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Username: markthemuscleshark

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2011
Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 10:03 pm:   Edit Post

Okay, I fear that I might get hunted down by the Wickersham-ian Death Guard for this, but, would it be possible to order an Alembic with *gulp* passive pickups? What about passive volume, or even... a "traditional" tone control? I know this sounds rather blasphemous, but here's my reason. Many musicians know that us guitar players are very traditionally minded. We all want that perfect Brown sound, woman tone, classic rock crunch, jazzy warmth, blistering metal, tight rhythmic funk, down and dirty blues, plus we want to sound like Clapton, Page, SRV, etcetera. I have heard that Alembic instruments have a very unique sound. I fear that the "Alembic sound" may not be right for me. I still want Alembic's beautiful tonewoods and astonishing craftsmanship, but with a sound more familiar to my ears. Basically, would it be possible to order an Alembic guitar with some more traditional electronics?
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2786
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 11:28 pm:   Edit Post

(A note from the Moderatorial Guard of No-Nonsense at the Holy Grail of Websites.)

Give Mica a call and discuss what you have in mind. There is something to be said for having non-Alembic pickups installed as part of the build, to avoid having to hack up all that wonderful woodwork and finish.

Looking forward to seeing your dream materialize!
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 659
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 6:18 am:   Edit Post

Sometime ago a member posted about a mod to bypass active circuit in his Excel.
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1346
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 6:50 am:   Edit Post

A very similar discussion is happening in another thread that started yesterday. It's about retrofitting a couple guitars, but it sounds like there are discussions with Mica about how to get it done properly.

This should help~

(Message edited by tbrannon on April 27, 2011)
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 4839
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 7:02 am:   Edit Post

I'm sure it's possible, but may I suggest that you try out an Alembic guitar before doing something so radical. Just because you have no experience with an Alembic is not the best reason to forgo Alembic electronics, IMHO. As an example, would it make sense to special order a Ferrari with a Ford V8 because one has never driven a 12 cylinder engine before and worries it might not drive like Steve McQueen's Mustang in Bullitt? I can tell you that I am often complimented on the tone of my Alembic guitars (not necessarily on my playing, lol!). The first time I played an Alembic with my band at rehearsal, even the drummer commented on how good it sounded. Admittedly, Alembic electronics are not for everyone, but, as they said in the old "Mikey" commercials, "try it, you'll like it".

Bill, the guitar one
Senior Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 462
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 7:53 am:   Edit Post

Mica has stated that Alembic has changed their policy and will put in the customer's choice of electronics. She mentioned she is not familiar with the tones produced by them, and therefore cannot really comment on the resulting tone when plugged in.

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2412
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 10:11 am:   Edit Post

I do wonder about the used alembic market for those "Alembics" with non alembic innards. There have been some on ebay where the alembic innards have been replaced with Barts or other systems and it has raised questions about them being considered authentic alembics.

Also it is worth considering that other manufacturers pickups tend to be strongly voiced so some of the subtle differences in tonality that are afforded by choice of wood and construction methods and alembic pickups may not be available when using other pickup brand.

I have already committed Alembic Blasphemy by changing the filter circuits inside one of my basses for a different type of filter arrangement. Instead of one filter, I now have low and high pass filters on each pickup with CVQ on the LP and gain on the HP, master volume and pan.

Thankfully, the bass still sounds like an alembic when played side by side with my other alembic basses but the extra filters gives a wider sonic pallate.( that said i have not gigged much with it since the mod so it's hard to say whether the extra scope is useful on-stage).
At the time I was on the verge of ordering a Series bass but the cost was at a level I found hard to justify without being able to determine for myself that a Series sound would be significantly different to my existing alembics rather than subtle.

I still feel kind of guilty about it.

Senior Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 463
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post

Alembic electronics are plug and play. They drop right out with no soldering. That means they drop right back in. People worry about original solder on classics. Is it a problem to unplug a connector? No one can tell if you do, so your secret is safe. If there was any soldering involved, or routing necessary, I would advise against it too. But since you can without any changes, why not?

Also, as you can see, it wouldn't be right without Alembic's help, so an early thank you to Mica and all for helping me keep it Alembic. I feel much better getting the rings from them. But my feasibility test tells me we are all go and I can't wait. I know my first bevel attempt was terrible, and the top hats are still in question.

(Message edited by lidon2001 on April 27, 2011)
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 979
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011 - 2:36 pm:   Edit Post

Personally I like the idea of having a guitar built with a routing deep enough to accommodate traditional pickups, but sold stock with the Alembic guts. That would seemingly provide the most options to the end user, and after all, isn't the whole point of having a custom guitar built to have the custom options that you want? And as Tom pointed out, swapping is easy when the guts are modular.

I'm still saving my pennies to someday build an Alembic with something like the Darling electronics, with the addition of a soap bar p-90 in the middle position on a completely separate passive circuit. I imagine it uniting the best aspects of the pristine and the filthy.
Senior Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 464
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 7:48 pm:   Edit Post

Still have a couple small wiring issues to deal with, but all wired and working as it should, and I am very satisfied with the results so far. I am looking forward to receiving the rings to have her looking proper.

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2426
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 11:15 pm:   Edit Post

Where did you get those gold switches from?
Senior Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 465
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 7:17 am:   Edit Post They were backordered on the black 3 way switch, so I got these.

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