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afrobeat_fool
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 336
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 7:02 pm:   Edit Post

Here it is. I just brought her home and I am loving life! What a wonderful instrument. This bass is the first one ordered by Will Gunn.http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/44952.html?1192478960

The guys at Bass NW were very happy to show me the research they did. Explain the history of the bass and expedite the sale. Good guys up there in Seattle!

I love all the old features and could not believe the sound. The SII electronics are thundering. Especially thru my SF2.The wood combination in the neck is very warm. I was starting to look around at walnut top SII's and this is a great substitute with the maple and walnut neck.The Zebra wood is super straight, nice difference from my S1-1180 which has straight grain but bouted at a 30 deg angle

Any ideas out there about how one can get the bass closer to my body with the upper strap pin in the middle of the body? It feels so far away.

Here are the pic's!











Nick
artswork99
Moderator
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1544
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post

Very nice, congratulations Nick! Interesting tailpiece, two string end locations available. Play it Healthy! Art
afrobeat_fool
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 337
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 7:46 pm:   Edit Post

Those first shots were taken by Bass NW. Here are some of the ones I just took. hard to put it down long enough to take pic's. Thank you, Harry for posting this. If I can ever buy you a pint, or whatever, You got it coming. Thanks too for your input, Michael. I enjoyed the conversation.

Don't worry Edwin, 1180 just has a little sister. My Alembic's are never ignored.







tbrannon
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1398
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 8:21 pm:   Edit Post

I absolutely love that logo and the thick body wood and the reveal to the zebrawood.

This is my new favorite small standard.... nice grab!! You should give Will Gunn a call about this one. He is a great guy to talk to and he knows his Alembics!
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1721
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 9:57 pm:   Edit Post

Yes Nick, I would definitely call Will. He's utterly encyclopedic when it comes to Alembics, and there's not a nicer man on the planet. I'll bet he remembers a LOT about this axe.

J o e y
hieronymous
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 933
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 10:23 pm:   Edit Post

I'm actually going to be in Seattle in August, so I might just take you up on the pint offer!* I'm glad this bass was able to join the Club - congrats!

*Except you're in Portland? If so, I have a cousin there and make it there every now and again - I'll let you know!

(Message edited by hieronymous on July 11, 2011)
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 989
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 1:15 am:   Edit Post

I was skeptical when I heard it was zebrawood, but it's gorgeous! My favorite of all the zebras I've seen. I love the way the shorties sound. Really deep and punchy. The logo is also really nice.

All around wonderful! Enjoy!
gtrguy
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 373
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post

Beautiful bass!! I found my short scale slightly awkward at first, with the strap pin in the same spot, but after two weeks I completely got over that feeling and donít even notice it.

Dave
mike1762
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 952
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 11:14 am:   Edit Post

I found that wearing my SC up at "dork" level helps with the balance issue. My BB balances fine (the body is heavier than on the SC).
afrobeat_fool
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 338
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 2:57 pm:   Edit Post

Mike, it definitly helps having it ride higher. I LOVE THIS BASS. The tone is so good. I couldn't put it down last night and I was almost late to 8am class this morning due to picking it back up. Heck, I'm going to go play it now till I have to go to therapy!

Any time your in the area, Harry, I got your back, bro.

I will call Will tomorrow. I have way too much going on today

Thanks fella's, Nick
willgunn
Member
Username: willgunn

Post Number: 57
Registered: 2-2007
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 6:25 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Nick,

Congratulations on acquiring my very first Alembic! First off, I'm so glad to see that it ultimately found it's way into the hands of an appreciative Club member, and second, I'm absolutely amazed to see it again after 29 years - I never, EVER thought I'd see it again, let alone find out it's eventual fate! But it looks like it's been well cared for since I sold it to a Metro Bus-driving bassist in Seattle in 1982 (I switched to long-scale basses then), so, that brings a smile to my face! And for your entertainment and enjoyment, here's a bit of background on this beauty....

I placed the initial order for this bass directly with Alembic in September of 1975, and 9 months later, in June of 1976, the UPS truck showed up at my doorstep in Minneapolis with this beauty. To say that I was totally blown away was a gross understatement! At the time, I was playing 6 nighter's with a Funk/Fusion band and was a BIG Stanley fan, so, having a short-scale Alembic was IT! Initially, most of my communications were with Sam Field at Alembic, and later, with Rick Turner - here's how the details of this instrument came to be:

Woods: Sam asked me, "do you want 'wild grainy' wood or 'colorful' wood?" I said, "wild grainy", so he suggested Zebra Wood....and that was that! Bear in mind that at that time, the "tonal" aspects of particular woods didn't even enter into consideration....particularly with the folks at Alembic, what with the multi-lam neck-thru construction AND all that heavy brass hardware! Walnut was suggested as a visual contrast to the maple in the neck, and I left it up to them to decide on the core wood (that nifty walnut pinstripe splitting the maple core in two was a complete surprise).

Peghead: I wanted a straight string pull across the nut (which they beautifully sculptured), so, the "knob" style was suggested. Sam suggested the inlaid logo (my, how THAT'S changed in style!).

