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Username: willgunn

Post Number: 1
Registered: 2-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - 3:29 pm:   Edit Post

What can I say?! I've got the fever, and I've got it bad! Three months ago, after owning, playing and being totally captivated by Alembics since 1976, I took what has to be the Ultimate Plunge and became a full-blown dealer for the finest Basses and Guitars in the Galaxy! And if that wasn't enough, I made the commitment to represent Alembics exclusively! I'm not sure if that was an act of total devotion or enthusiasm having run out of control...time will tell. But it's a heck of a ride in either case!
Seriously though, it is with the deepest humility and respect that I offer up my humble introduction to this august assemblage of fellow enthusiasts and devotees. I'd debated over whether or not it would even be appropriate to do so in the context of this forum, but Susan & Mica Wickersham both encouraged and supported the idea, so here we are, folks!
Probably the biggest challenge of doing what I'm doing is to not get too attached to these fantastic instruments passing through my hands. In the same way that, "strangers are only friends we haven't yet met", I'm merely caring for these beauties until their intended owners discover them...or so it feels to me. Instruments such as these are not mere hunks of merchandise...they're works of Art, and functional art too, no less. All in all, I feel very, very fortunate that the events in my recent life have permitted me to pursue this particular venture.
On a more personal note, I'm an "old school" R&B/Blues/Jazz-type Bass Player who's idea of fun is to lay down a groove "wide enough to drive a truck through", and after 15 years of playing 5-string basses, I realized that I rarely, if ever, even touched the "G" string; so why not just get rid of it?! About 2 years ago, I converted an "ordinary" 4-string bass to "BEAD" tuning, and found that it worked perfectly for me. So, having said all that, I'm proud to announce the arrival of a new "Baby" of my own: a highly customized Essence 4-string Bass... tuned "BEAD", of course! This Bass will feature the same neck wood "formula" as a "Little Darling" Guitar...but with Flame Maple for the outer laminates. Likewise, the body will be of Flame Maple with a Bookmatched-to-center Coco Bolo top and accent laminates as per the "Tribute" Guitar. The electronics will be "Europa"-style MINUS the bass & treble switches (i.e. 2 pre-amps, rather than the usual one, as typically found on the Essence)and with a three-position "Q"-switch. Pickups will be an "AXY" in the neck position, with a "Fatboy" in the bridge position. Of course, there will be a whole lot of cosmetic extras as well, just to keep things interesting. I chose the "Essence" body style for the simple reason that it's small dimensions nicely fit MY small dimensions (I'm 5'6"). Isn't this stuff fun?! Hopefully, a thread will be put up on the "Factory to Customer" topic section documenting the building of this instrument (hint hint, Mica!).
Should anyone out there care to simply "chew the fat" regarding any and all matters Alembic, feel free to contact me anytime...I can't get enough of it! Likewise, if anyone has any ideas and/or suggestions regarding my little business endeavor, please- share them with me! I view this as a "work in progress", and am truly open to your ideas and observations.

Respecting the Groove,

Will Gunn

Senior Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 425
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - 5:18 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Will, welcome to the club!

They tell me you're getting/got the exceedingly awesome Burl Redwood Balance K Signature bass I saw... quite a beauty.

I respect and appreciate your endeavor as an Alembic dealer; as I recently committed to purchasing a new custom 6-String (see Factory to Customer, "Mark's Custom 6-String Bass"), I'm unfortunately not in a position to consider supporting you as a customer; but I wish you the very best of luck with it.

As far as my thoughts on your new bass...

well, if you take a look at my customer 8-String -COTM in the Custom Archives, June 1999- you'll get a sense that we're apparently at opposite ends of the spectrum in some ways.

I can't conceive or ordering a bass with any less than 5 as an absolute minimum, and really, 6 as a preferred minimum. My perspective is, the more strings and frets, the better...
at least, to a point.

For me, my 8-String (BEADGCFBb) with 31 frets provides total contentment with range -and also with the tone controls (INDIVIDUAL bass, mid, treble, filter & variable Qs for each pickup).

My new custom 6-string is much more conservative, with merely Europa electronics w 3-position Q.

Hmm. Well, you're obviously not me, and if you actually don't use a G-string -that thought is profoundly alien and somewhat un-processable to me- then it makes since insofar as a 4-string is cheaper than a 5-string.

You indicated you're a smaller guy, and that that's part of your choice. Have you carefully considered the scale length and the fingerboard dimensions? I'm sure you know how important that is. Have you considered adding at least one Ebony neck laminate? It has an incredible effect on the sound, which I'm sure you'll note if you play the Burl Redwood Balance K. My understanding is that it'll help a shorter scale bass have a better sounding low B... so if you want a smaller/lighter/shorter bass... you might ask 'em about this strategy. Are you getting a 34 inch scale, 33, 32, or something else?

Why ditch the bass & treble boost/flat/cut switches? They're very useful, and add tremendous additional control and flexability.

Is it just a whole "minimalist" paradigm? Because going from 3 knobs and a toggle to 3 knobs and 3 toggles doesn't significantly reduce minimalistic and/or aesthetic values, but quite significantly increases functional value.

Personally, I regard Europa electronics with a 3-position Q as the perfect MINIMAL electronics setup... from there, you upgrade, either by upgrading the tone controls to VARIABLE controls, AND/OR having individual tone controls for each pickup. (For clarification, by "minimal", I mean, "for Alembic." A standard Europa is at least equally versatile electronics-wise -to any other non-Alembic I've ever seen/played/heard.)

The wood choices sound great, and remind me of my custom 8-String. The body and outer neck laminates are Flame Maple (literally the SAME PIECES of wood...) and the Bocate top looks similar to Coco Bolo, and has fooled a few people. So I know from experience that combo looks great.

