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Alembic Club » Swap Shop and Wish Lists » Seen on craigslist, eBay, and elsewhere » Archive through March 30, 2007 » 1986 Spoiler 5 on ebay « Previous Next »

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Username: rms

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 6:26 am:   Edit Post

Hello all, I'm new to the board but like the rest of you have always dreamed of owning an Alembic. I believe what would work best for me is something close to what Jimmy Johnson plays - though I have never been close enough to Jimmy or his bass to be sure. 5 string, narrow spacing, medium scale, I have fairly small hands. I love the tone Jimmy gets and of course his playing is phenomenal. Which leads me to this;
Which was also sold on Elderly not too long ago;

I think the neck width is wider on the spoiler than on Jimmy's bass and, obviously, Jimmy plays a custom - Series (I?). From what I have read the price seems a bit high at $1900 for the current bid and I don't want to drive the price higher for the current bidder if this is not the right instrument for me. I would sure appreciate any insight / advice. Thanks, Mitch
Username: rms

Post Number: 2
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 5:54 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry about the long url's, I'll get it right next time. I hit the post button before I read all the directions. I've also found a lot more info on the "flim" bass - Mik used to own a beauty, and about Spoilers. Just takes some serious digging through old posts and lots of reading.
Username: mica

Post Number: 4200
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 6:25 pm:   Edit Post

There were fewer 5-strings made back then compared to recently. Most of the 1980s basses will have the narrow spacing you prefer. I'm not sure Jimmy's would be much narrower - the Spoiler in the auction still is using 4-string width pickups.

As far as sound goes, comparing a Walnut Series II to a Koa Spoiler will certainly sound different. The Koa will be warmer, with less highs. The Walnut usually has better definition, with a faster attack.

I don't think you'll really find the Jimmy sound from a Spoiler, but you will get closer to it with any Alembic that has low-pass filters for tone controls. What the basses will share is clarity and sustain. If you purchased an identical bass to Jimmy's Series II, you'd make your own sound come from it. If nothing else, Alembics are revealing.

Also keep in mind that Jimmy usually plays directly into the board.

There's lots of reading to do here, that's for sure. Lots of great information and even some fun distractions.
Intermediate Member
Username: room037

Post Number: 148
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 7:46 am:   Edit Post

Hi Mitch,

Did you read this thread ?
We discussed about Jimmy Johnson.

I also love the narrow spacing 5 strings because my small hands just like you.
I own 76's, 77's & 83's basses with 5 strings.
70's width (1st to 5th) is exactly same as my Distillate (1st to 4th).
It is narrower (3mm at 12 frets, 6mm at bridge) than 80's.
Playability is different, and narrow spacing is more effective than the scale.
I think, Jimmy's play style depends on the narrow spacing.

You must try 70's 5 strings.


(Message edited by room037 on March 02, 2007)
Username: rms

Post Number: 3
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 8:06 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Mica,
Thanks for all the great info! It's amazing to be able to post a question on a board like this and get answers directly from the owners/artisans of the company that made the bass, thank you! One other thing I'm wondering about is the sound of the B string. With so many makers going to 35" scale to tighten up the B how does it sound and feel on the 32" scale? Also I have been reading up on the electronics but I'm wondering what upgrade options are available for the Spoiler - and does it even need to be upgraded? Also there is a Persuader with Walnut top that is available Serial #90P6058
What can you tell me about it? (Or should I ask that under the other forum heading?)

Eiji - Thanks for the links, great pics and info on Jimmy. If you haven't heard Chad Wackerman's CD "The View" on CMP from '93 check it out - I was listening to it this afternoon, great recording featuring Flim. Also the Tokyo Dream concert, amazing video of that group - I always knew Jimmy was a phenomenal talent but he really does incredible stuff in that show with all his chordal work, upper register fills, low end, great tone, all around amazing.
Your basses are beautiful in those pics, and I really like the narrow spacing. I have never seen a 70's 5 string at all much less one for sale so I don't know if I should wait to try and find one. I of course would love to special order a custom Series bass but will have to save more first. I'm tempted by the used Spoiler or Persuader option since it is more affordable.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4838
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 6:57 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Mitch; yes, serial number requests should be posted to the serial number request thread. Every once in a while, when Mica gets an opportunity, she looks up a lot of requests at one time. Much more efficient that way.

I think it is probably the case that any kind of an upgrade to the electronics on a Spoiler would probably have to be done at Alembic. Probably the simplest upgrade would be to replace the pickup selector switch with a pan control. Another possible upgrade might be adding bass and treble boost/cut switches. And then a really nice upgrade might be converting to Signature electronics. But there are lots of Spoiler owners who are happy with their electronics just the way they are. Not many people go to the trouble of upgrading the Spoilers.

There are also some very happy 5 string 32" Alembic owners as well.
Username: rms

Post Number: 5
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 9:19 am:   Edit Post

Hey Dave,
Thanks for the reply! I was really just curious about changes to the electronics since I had read about other people doing various things. I'm guessing I will be very happy with the sound as is - and I'm sure it will be better than anything else I have owned. I'm also thinking that the 32" scale will be great since first position is a little painful on my 34" basses. Now I will have to search for a medium scale fretless too though since I don't think I will be able to switch back and forth from 32" fretted to 34" fretless. Intonation is already difficult enough without throwing muscle memory off constantly.

BTW Dave, I really enjoyed the videos and music on your band's website! You guys have a great sound and challenging setlist, must be a lot of fun.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4854
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 7:57 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks Mitch; it is a lot of fun!

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