an alembic live apart from Stanley Clarke in concert and me in concert lol. So I was pleased that I could hear the difference in that circumstance.

If you think of Alembics like a voice with an American accent. You would still know it was an American if it had a Texan drawl or a New Joysey tone, there is that part of the sound that is always an American accent. I think the combination of electronics and woods give each Alembic a regional American accent. I've had a long day at work so I hope that makes sense. :-)

I was going to choose an English accent to describe it but again if you are unfamiliar with the various English accent, then we all sound like Prince Charles lol.

Have a good weekend.

Advanced Member
Username: crgaston

Post Number: 282
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 1:48 pm:   Edit Post

Excellent analogy, Jazzy Vee!
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4419
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 2:57 pm:   Edit Post

I like JV's analogy too!

I once purchased a used bass off Ebay. It was a do-it-yourself project with a home-made body and a Fender-type bolt-on neck; and it had Series I electronics. It sounded like a poor-quality bass with Series I electronics.

It's more than just the electronics. It's also the select materials, design characteristics, and quality construction.

There is a somewhat related discussion here.
Username: palmann

Post Number: 49
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 3:59 pm:   Edit Post

My Essence sounds like a Precision. At least in my hands...

Yesterday a fellow bassplayer listened to our new record and asked me how I realized this fine Precision Bass sound. Well, I took an alembic. :-)

Gruesse, Pablo
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1031
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 1:00 am:   Edit Post

The BigRedBass sounds like ME.

J o e y
Username: palmann

Post Number: 50
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 2:51 am:   Edit Post

Oh well, that leads to the conclusion that I got the Precision Bass sound in my hands. Even when I play my Ric 4000 everyone says, that it sounds like a Precision. Scary...

But I think it could be worse. :-/ :-)

Gruesse, Pablo
Advanced Member
Username: jet_powers

Post Number: 289
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 6:28 am:   Edit Post

I remember reading somewhere that Geddy Lee used a Fender to do his recording yet takes a Rick on the road. Still, the sound he gets always seems to be the same. Magic?

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 583
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 7:11 am:   Edit Post

So does that mean that the bass we play is merely a catalyst between us and sound. If we get the same bass guitar and amp settings and without changing it give it to a different player to play the same bass line, it would sound different.

So is the difference in sound from any particular instrument more to do with how you play, the player or what the instrument is designed to do tonally.

I know it's obvious but there is a big difference between the sound i get when I play the same thing on my musicman and on my alembic. Although I can get a musicman type sound on my Europa but not the other way round. I also can't get the same sound of my Sc Dlx on any other of my basses. It's unique.
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 742
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 7:31 am:   Edit Post

I think a lot of the ""sound" comes from within (the player) Tone setttings , hand (right & left) technique, am choice...

I saw Getty play back in the 80's and he was playing a black Jazz bass. Remember it like it was yesterday. I always hear people say Getty was a Rick man but I will always associate him with a black Jazz.
But now Chris Squire, yep "Rick & Roto's.":-)

On a side note my yougest daughter (21) has Blues Traveler blaring from her room. John Popper is amazing.
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 828
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 6:54 pm:   Edit Post

Geddy used a fender exclusively on their last tour. Goes into the PA via a Sansamp too. His on stage rig in Glasgow consisted of 3 tumble driers and a vending machine ;-) Halfway through the gig he pulled some t.shirts out of the driers to throw to the audience.

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1032
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 7:34 pm:   Edit Post

Yeah, but those were only 'prop' dryers . . . the vintage, original ones are too valuable to take on the road. He has an endorsement deal for the vending machines, though, and he can trash all of 'em he wants.

J o e y

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