The only other thing I can say is, again, Ebony neck laminates are awesome, and very practical. If you could find a way to get them in your neck, they'd pay off. I appreciate the beauty of the standard darling neck, and could see how you might just be totally sold on that formula, and unwilling to consider changing any aspect of it. But if you were willing, you could consider swapping the single Vermillion lam for an Ebony lam, or swapping the 2 Purpleheart lams, or even swapping the maple pinstripes for 2 slightly wider Ebony laminates.

Again, welcome to the club, Will, and best of luck with your endeavor as a dealer, and with your upcoming custom! I'll look forward to seeing it!
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4820
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - 9:07 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Will, welcome to the group!!
Senior Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 826
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 12:09 am:   Edit Post

Welcome Will, I've heard good things about you from BigRedBass.

Though I happen to have a 5, I'm with you on the BEAD thing. Congratulations on the Essence, sounds like it should be a great fit.
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 1066
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 4:34 am:   Edit Post

Welcome to the club Will and good luck with your business. I'm pretty impressed with your inventory and I especially like the burl redwood balance K. Shame you're on the wrong side of the pond for me ;-(

Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 1393
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 4:13 am:   Edit Post

is there a purple pinstripe on that skylark top?
where the carving comes down
Username: willgunn

Post Number: 4
Registered: 2-2007
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 10:31 am:   Edit Post

Hi everybody!

First off, thanks so much to all of you for your kind words of welcome, support and encouragement..it really means a lot to me! I don't know why I'd waited so long to "get on board" with the Club, but I'm glad I finally did so!
That's one heck of an 8-string Bass you've got there, Mark! I appreciate your input regarding neck laminates and controls, areas I'd certainly pondered over at great length pertaining to my new Bass (incidentally, it will be a 34" scale). I'll be the first to admit that this new instrument is indeed somewhat minimalist...though a more accurate word might be "specific"...I'll try to explain:
As a Bass Player, I've come identify, recognize, embrace and accept who and what I AM within the World of Music, and where exactly I'm wanting to go IN that World. And, for better or worse, that process has been somewhat EXclusionary...by it's very nature. Part of the process of knowing and understanding who and what we ARE involves knowing, understanding and yes, accepting who and what we are NOT. Of course, for the purpose at hand, I'm talkin' about MUSIC here...not meaning to get TOO heavy or to imply that this applies to any OTHER areas of life!! In my particular case, that process brought me to the realization that as a Bassist, "Old School R&B/Blues/Jazz" pretty much summed up where I'm coming from and what I'm all about. And you know what? I can LIVE with that!
Likewise, this new Bass is indeed a rather specific tool conceived and designed to help realize my own rather specific musical vision. Why not just use a P-Bass with worn-out Flatwounds and a foam rubber mute, as was used by all of my Musical Mentors and Idols? Now, there's a question that doesn't even DESERVE an answer!
Here truly lies the beauty of Alembic...as an instrument, and as a company. Where else can a player go and actually fulfill every single need and/or desire they might have, regarding what has to be the most personal and intimate object in their life, second only to one's own body?! I rest my case...but if that ain't "preachin' to the choir", heck, I don't know what is!

Respecting the Groove,

Will Gunn
Senior Member
Username: 57basstra

Post Number: 531
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post

Hello, Will. We miss you here in the Volunteer State! Hope all things are going well for you and your family. God bless.

David R.
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 512
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 2:33 pm:   Edit Post


I understand-- I bought a fretless Epic 4, and had it converted to BEAD. For the music I play (gospel), the B is way more valuable than the G.

Anyhow, welcome!

Senior Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 754
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 6:21 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome to the club. Good luck in your new shop. I hope to be able to visit sometime and sample an instrument to two (if allowed). I've got two Epics, an '81 Distillate, and a '73 Guild SF-2. I play rock (classic and/or original), funk, jazz, blues, and folk by ear.
Your philosphy on musical identity resonates nicely for me. I would add that continuing to grow has validity, ultimately it provides my outlet for creative freedom and expression.
I gotta go restring my fretless Epic. I'm recording a track for my band, "Pickled BEATS" tomorrow morning.

Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 606
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 6:32 am:   Edit Post

Will, great initiative and wonderful collection!
I'd love that PH Orion, but at the moment it's a financial no-go for me, unfortunately...

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1136
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 7:55 pm:   Edit Post

I got to know WG when he lived down the road from me in Hendersonvlle, TN, just above Nashville. He then decides to become an 'Alembic only' dealer, think I've died and went to heaven to have 10 or 12 new Alembics just up the street . . . . then he decides to move home to Iowa ! Sheeessshhh . . .

Anyway, Will is a first-rate human being, a VERY experienced bassist and truly knows his Alembics, from woods to electronics to finishes. He's EXACTLY the kind of guy you can spend rather substantial sums of money with and NEVER worry about some internet-horror story.

Except for his moving away, I can recommend him with NO hesitation, and hope all of you will include him in your looking around when you go Alembic-shopping, to honor his devotion and guts to be an 'all Alembic/all the time' dealer.

OK, so where the hell in Iowa is it, again?

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: mint_bass

Post Number: 275
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 7:45 am:   Edit Post


Welcome to the club and good luck with the new company.

Senior Member
Username: bracheen

Post Number: 1162
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 9:05 am:   Edit Post


Cross the Mississippi and hang a right, you can't miss it. :-)
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2165
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 9:46 am:   Edit Post

Iowa lot to Iowa pot!

(Sorry, couldn't resist - it's what I think of whenever I hear "Iowa")

Bill, tgo

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