Post Number: 1
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 3:34 pm: |
I am finally ordering the Alembic of my life. I have pretty much the same story as alot of you who have also purchased your Alembic. I have waited and waited all my life ever since the days of the Greatful Dead at Be-ins to Stanley Clarke at the Circle Star.
I purchased a Excel about 7 years ago to tie me over until I could afford "da kine". Even my Excel is miles above any bass I have had before. There is just something about it that exceeds the others. But now even it is not enough. I druel over basses on this website day and night.
I had a Les Paul recording bass years ago which I loved. I also owned a Fender jazz and and EBO, and I have a Carvin now along with my Excel. But the Carvin doesn't even come close to the Excel.
Here is my question to you. I am now ordering a custom Series II with alot of bells and whistles, so to speak. I am at the point where I want the nicest sound, action, looks, feel, love, etc. I mean, for C-----sakes, I'm 53 and who knows how much longer I'll be around! But you know, I'm not the top notch bass player that alot of you guys are out there. I play pretty good for me and definitely have many orgasms playing my bass. So ya know, the love is there. It's just that I am not a professional player, I play for fun and I am kind of worried, here's why-
This morning I was reading in the Featured Custom Vault, November 2006 NN bass that Alain built. He made a comment in there that was quite contrary to what I was expecting out of my Series II. He said that the Series II was so efficient so to speak that I had better be on my toes because it is so clean sounding. And he inferred that I had better be polished on my playing because all of the sounds were going to be heard so well. He did also say that it would definitely make me a better player because of that which is a good thing.
In some of your guys best experience, am I making a mistake by going straight to a Series II? I am honestly a pretty good player and have been told but I am just afraid.
Can anybody help me? Is the Series II alittle to advanced for me? Should I be getting less complicated electronics that are simpler or am I just starting to get shell shocked? Should I get Mark King electronics and buy a superfilter on the side?
(Message edited by mele_aloha on January 08, 2007)
Post Number: 284
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 3:56 pm: |
If you want the Series II- get the series II. I'm no pro-player either- in fact I'm pretty much a no-talent thudwacker, but that doesn't stop me from loving every minute I pick up the bass.
If the Series II will make you happy, go for it. Your technique will catch up and you'll have fun getting there.
BTW: a series bass is at the top of my wish list too- if you get it, I'll be able to live vicariously through you. =)
Post Number: 62
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 4:49 pm: |
I've never played or even seen a Series in person, but I can tell you that it took months of woodshedding to get my technique clean enough for my Stan Standard. I had what club member olie has called "jazz fingers" after years of playing Jazzes. But all that meant was that I had to play her all the more often and longer. No bad thing that .
By all means go for the Series II and make sure you have Mica set up a FTC page so we can follow her progress from conception to finished product!
I have a couple of custom Series basses designed in my head and on paper. With luck my new band will give me the means to make them reality. Good luck with your bass!
(Another) Paul (there seem to be a lot of Pauls around here!)
Post Number: 396
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 4:50 pm: |
I consider myself to be an adequate player. Not a virtuoso (Stanley, Victor, Marcus) not a first call studio guy (Nathan East, John Pattitucci).
I ordered my Series II about 7 years ago because I knew it would be the bass that I would keep no matter how many others came and went. Since I received that bass and a used Series I, I have bought 7 other basses, sold 5 of them, and have another on the way. Through it all, both my Series basses are staying put.
I could easily have accomplished all my bass playing with anything in the Alembic stable. Anything in the Fender, Yamaha, or Ibanez stables for that matter. I went all out for the Mark King / Series II content because it was a great bonus year and I figured it would be my best shot to get the dream bass.
Now, I will agree that an Alembic Series bass will tell on you if your technique is sloppy. One way to fix that. Clean it up. That's what was meant by "it will make you a better player". It won't necessarily make you more creative or get you on the fast-track to tapping and chordal melodies, but it will make you tighten up your technique.
As for whether to go for the Series II or Mark King plus Superfilter, that depends on your circumstances and mindset. I thought about going with the Mark King and the Superfilter, but I figured "This will be the only custom bass I'll ever order, so I may as well go for it." Now, fact of the matter is, I've ordered two other customs since then (not Alembics, but nice) but I still do not regret going all out for the one I ordered / bought / own / will pass on to my kids.
The only thing I would say to discourage you from ordering the Series II is that there are already too many Pauls in this club (old-timers will get the joke)
Welcome to the Alembic Club!!
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 5:11 pm: |
Thanks you guys, that's funny about the Paul's. I tried like hell to find a handle with Paul in it but you guys already had them so I just decided to go by the name of my bass. But low and behold, somebody even had this name so I had to put the underscore in there.
Well, you know, the truth is that I can play bass way better with my Alembic than any other bass because the action is so so so good that it just makes it easier. And I've never had to readjust my neck on my Excel like my other basses. That baby just stays put. But it's amazing how much the Alembic teaches me. It's so fun to play because I can play so much better. Instead of fighting to play the thing it's like it is driving me to the notes and improving my facility. I LOVE IT!
And hifiguy, ya, I think that Mica will put it in the FTC pages, I hope. She is the nicest thing!
They (Mica and Valentino) have been so hospitable with me. I have made some eratic changes and they just be "cool" and go along. I am the one who promised Valentino in the beginning that this would be my final answer. But the more I read in here the more ideas I get from all of you and so I have made a few adjustments.
The biggest one though is that I wanted all along to have a koa top because I live here in Hawaii and I wanted to keep the Hawaii theme. Pass it on to my son, etc. (Born and raised in Monta Vista, Cupertino) But I am so in love with the 5A quilted maple that I wound up calling Val and changing koa to back and maple to front. I just love the look of the quilted Maple with the gold harware, black pick-ups, etc.
When Valintino sends me my confirmation I can't wait to post my options!!!
Post Number: 285
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 5:28 pm: |
If you want some Koa, you could always do what several others have done here lately- go with a different wood choice as a back laminate- ( Charles' Custom and Bill's Further being two examples)- You could have your maple top and go with Koa as a back laminate.
Maple front--- body wood of choice--- Koa back
(Message edited by tbrannon on January 08, 2007)
Post Number: 144
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 6:08 pm: |
Congratulations on your new special.
If you ordered a Series II, then you already know that it comes with a long list of upgrades in addition to the electronics that would cost more in any other model. I once owned a 4 string series 1 bass and let it go because I became a 5 string player. You won't be displeased with the series package, it is the top of the line. It's a VERY CLEAN sound, like playing in the studio all the time.
Post Number: 334
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 8:02 pm: |
Congratulations, sir! It's a wonderful thing!
My custom Europa is the most sensitive and responsive bass I've ever heard, due to both the awesome woodworkings and craftsmanship and use of tone woods, and also due to the awesome Alembic electronics -which deliver awesome clean sound like no other electronics.
It's only a made me a better player. It WILL reveal your limitations... it'll also help you go beyond them unlike anything else, and it'll help and inspire you to push your boundries unlike anything else... it'll bring out the best in you. Don't be afraid of it!
Compared to your Excel, you're about to jump up AT LEAST two quantum levels!
Make sure you get at least one Ebony laminate in your neck, y'hear? Maybe you're already planning to, but just in case it happens to be the case that'cha don't know about it... ask around. It's worth getting at least one -especially with a Series bass!
Post Number: 274
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 9:13 pm: |
It has been said..It is good to be the King.
Owning a piece of history with the ability to produce so many sounds...why not go for it?
As you yourself indicated..how long will you be around? Nobody ever knows..but something you do know..is what you want and like..and how many more chances will you have to have to create the instrument "of a lifetime"?
Post Number: 89
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 9:38 pm: |
You'll never regret it. I will certainly never get rid of my Series 1, although someday, I'll order a custom.
Post Number: 478
|Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 11:06 pm: |
Just go for it.
Post Number: 253
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 2:46 am: |
If you can aford it go for it. And don't be afraid of the instrument showing up your weaknesses. I'm no Jaco and don't own a series bass but have been playing professionally most of my life. When I got my 1st Alembic (a used 88 Persuader which explains my forum name) It blew me away. It was the most EASY to play responsive bass I ever had up until then. Then I got an Epic ... nice bass but I liked the Persuader much better. (sold both the Persuader and Epic and I'm kicking myself for doing so) Then I got my Stanley Clark Standard ... Oh ... My ... GOD! The bass brought out everything I did ... in a good way. It was easy to play, melted in my hands and it brought my playing up two levels over night! And that's a Stanley Clark Standard ... not a Series II. So my advice is don't be afraid of the bass and think to yourself "I'm not worthy," rather be excited about the up coming improvements you'll be making in your playing. Not to mention owning one of the higest end basses ever created!!! You'll be the envy of everyone ... Including me!!! Enjoy ...