Fretboard inlays: I asked for extra-large abalone ovals starting with the first fret. At least one of them had to be fabricated out of two pieces on account of their size and fretboard radius. Here's a little trivia: the ebony fretboard split during construction, so, the fretboard this bass currently has is it's replacement.

Series II Electronics: Sam suggested, "for another $100, you can have a Master Volume control and CVQ's" - I went for it! Hey, why not, even though I didn't know what the heck CVQ's even DID at the time! (someone changed the knobs on them since I had it)

Tailpiece: I requested a tailpiece that would permit the use of both short AND long-scale strings (and was glad I did!), and this is what they came up with....and, it worked beautifully! For the 6 years I owned it, I used "Pyramid 'Gold'" long-scale strings exclusively on this bass....the brightest sounding flatwounds I've ever played, but they broke constantly (those sharp-edged bridge saddles didn't help matters much either)!

Side LED's and that little inlay where the P/U selector "usually" is: These were retro-fitted in May of 1979 by Brian Smith, owner/founder of Hyak Guitars of Bellevue Washington (and former Alembic employee). What I didn't realize at the time was that his method of installing the LED's (i.e. glued to a strip of ebony that fit into a channel routed into the edge of the fretboard) was exactly the same as Alembic utilized until fairly recently.
The little inlay covered up a construction mistake: I'd requested that the P/U selector be located along with the rest of the controls, but prior to my receiving the bass, it came out in a conversation with Rick Turner that the hole was drilled out in the "standard" location....ouch!! He came up with a clever "band-aid" in the form of a circular brass plate (like what would typically be there anyway) with a single LED in it's center that would light up when the bass was plugged in. But....the LED never worked, so, while he was installing the fretboard LED's, Brian installed that nifty little inlay in it's place. Total cost of the LED's and inlay work: $120.00.

Original cost of this bass direct from Alembic - including a white custom-fitted Anvil Road Case: $1800.00....my, how things have changed!

Nick, please feel free to call - I'd love to chat, and there are even MORE little details you might find interesting as well!

- Will Gunn
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 1930
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 7:33 pm:   Edit Post

Nick , first ___ I must congratulate you on this exquisite find. Second to Will !____ I really can feel the empathy in your experience here___ ; I too had a glimpse at an old custom bass on this site , although I already knew the new keeper, I know how it feels. Cheers all around !
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 1931
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 7:41 pm:   Edit Post

I forgot to write that I like that tail piece !
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 1932
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 7:44 pm:   Edit Post

I forgot to write that I like that tail piece ! I can see the intention in its design . COOL !
afrobeat_fool
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 340
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 8:45 pm:   Edit Post

Wow! It is so cool to know this history. Too often is the case in these old ones, that the history is lost. I feel very special. Thank you, Will. I will treasure this bass for the rest of my life.

There are some very interesting parts to your story that relate to me, Will. I have Alembic's because I used to have a Hyak(79-103). While researching the bass, Micael Delacerta gave me the story of Brian Smith and Hyak, and his relationship to Alembic. It was stolen from me in 2005. Recently, I aquired another Hyak last year and took it down to Alembic to be finished. It has no bridge,nut,pick-ups, or knobs.

That was last March. Jacquelyn and I were staying with her Aunt in San Rafael during the visit. On the way to the Alembic plant that morning, we stopped in at the courthouse and got married! 3/30/10. What a day. Mica was so gracious, and warm.

Early last month a persuader came up for sale on Craigslist, here in Portland. It was a screaming deal, so I grabbed it. Not really for myself, but more to turn over for a little profit. I already had 3 Alembic basses. S1 1180,Edwin Hurwitz's old bass, and a fretted 4st essence and 5st fretless essence. So, Jacquelyn and I had the discussion that I had more than I could play and that if I found the right SII I would sell a few and buy one. I started selling basses. I wanted a Burl walnut top, like Paul's.

That's when 405 showed up. I called Bass NW, and they said there was a lot of interest in this one.I thought about it for all of 5 minutes.Called back and put my money down without even playing it. I am 2 for 2 doing that.I got 1180 the same way from Edwin.

I now feel, after hearing your story, that I have come full circle after losing the Hyak. This is such a wonderful experience for me. I have hardly put 405 down except to sleep and go to school.To know Brian worked on this bass is very special to me. I am playing out with it this weekend.

I will give you a call soon, Will. Probably next week as I am very busy. Thanks again for sharing your story with me and the club.

Nick
Ps. Did you ever name this bass?
dela217
Senior Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 1083
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 3:37 am:   Edit Post

I take it all back!!!

The story of the mistakenly drilled location for the pickup selector and the inlay done by Brian Smith, makes this modification acceptable to me.

If I'd known this story while it was still for sale at Bassnw, things would have turned out different.

Michael
gtrguy
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 376
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post

I'd love to see a thread on mistakes and how they were 'rectified'. It all gives the instruments so much character. I have one that has a wood inlay surrounding the brass sustain block for some reason.
rjmsteel
Intermediate Member
Username: rjmsteel

Post Number: 164
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 5:22 pm:   Edit Post

Awesome reunion Will .:.).
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10453
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 7:22 am:   Edit Post

I'm just now reading this thread. Great story, and great bass!

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