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tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 51
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2011 - 8:49 pm:   Edit Post

Here she is! I think the top is curly maple or maybe bird's eye maple? Not sure, but the moment I held it, it was instant familiarity.
81D1996
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2740
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 5:12 am:   Edit Post

So nice! It's definitely quilted, and it's definitely bird's eye.

Hm, so not only is it a Distillate with a Small Standard body (unusual to go with a medium scale) to cover the regular Name That Alembic! fun, but we can add a whole new game - Name That Top Wood!
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 52
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 11:02 am:   Edit Post

Thanks! I love the combination of the top and body woods - reminds me of a chocolate peanut butter cup.

I'm not sure what finish is on it, but when I removed the hat knobs, I noticed that the wood was considerably paler where it had been covered by the knob flange. It's so cool how the finish has aged to give this warm patina.

The sound is really nice - there is a nice glassy 'zing' and a very rich deep bottom - with everything flat and both pups selected. It sounds terrific even without amplification. (Strings: Dean Markley 2674 Blue Steel ML 45-105 - for now).

She's also very playable. Yes, the Small Std body shape with the short upper horn and a 32" scale makes her a neck-diver if you use the pin on the upper horn. However, there is another strap pin on the back, roughly behind the 2nd oval you see in the pic. Using this pin positions the body such that the weight of my right arm becomes a counter weight to the neck, and my left hand does not need to hold up the neck.
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 533
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 5:53 pm:   Edit Post

Terry -
That Distillate looks super clean!
More pics, more pics, more pics! (especially the back showing the other strap button).

If you go here and scroll down you can see where I moved my bridge strap button to help with neck dive.

Enjoy your bass -
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 1528
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 6:23 pm:   Edit Post

Congratulations, If this is the Bass from the recent eBay Auction I was watching the auction over and over again and resisting to bid .
She looks like a sweet one and I am glad someone got her who will appreciate her special unique attributes .There are not many Small Body medium scale Alembic Bass's out there as I understand.
Sonic Regards ____
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 55
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 7:54 pm:   Edit Post

Pauldo - thank you. She cleaned up really nicely. I'm posting a pic of the back. I'm not sure who or when the pin on the back was installed. I suppose it could even have been stock - calling Alembic historians! Mind you, it doesn't stop neck dive, it just makes it so the right arm (not your left - fingering hand) can be used to counteract the pivot.

back side

full front

top wood - detail (sausages & eyes)

full face front

(Message edited by mica on January 10, 2011)
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 56
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 8:08 pm:   Edit Post

Sonicus - thank you. She was indeed from the recent eBay auction. (Explains all the newbie Distillate questions I'd been asking for the last few weeks!) As I was bidding, I fully expected a forum member to outbid me. The seller turned out to be a great guy - a credit to the Alembicans the world over. As old as she is, her condition is remarkable - the worst "injury" is buckle rash on the brass control-plate cover.

Notice that the PUP covers do not have "Alembic" stamped on them.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 7148
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 8:23 pm:   Edit Post

For a 1981 bass, the strap pin at the center back of the neck would be typical. Notice that the one on the upper horn is a Schaller straplock, which we didn't install back then.

That type of Bird's-eye Maple is my all-time favorite! With the tapered flame figure dotted all over with juicy bird's eye figuring. I'd still call it Bird's-eye Maple since if you ordered Flame Maple, you wouldn't expect to see those little nuggets on there, but who would ever complain about ordering Bird's-eye Maple and getting bonus flame figure?
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 57
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 - 10:01 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Mica - I love the figuring. It's so beautiful I can't keep from staring at it. It's like looking into a fire. And it sounds sooooo good.

So the back strap pin was stock! I almost feel like removing the pin on the horn since it's not useful, but then, I'd have a hole to deal with. At least it's unobtrusive.
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 539
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 5:36 pm:   Edit Post

Terry,
You know what is really kinda weird?

I noticed while looking at the backside of your Distillate.

The color and patterns are almost the same . . .

where did you get that pillow?

Distillate pillow
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 62
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 7:13 pm:   Edit Post

Man, that's uncanny! The backs and backdrops are so similar. Obviously, Alembics ship with a complimentary, complementary pillow!

Seriously folks, my wife made the pillow with fabric from a local interiors shop. (I have neither the taste nor skill to do that, as she so often reminds me.)
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10036
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 6:48 pm:   Edit Post

Great pics of a beautiful bass!!

Personally, I think I would go with your idea of removing the extra strap button and filling the hole.
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 63
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 7:50 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Dave, and thank you. It's such a great-playing and sounding bass. Because of its small size, it's maneuverable and a shoulder-saver.

Lol, now you've got me wanting to remove the pin on the upper horn. Problem is, I don't know how to match the color and restore the finish after filling the hole. Any advice would be most appreciated.
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 64
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

Mica / Dave
I inferred from Micaís remarkís above that the strap pin on the upper horn is a modification made by a previous owner. How likely is it that *both* pins are stock? Iím considering the removal of the pin on the upper horn, since itís not useful, but only if I can be sure that it was an after-market modification.

If I were to go ahead with the removal, should I send it back to Alembic, or can my local luthier do it? (I, personally, donít have the skills to do it.)

Thank you. I know youíre awfully busy, so please reply at your convenience.

Thank you,
Terry
skyboltone
Junior
Username: skyboltone

Post Number: 37
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 2:26 pm:   Edit Post

I'm just guessing but I think that the screw hole would require boring out to (say) 3/16" and a plug made from a "same pattern" piece of wood, then glued in place. Then a seamless refinish of the affected area. Nothing for a hack to attempt. There are luthiers then there are Luthiers. You know? Depending on where you live of course, there are competent folks around in all the largest metro areas. Personally I would send it back to the factory.
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2748
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 12:01 am:   Edit Post

Terry, you asked "How likely is it that *both* pins are stock?"

Well, the "strap pin" on the upper horn is actually a Schaller straplock pin, which doesn't offer enough hold for a plain strap. Only use it with the proper corresponding Schaller locks, or risk the instrument getting damaged.
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 65
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 9:52 am:   Edit Post

Adriaan, Thank you for your reply. By "stock", I meant "original equipment", not "sturdy".

I do not plan to use the Schaller pin at all. In fact, *if* it was an after-market modification, I'd like to remove it and restore the bass to its original condition.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 7176
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 10:50 am:   Edit Post

I guess my reply from last week wasn't very clear - we didn't install Schaller straplocks in 1981. This bass is from 1981, so the chances we put that straplock on are very slim. Can I say with absolute certainty it's not original? No, only 99.44%.

If someone ordered a Small Standard body today with the strap pin/lock placed on the upper horn we wouldn't do it, because we know it doesn't balance any better. We have moved the back of the neck pin up slightly and angled on the heel "ramp" for Edwin Van Huik before. That's the only alternative placement I can think of.

Filling the hole and spot finishing will fix it, but it won't be invisible. I think even a complete refinish would still show the hole.
tcube
Member
Username: tcube

Post Number: 66
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post

Mica,
Thank you. I figured that you couldn't be 100% sure, but I'll take 99.4%!

I've now gigged the Distillate in many different situations. This is an amazing little bass.

Thanks for your help!

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