Post Number: 275
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 7:01 am: |
So what do you think?
We talk you into it yet? ;)
Post Number: 1111
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 12:35 pm: |
Mele, I'd only add this:
There's lots of people who aren't professional photographers who love their Leicas. Lots of Ducati riders who'll never turn a wheel in Superbike. Lots of folks with Steinway grands who'll only go to Carnegie Hall with a ticket.
You'll NEVER be sorry you bought the best; you'll only hate it took this long to get it done. There's a very quiet satisfaction and deep pride I feel every time I play mine.
And I'll repeat my maxim one more time: How often can you own a legend?
J o e y
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 1:13 pm: |
You guys are so awesome! What a response! Thank you sososos much! Now you really have me pumped more than I could imagine. I've been reading most of your posts for a long time and now I am so blessed to have been addressed by each one of you individually. Really thank all of you.
You have reitterated what I have been saying since I got my Excel. It stepped up my playing so much as it is. And some of my bass friends say "how could that be"?, (they have never played an Alembic) but you guys know it is very true and you have backed me up.
Now I can hardly wait for my "Mele Aloha" Custom Series II
I can't wait for that clean sound that I have tried to achieve for years. You have assured me that is what I will get. I have never played an alembic with two pick-ups on it or even stood next to someone. I've only heard them in concert or recordings.
To you TBRANNON, yes that is what I have in mind. I had koa going on the front, a 1/4" maple laminate next, a pinstripe of purpleheart, then a vermillion body. The back would be 5a quilted maple with a purleheart laminate between the body.
But now I have changed it and reversed the front with the back as I am so much in love with the 5a fan shaped bubble quilt maple. I am now working close with Valentino to show him exactly what kind of quilt maple that I want.
Soon I am going to post the whole bass breakdown and get your guys opinion.
Again I am so impressed by all of your responses.
P.S. This is the pattern of 5a quilted maple that I am looking for. This is also the body shape I have ordered unless any of you have last minute suggestions before they start to make it, The only diffence is I will have the heart of Omega cutaway, maple top to center from the bridge pick-up up, and my neck has a total of 13 laminates of Ebony, mahagony, walnut, purpleheart, and maple.
Post Number: 286
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 1:27 pm: |
That neck sounds AWESOME. I love all the nice multi-laminate necks that have been popping up lately. Cool stuff.
Since you're going with the Koa, I'm gonna assume you might like some of amber-vintage tinted maples. Have you seen any of them? Check these two- the first is a quilted maple Series II and the 2nd Oliver's birdseye Maple Dragon Wing.
Quilt Maple Series II
Looking forward to seeing the progress~ Enjoy it.
Post Number: 1989
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 2:50 pm: |
Paul, tho (the Hawaiian one)
Congrats and welcome to the club! I think you are making the right decision. As a guitar player, I experienced the same phenomena regarding technique. My first Alembic was an '83 Electrum which I bought in 2004. (After lusting for one for about 30 years - Deadhead, you know how it goes). That was followed by a '76 Series I and a Custom Further still in progress, as well as Alembic guts transplants to three other guitars. Basically, an Alembic will not hide the sloppy technique that gets swept under the pick guard when I play my Strat, ES335, Daion, or other non-Alembic instruments. The Alembics have so much presence and are so clean and clear that you have to finger them right. Don't be intimidated by this - it really is a good thing. I don't think this is because I was a bad player before, it's just that there were aspects to my technique that I didn't pay attention to because I was unaware due to the fact that I couldn't hear it. The Alembics brought this out. No great changes required, just a little more attention to detail. The result is well worth the effort.
As for your choice of woods, it sounds like it's going to be a beautiful bass. My Further is being built with a 5A quilted maple top and cocobolo back. Here are some pics:
Toby's suggestion of an amber tint is certainly one to consider. Mine will be getting such a tint after the final inlay is completed.
Bill, the guitar one
Post Number: 6
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 7:07 pm: |
Your guitar is the first guitar that I referred to Valentino as an example. At first I mistook yours for the December Chesire custom. That was while I was on phone with Valentino. Then when I got off of the phone I went back and checked and realized that yours wasn't that one. When I double checked the Cheshire up close it was all birdseye. There is also a guitar above (the quilt maple II series) that tbrannon sent me a link to that has a little birdseye in it in the top which I really like so I also sent that link to Valentino to refer to him about it.
