Post Number: 262
|Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 8:24 am: |
Question: when you finally decide to take the plunge and order a custom build from Alembic, what are the steps you go through? Would it be best to call Alembic first with specs and then figure out which dealer to order through, or the other way around?
Additionally, I live in an area nowhere near an Alembic dealer. How does one decide which to call and place an order through? I presume it's best to call several and get various quotes, but I wasn't really sure how that worked.
Thanks in advance for your input!
Post Number: 561
|Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 9:32 am: |
Will Gunn is a Club Member and Alembic dealer. He has had a bunch of custom builds made for himself and would be a great resource as you spec out your instrument.
Post Number: 1186
|Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 7:07 pm: |
I started my custom by calling Will Gunn. I bounced ideas off of Will with several phone calls and he really helped shape the bass. He's seen enough Alembics pass through his hands over time that he really has a good feel for how wood choices and electronics packages will shape the bass. I talked with Will three or four times and then placed my order with him. I never had direct phone contact with Susan, Mica or anyone else at Alembic. Mica DID call after I had received the bass to see how things were, but I didn't talk with anyone there during the planning or build stages.
I'm sure there are quite a few other great Alembic dealers out there (I've heard good reports about several others), but if the day comes where I can afford to build another one, I'll be calling Will.
Post Number: 2457
|Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 7:33 pm: |
There are some parts of the design that you might not consider on your own. One great way to get a custom rolling is to post your thoughts on the dreaming board and have a good conversation here before you decide on, or bother, any dealer.
I'm not sure how much value there is in calling around for quotes. Alembic instituted a policy of maximum discount a few years ago and, if still in place, you probably shouldn't see any difference in the quotes. That doesn't mean a dealer won't throw in something to appear more competitive than the others, but price shouldn't really be an issue. Do a board search here and you'll find at least 2-3 dealers that come very highly recommended.
Another key issue, if the money matters, is that you examine the monthly specials and see which would be most advantageous to your design. Also, be aware that some features that might appear to be purely cosmetic have performance implications and should be considered. Among these are wood backplates, LEDs, and plated hardware.
Post Number: 70
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 5:29 am: |
Will Gunn Guitars: When I started my custom build planning; currently under construction; Will was and has been VERY helpful in communicating the input from my ideas through reviewing AND suggesting options, layouts, electronics options, body styles, etc. into the best design/most comfortable to play bass, that I would have never thought of... (revised multiple times!); even after spending many hours reveiwing other builds on club/Alembic Featured custom threads.
I also had help from and communication with Susan/Mica after I initially placed my order.
Post Number: 1401
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 8:22 am: |
Will has an encyclopedic knowledge of these axes, and is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He's also a player, which helps his insight even more. And typically he's got a little more time than Mica or Susan, a help when you're in that 'thinking out loud' stage.
I can not recommend him highly enough to you.
J o e y
Post Number: 644
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 6:18 pm: |
Bob, what are the performance implications of LEDs and wood backplates?
Post Number: 9378
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 6:31 pm: |
Edwin; I imagine that what Bob is getting at is that when you're performing on a dark stage the LED's can be helpful, and that when performing long sets or shows, the difference between wood and brass may become apparent.
Post Number: 2459
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 9:41 pm: |
Dave's comment on the LEDs is right on. Many people look at LEDs and think it's an extravagant gimmick. Once you've had an opportunity to play with them, though, they become quite a useful feature.
Had I understood the weight implications of brass/gold plated hardware vs. wood backplates, I would have gone for the wood to save significant weight. Wood plates cost more at the time (not sure about today) and, at first glance, appear to be only a cosmetic choice. I made a mistake in my build because I didn't realize this.
Plating the rest of the hardware also appears to be purely cosmetic. I suppose it really doesn't have a performance implication other than avoiding the pitting problems that the brass will develop over time without careful maintenance. It is about more than just color though.
Body shapes are about hanging balance as much as they are about appearance. Wood recipes can look pretty, but they also factor into the tone.
If you go back a few years, there were three dealers that were receiving most of the recommendations. One is now gone, and the other two were Bass Central and Bass Northwest. Will Gunn appears to be an Alembic-only dealer and may be a low overhead operation that is best able to maximize discount for you. I went through Bass Central and was very satisfied.
Post Number: 431
|Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 11:46 pm: |
At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, LED fret markers look cool and are more visible under any condition, but they potentially will greatly complicate fret work in the future which is a factor I would consider.
I'm not sure exactly how they do the LED markers, but I believe they route a channel under the bass side of the fretboard before it's assembled to the neck. They install the LEDS in a thin strip that will fill this channel, then glue that into the side of the neck which is then finished normally.
The LEDs aren't where the frets are, but if you upset the LED strip when pulling or installing the frets, then I think it's going to be a big deal to repair this. I had a signficant fret levelling done on my graphite Series II and the tech that did this (Rich Hoeg, the best fretwork on graphite necks anywhere) only would take this job on with the understanding that he wasn't going to be liable for the LEDs.
We all look at our fret markers more than we get our basses refretted, so maybe this isn't an issue.
On my older Series IIs, the LEDs aren't mounted in a silver inlay the way they do it now. I often play with a wireless, so the LEDs aren't lit and it's harder to see than plain 'ol dots.
Post Number: 645
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 3:17 pm: |
Thanks guys! I thought from the way that it was phrased that maybe there was a negative performance implication from LEDs and wood backplates. Having an impending Series I with both options, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something that I needed to get prepared to deal with to compensate.
Post Number: 1630
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 3:29 pm: |
Depending upon the color you choose you might want to take the LED's brightness into consideration. To me the standard level for blue LED's is too bright so I needed to have them reduced. However I have found the red LED's to be just fine as they are shipped.
Post Number: 650
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 4:10 pm: |
Well, the choice was made for me (see http://alembic.com/club/messages/411/77495.html?1274748320 for some details of my impending bass), but the LEDs are all red. The side LEDs will be not very bright (although adjustable with resistors in the control cavity) and the front ones will have a dimmer. I doubt those will see much action as that kind of thing is a little ostentatious for my taste, but they will be fun to have.
I am looking forward to having the side LEDs.
Post Number: 651
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 4:12 pm: |
Well, the choice was made for me (see http://alembic.com/club/messages/411/77495.html?1274748320 for some details of my impending bass), but the LEDs are all red. The side LEDs will be not very bright (although adjustable with resistors in the control cavity) and the front ones will have a dimmer. I doubt those will see much action as that kind of thing is a little ostentatious for my taste. I wouldn't have chosen to have them if I had spec'ed the bass from the get go, but I think it will be fun to have them!
I am looking forward to having the side LEDs!