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Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 1
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 1:28 pm:   Edit Post

This Series I instrument has been available for sale at the local Guitar Center for a couple years. They have lost the power supply and cable, and the electronics do not work correctly. Even with new batteries, it crackles and pops when the pickup selector switch is moved and the neck pickup can just barely be heard. The bridge pickup is completely silent.

I'd appreciate any info on the instrument's history. Also any pricing on replacement parts / repairs would help with the purchase negotiations.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 1338
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 3:43 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome to the club!

I'm sure once Mica has a chance, she'll be able to get all the info you're looking for.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 6247
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 7:19 am:   Edit Post

Hi Loch, welcome to the board!

There are several things that might be going on here.

The 1/4" jack is probably stereo; if you plug in a normal guitar cable, you will only hear one pickup. To hear both pickups, try plugging in some headphones.

If the bass has been sitting around unplayed for a while, the pots probably need exercising. Alembic uses sealed pots; the pots are self-cleaning. Try turning each of the knobs, including the selector switch, back and forth twenty or thirty times.

Each of the pots should be firmly attached to the body since they ground to the shielding paint on the inside control cavity. If a pot are loose, the knob will need to be removed; there are two allen screws holding the knob to the shaft.

Open the control cavity cover and make sure that nothing is inappropriately grounding to the shielding paint or other components; and just generally make sure everything looks ok. Look for any user modifications, sloppy soldering, messing wiring, that might indicate that the electronics have been modified.

Notice the three points where the pickups plug in to the PC board. Make sure they are firmly attached. You may want to unplug and replug them. But be careful. At the moment I can't recall which connectors are on that model year. Instructions for the old style are here; for the new style, grab the housing and not the wire.

There are four trim pots mounted on the back plate. The two outside pots are gain controls for the pickups. You might want to make sure both of these are turned up (clockwise).

According to the Alembic web site, the price of a new power supply is $550, and the price of the cable is $190.
Advanced Member
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 292
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 7:35 am:   Edit Post

Hi Loch, welcome!
This bass was in the Chicago area. I could not get it to function properly with its batteries either (never tried a power supply). The sounding pickup was hollow and produced no audible bass tones. I asked Mica for a lookup as well in another 781150 thread where she responded that the file for this bass could not be located.
Best, Art

(Message edited by artswork99 on February 19, 2008)
Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 2
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 9:42 am:   Edit Post


Thanks for the link. I did a search for 78-1150 before posting this, but missed 781150!

The sound you describe is exactly what I heard as well. I seriously doubt they will ever get the $3799 that they are asking in its current condition. There was a tech on site who took it apart, checked for loose connections, etc. but we couldn't find anything obvious. I'm guessing it may have to go back to Alembic for repairs.


I thought the 1/4" jack on the Series I was mono with stereo only available through the power supply. That might explain why only one pickup was audible (barely).

When I heard the snap, crackle, pop, I unplugged and exercised all the knobs, especially the pickup selector switch. For the one pickup, the volume control seemed to work (going smoothly from nothing to barely audible), and the Q / filter might have been working, again the audio was so low it was hard to tell. I guess there's a possibility that only the selector switch has an issue.

I may try to get them to REALLY drop the price since it has so many issues right now. Nice to know that it has already been purchased and returned at least once already.

If I do acquire it, I'll pull it all apart and see if I can figure out what the problem is. I've done a lot of work on the electronics in other instruments I own, so this should provide an interesting challenge!

Are schematics available for the circuits in this vintage Series I? If so, I've got the scopes and meters to trace through the signal paths.

I appreciate the welcome and all the help. Hope to be joining the Alembic OWNER'S club soon. :-)

Advanced Member
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 293
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 11:24 am:   Edit Post

You're welcome Loch. Email sent.
Senior Member
Username: kungfusheriff

Post Number: 655
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post

Why not skip the BS and get another '78 Series 1 for less money from the dealer in this thread?
From what I've been hearing lately, the buyout of GC is leading to salespersons and managers having FAR less freedom to wheel and deal in order to make a sale. To me, that means they won't budge on the price, even for a very ill instrument.
Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 12
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2008 - 3:16 pm:   Edit Post

This Series I is still sitting in the Burbank, IL Guitar Center with the same price and a "no negotiation" policy!

It's going to be there a LONG time...

picture of the front
Username: mica

Post Number: 5593
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2008 - 4:24 pm:   Edit Post

Well, sometimes a (u) file really does get found!
Here's what I saw in the file for for 78-1150:

top and back: Schedua
body: Mahogany
through-body neck: Maple and Purpleheart, 34" long scale
fingerboard: Ebony with mother of pearl inlays
peghead veneers: Zebrawood
birthday: June 15, 1978
originally made for: Rothchild

There's no other details in the file.
Intermediate Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 154
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2008 - 9:44 am:   Edit Post

I have found GC will sit on used stuff quite a while and then one day you walk in and there is a price sticker on it that has been dropped way down. It's just seems to be a matter of timing. I find the real sales occur a week or two right after an advertised big sale (like labor day) when they blow stuff out the door that did not sell during the regular sale.

The good thing about GC is that they are not in love with their stuff like private owners are. I don't know how many times I have seen a thread here with a bass for sale that the owner then changes their mind on selling. That can be very frustrating and not fair to prospective buyers.

Good luck, Dave
Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 57
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post

I guess I'll stop by every so often just to check on it. But unless they REALLY drop the price, I think it has too many potentially expensive issues to be worth the investment.
Username: lowdbass

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 7:26 pm:   Edit Post

I bought this bass from GC in Chicago on South Cicero Ave. I got a really great deal on it,I already have an old IN2 that I bought from Stanley Clarke and Im having a cable made,I think the problem is the 1/4 jack along with the battery terminals that someone switched out,just to let Imiwa know that it's gone and I will get it going again bass is in great shape for a 78, thanks Daryl Jones
Senior Member
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 518
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 7:29 am:   Edit Post

Congratulation Daryl!
I'm glad to see this get a home where someone can get it back into shape.
Play it Healthy!

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