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Username: bassjigga

Post Number: 38
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 - 11:02 am:   Edit Post

I've been contemplating Alembic for a while. I have a question about body woods. Mahogany seems to be the std for Alembic. Do you guys find it to be too midrangy or punchy? I'd like to have a real open, uncompressed sound, with a clean midrange. More focus on highs and lows. Hope that makes sense. Any thoughts?
Intermediate Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 187
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 - 8:11 pm:   Edit Post

Hi, bassjigga. My custom 8-string Europa has a flame maple body, but I'm planning on getting a replacement for my stolen 6-string Elan-plus (which was also maple-bodied).

I am planning on getting a replacement Elan or Europa -with a mahogany body- based both on the desire for a (relatively) different sound, and also based on conversations with Mica -who has generously shared her experience on the subject.

Mica told me that -first of all- neck-thru basses -at least on Alembics, with/due to their construction methods- tend to have the "smile" EQ curve to begin with... this is what you've described (at least with "focus on the highs and lows"). Alembics NECK-THRUS tend to have this sound to begin with.

Mahogany is said to have a warm/neutral tone that enhances yet rounds out/enriches the sound of the other woods.

Keep in mind that Alembics' position is that -other than the electronics- the NECK WOODS have the biggest effect on the sound... then the body wood, then the top (and if applicable, back) laminates.

Also, coco bolo (and related woods of the family, like kingwood, rosewood, and tulipwood) consistently enhance this quality even more, having "a complex tone with rich, full, lows, crystaline, piano-like highs, and a dampened mid-range." Further, mahogany works well with these woods and assumes most of their character while rounding out the tone.

So, for this reason, my replacement 6-string will have a mahogany body, coco bolo top, with ebony, maple, and mahogany in the neck.

Remember, as the neck woods affect the sound more than the body, you should educate yourself as to the effect of putting some mahogany in THE NECK in addition or in place of in the body.

And -if you don't know about it- find out about putting ebony in the neck... it's incredibly and indescribably awesome. A couple club members have customs with BOTH ebony and mahogany in the neck. (So maybe they could comment, if you asked, or if they see this). Check out the custom archives, "Thunder and Lightning" was a recent example, but there's at least 1 other.

P.S. I also have mid-range "quick-change" "boost/cut" switches on my custom... and they're VERY useful.

Good luck, hope this was useful.

(Message edited by the 8 string king on October 01, 2006)
Username: bassjigga

Post Number: 39
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 - 9:06 pm:   Edit Post

8 string king,

Thanks for the thorough response. It was actually very helpful. Sounds like I need a neck through with a coco bolo top. Now I just need to figure out the neck lams.
Advanced Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 217
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post

Hello David,

As described on the body wood page, Vermilion is probably your wood of choice for the body after the neck through. It defintely has a more defined highs and lows, or should I say much less mid range, vs. my ash Alembic.

For the neck, I would recommend to try and get at least one ebony neck lam. It is expensive, but just one lam will make a huge difference. I would rate this as a higher priority than the Vermilion body since they say neck has the most influence.

But I can hear the difference with my ash bodied neck through custom vs. my ebony neck + vermilion body, so body wood does come into play. I can't compare Mahogany to Vermilion having never played one. So confusing...

Of course, Susan, Mica, or Val can help build your hippie sandwich when the time comes. Their experience with the woods and their advice should lead to the right ingredients for the flavor you're looking for. And what a tasty sandwich it will be.

Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 575
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 5:59 am:   Edit Post

I will say that the top wood also has an effect. I have heard and played two of moderator Dave's Series 1's. To me the Series with the maple top is definitely brighter than his walnut topped one. So while the neck woods and electronics have the most impact on tone your choice of body and top woods will also have a discernable effect.

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 598
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 3:23 pm:   Edit Post

I too would agree that the topwood does have a noticeable effect.

I recently tried out a SC Deluxe which was the same as mine except it had a walnut top and no back laminate

Mine has a coco bolo top and back and the basses sounded significantly different. I prefer the sound of mine as it sounds more powerful and crisper. The difference in weight was also very noticeable.
Username: bassjigga

Post Number: 40
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 2:05 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for all the informative posts guys. Good stuff.

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