Needless to say your guitar was one of the deciding pics that I was looking at when I made the choice to revert from koa on front and maple on back to viseversa.
I Have had the above signature bass on my screensaver for some time now and I did about 6 months ago for a while.
I think what really gets me the most about the maple is that depth. The 3d effect. I just love that. It's like you can reach into it.
The koa also has that if it is sanded and coated really well. My Carvin has a pretty good effect but when I look at yours, the job that the experts have done, it just astounds me. I am mezmarized. Your guitar is beautiful.
I have to tell you all though, this is a very hard decision for me as it is a lifetime decision and I absolutely love all of the woods in their own way. The coco bolo, the walnut especially where I was brought up around walnut trees and the spaldings,the redwoods, they are all gorgeous.
The truth is that you would have never known it unless the folks at Alembic got there hands on it and made it that way. They bring out the beauty of the nature!
It reminds me of those rocks that you can find where they just look like an ugly old rock until they are cut open and the edges are polished and they are full of crystals. That's what these basses are about. Alembic gets ahold of the wood, they polish them up and install all of this magic crystal and POOFFFF, MAGIC!!!
I am so hungry for the sound now that I am going nuts. I have my Excel plugged in over there into my SVT-2 pro and all of the tubes have been warming up for several hours now and getting ready to play. But when that Series II comes I am sure like all of the rest of you, I won't be able to peel off of the thing. My poor 3 year old little buddy won't be able to get ahold of me I'm afraid.
Thanks Bill, Paul
Thanks for the response, Paul
Post Number: 339
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 7:32 pm: |
Paul, I'll really look forward to seeing your neck!!! Sounds tres' cool.
If ya want some inspiration, check out the neck on my custom 6-string in FTC! And also the neck on my custom 8-String Europa (see "8 Strings of Power" in the Custom Archives)!!!
Yeah, Toby, you're right about all the cool necks that've been popping up recently. I've really been digging them. I'm looking forward to digging mine!
And Paul... about the Ebony in the neck... you WON'T be sorry!!!
Mark TMSO (the multi-stringed one)
Post Number: 7
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 7:57 pm: |
Ya Mark, I've been watching your bass. The neck is awesome. I am looking for your 8sop now.
Post Number: 1991
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 8:00 pm: |
Aloha! I also love the cocobolo, especially the really swirly stuff (gee, can you tell?). But, like you, it is the 3D effect of quilted maple that absolutely floors me every time. You may notice that I reversed the woods on my peghead: cocobolo front and q maple back, so a touch of each is always showing regardless of the viewing angle. Koa is also an amazing wood. My Series has a koa core which is incredible to look at. In person it appears to be translucent allowing glimpses of the interior!
Enjoy the ride.
Post Number: 8
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 8:09 pm: |
What a beautiful shot of a beauty. I think I've seen this one and it is gorgeous. See, right there wheh I see this picture I want to switch back to coco bolo. You know what I mean? I mean it honest.
I go nuts looking at all of this stuff and I've been doing it so long that I finally stopped the wheel on Koa on the front and q maple on the back. Then I put my money down and my order in.
Now 1 month later because of the holidays, luckily the guitar hasn't been started yet so I switched again and went the q maple on front and koa on back.
Believe me, I am going to stick with that but before this bass is even built I bet I'll be ordering my fretless and I guarantee that it's going to be something like that picture you are showing me! Awesome awesome, beautiful. It just gives me a rush to look at it!
Post Number: 9
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 8:18 pm: |
I just checked out your 8 string. What a thing of beauty. Nice neck config. 6 pieces of Ebony? Is that nice sounding or what?
Must be fun!!!
Post Number: 1992
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 9:44 pm: |
That last picture ain't coco, it's koa. And the 8 string ain't mine either. The closest I come is a Fender Strat XII to which I applied the final coat of shielding paint this afternoon. 24 hours drying time and tomorrow night I slap on the pickguard with three Alembic pickups, low pass filter and 3 way Q switch. I'm really looking forward to hearing the Alembic electronics on a 12 string guitar.
Post Number: 11
|Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 11:53 pm: |
I was watching House on tv and got you and Mark mixed up. Only I thought you were showing me a rare case of coco bolo above which I should have looked careful and noticed it was koa.
The Fender sure sounds nice though. I'd like to see that one.
Thanks for now, must go to bed.