Owning (being owned by?) The Dragon's... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Fun Stories » Archive through July 31, 2004 » Owning (being owned by?) The Dragon's Wing - A Review & My Thank You List « Previous Next »

Author Message
Advanced Member
Username: rogertvr

Post Number: 220
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 4:22 pm:   Edit Post

Now that I've had the absolute pleasure of owing this instrument for a couple of weeks or so, I thought that it was time to share my experiences...

It's not massively heavy - about 5.5Kg (is that about 12 pounds? For comparison, my 4001 is 4.5Kg). It has a lovely balance, if I take both of my hands off the bass, it just hangs there - it favours neither claw nor wing!

I couldn't get along with the Alembic strings, which I think were CX-3 at 45 gauge. So I replaced those with Elites Stadium Stainless Steel Roundwound 35 gauge which I use anyway. My small fingers just don't cope with heavy strings. They are also a lot brighter than the CX-3s. I've had to set it up for the change of gauge and also for the change in climate, it's taken two large and a few small changes but it seems to have settled down now. The action is low, the strings aren't quite on the frets but I have had them there whilst I was adjusting it and it was still playable but my touch isn't quite THAT light - yet!

Sound - amazing! No other word for it. I often wondered during the whole project if I'd gone for the poor relation choosing Signature electronics. As I couldn't afford and still can't afford Series I or II, I am astounded at the sounds that are available. I've played a few basses in my time but Alembic kills them all I'm sure, regardless of what actual electronics are in the bass! The DW has a firm, round and warm bottom-end. Jacqueline has said that she thinks that "the actual bass part of the sound is quite warm, whereas the 4001 is more sharp" - not bad from someone who doesn't play a note! It has a killer mid-range with a serious growl that took me by surprise (a legacy of years of 4001 playing where there isn't much mid at all) and a top-end that rings as clear as a bell. Trust me - it rings! And it sustains forever - I was going to time it, but the batteries on my watch went flat before the sustain stopped ;-)

I know it looks like an unorthodox shape, but I find that it is comfortable to play standing up or sitting down. The balance and the weight help the shape - it's a little hard to describe - it's "just right".

Build quality and craftsmanship? I've never seen another non-Alembic instrument that is built like this one is. My 4001 is well built and I have no complaints and never have had - but the DW is in another league. One thing I was worried about before seeing it was the dragon inlay but it really does stand close inspection. I guess that is just normal fear of what was the unknown for me! And those pair of green sapphire eyes do it for me every time! The quality of materials in the inlay are without question the best available and the craftsmanship defies and beggars belief. Honestly, if I could give you all a touchy feely example here on this website - I would!

I was lucky enough to have Rockandroller (Michael Walker) volunteer his engineering services to me regarding trying to copy the neck profile on my 4001, which suits my small hands and fingers perfectly. When I went to visit Edwin (and of course my other friends who were there) in Hilversum, I was pretty scared the first time that I held the DW. Had Alembic used the drawings that Michael had created or paid them lip service? I can tell you that they definitely used them - if anything, the neck on the DW is slimmer than the 4001, not by much but considering this was a neck copy made remotely from drawings - it's an amazing job!!!!!!!!!!! The profile is fantastic - it's hard to believe that it is possible to get a bass neck this slim. Ask Oliver (senmen) what he thinks of it - he played it too. Full marks to Rockandroller (my most sincere thanks Michael - next time you're in the UK, let me know - beers and dinner on me for yourself and your wife, you choose the venue) and my most sincere thanks of course to Alembic for making it happen!!

I want to take this opportunity to thank Edwin van Huik at the Bass Connection, Hilversum in The Netherlands, for his endless patience with my endless questions (which I'm sure he's heard from thousands of other customers in the past). Thanks Ed for a first class service - I felt like your only customer through this whole project, such was your care and attention to me!

Quite a few other people have helped with this project along the way. In various ways really, mostly through the Club. Ideas, suggestions, help, advice, your own experiences...apart from Edwin and Michael (both of whom I have named above because they went to an awful lot of time and trouble to help me), I'm not going to name you all because I might forget someone and that is not my intention - you know who you are! I would have made a few stupid mistakes along the way had it not been for your involvement.

And thanks to Alembic...to Mica for helping with my endless questions and for your endless patience, help and suggestions...to Susan for some wicked design ideas, guidance and for making some subsitutions that I should have spotted myself...you know what they are Susan ;-) and many thanks :-)

Finally - to all of the Alembic people who actually brought this instrument to life - you HAVE surpassed yourselves and my most sincere thanks to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With my best regards and best wishes to you all,

Advanced Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 267
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 4:50 pm:   Edit Post

hey,now that your 'that' happy!!!,i went out to have a 12,pack,just for you & just because it feels like there was a new baby born and just made it(home)fresh from the deliveryroom!!.so for all that joy your experiencing!, heres my best reguards !!!!!cheers!!!!!!!!..and dont forget to send in those gig photos!!. peace!from keavin (alembic#12)
Username: edwin_van_huik

Post Number: 53
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:25 am:   Edit Post

Thanx again for your possitive force and compliments. Say hello to your lovely wife Jacqui.

Bass regards from a Dutch Bass Friend,

Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1286
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 1:18 am:   Edit Post

Roger ...I am very happy everything seems to turn out very well. It was my pleasure to contribute, to listen and to see DW growing.
So ...and when those beers?? When are you hopping over again?
Everybody says she is so beautifull ...I'm really anxious to see her "in real" ...oh ...huh ...and your guitar too LOL

Paul the bad one
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 52
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 5:22 am:   Edit Post

Roger, it's a wonderful bass, and you're story paints a similarly great picture of what Alembic is all about I feel, even though I'm only a 'licenced member' of the club since last January. Congratulations!
Username: mint_bass

Post Number: 93
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 6:40 am:   Edit Post

congratulations your bass is awsome i love it and it is always great to hear some one that happy with a bass you have went through the experience of working on a custom i hope to get that chance one day

well done
Intermediate Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 145
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 9:05 am:   Edit Post

Extremely cool bass. Extremely gracious customer. Extremely cool!
Advanced Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 279
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 9:22 am:   Edit Post

that is what you call true love!!!!
Advanced Member
Username: dean_m

Post Number: 296
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 11:47 am:   Edit Post

Hey Roger,

Wishing you a lifetime of happy musical experiences with your new baby!!! It really is a work of art combined with function.
I'm sure the DW will be in the family for many generations.


Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration