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Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 73
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 8:33 pm:   Edit Post

Well, lessee...I'm trying to gather some thoughts here ~~~
I've had a Distillate in mind since I first saw one at the Chicago NAMM show back in 1980. I loved the look. In fact, I still have some Alembic literature I picked up at the show, including a Distillate color pic/spec sheet.

Fast forward to Feb. of this year. I turned 60, something clicked and I knew it was time! Up until now, I wasn't financially able to consider an Alembic---kids, divorce, college (kids, not me), and life in general.
Let's throw into the mix the fact that, in May 2005, I was terminally diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma and was given just 3 years to live by a very prominent local cancer facility.
I sought alternative facilities and found one in Houston (just outside of Columbus,Oh am I) and, well, here I am, loaded for bear and still fighting (in remission).
So, back to the "I'm 60 and I really, really need to pursue this Alembis Distillate thing...."
I found one via CL in New Port Richey, Fl. FINALLY! Several phone calls, etc, etc. It came today and it's everything I had hoped it would be. Until, after about 10 minuttes of playing, it suddenly and slowly began to become noisy and static with low-volume "rumbling".
I shut it down, unplugged, waited a few minutes, and fired her up again. Same scenario.
I've experienced similar situation with a Polytone amp I have. The problem was solved via a very good tech who reverse engineered it.
So, the bottom line is this---the joy of my very first Alembic has been somewhat stolen from me. I called the seller just a couple of hours ago, and have yet to hear back.
Is the whole Dis problem solvable? Of course.
By trade, I am an assembler and calibration tech of magnet power supplies, digital temperature controllers, gausmeters, etc. So, I do understand that things can suddenly go bad and I'm willing to give the seller the benefit of that fact. The Dis is 30 years old and electronics fail. So....
Has anyone had an experience of the problem I discribed? (the bass, not the seller possibly hosing me)
meanwhile, I wasn to contact Mica to possilbly send her to the MOthership for a total tweak.
'Preciate it....
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1881
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 8:38 pm:   Edit Post

I'm the LAST person you want anywhere near multimeters and soldering irons, but . . . . mine make exactly that sound when the battery goes. ALEMBIC circuits just don't slowly fade away like EMG's, they die fast and noisily. Battery good?

J o e y
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 146
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 8:47 pm:   Edit Post

Jay Michael:

This is EXACTLY what mine sounded like when the battery began to die. I would agree with Joey that the first thing to do is to replace the batteries.
Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 75
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 8:55 pm:   Edit Post

Yep, the first thing I thought about was the battery. So, in lieu of grabbing my meter, I did a quick "tongue test"....gave me a REALLY hard "bite". However, I'll grab my meter in the a.m.

Thanks much!!!
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1499
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 8:59 pm:   Edit Post

Battery!! I had the same panick moment a few weeks after getting my first alembic. My battery passed the tongue test too, but it sure sounded like garbage.

My bet is a new 9v solves the issue.
Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 76
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:04 pm:   Edit Post

@ bigredbass, hammer....good to know that Alembics are fast and catastophic! I have EMG's in a '77 Jazz, and had an active Yamaha---the dying batts gave a very slow fade. I just naturally figured Alembics would do likewise. Should've known.

Funny story---playing a Yamaha BBG5S during a gig....batt starts to die and the one guitar player thought I was ending the song with a slow fade. (he was a stoner and thought it was really cool....lol)
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2513
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:05 pm:   Edit Post

Yes, replace the battery. If you are still unhappy with your purchase let me know , I might be interested if you have second thoughts. However , chances are that you just might fall in love with this Bass after a battery replacement.

Sonic Regards !
Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 77
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:06 pm:   Edit Post

I'll tell you one thing, I fought posting this late.
Glad I did. I'll sleep a whole lot better, y'all!

Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1875
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 3:38 am:   Edit Post

Battery battery battery!...our basses do not love low current.
And it sounds almost certain that there ain't no power going to the pre amps. People can forget about the last time they installed a fresh battery as with the new circuits they can last up to a year(useage taken into account) I am not sure about the older basses but it is a cheap fix to start with.
Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 78
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 4:32 am:   Edit Post

Good morning all.....

No spare batts in house (what????) Although I metered the batt @ 9.46vdc.
The thing is, once I shut down for a few minutes, then power it up, it's fine for about 5 minutes, then the repeat scenario.
Sounds as if a component is warming up, then failing, which happened with my Polytone.

Regardless, I'll grab fresh batts today.

The saga continues---film @ 11. lol
Username: tncaveman

Post Number: 95
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 5:00 am:   Edit Post

Michael - not sure if this will help, but my new older Elan sort of did the same thing. I kept thinking it had a bad jack. I looked at all the trouble shooting pages and found a post by the seller (another Michael) and he said that he couldn't use Monster Cables w/ the bass. A generic cable worked fine with it. Sure enough, I switched cables and it worked fine. I put some callipers on the plug and it's slightly smaller than the generic plug and the tip has a different shape. It's kind of weird - it would work one minute and then start getting a staticy sound. I also had a few issues w/ scratchy pots on my GK amp. The scratchy pots were cured w/ some cleaner. That part was kind of odd timing. All is well now. Good luck!

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10752
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 5:54 am:   Edit Post

Speaking of scratchy pots. If the bass hasn't been played recently, or the previous owner always left the controls in the same place, you might want to exercise the pots and jack.
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1753
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 7:46 am:   Edit Post

Also consider re-seating all connectors.
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 854
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 7:53 am:   Edit Post

There have been basses w similar probs in the troubleshooting section, but you have to prob go back a few years.

All the pots in the bass are sealed so cleaner won't penetrate, but they are self cleaning, if you work them 50-100 times....

Good luck!!!!
Username: yogalembic

Post Number: 79
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 9:16 am:   Edit Post

I love the support found here!

This weekend, I'll have plenty of time to (hopefully) ferret out a solution.

I had an early a.m. chat with the seller today. He played it problem free for about an hour before it was picked up for purchase.

I'm starting with my cable.

On a more jovial note: maybe the Dis wants to play exclusively with my F-1X. At the moment, it's going through a Trace V-Type pre amp.

Ah, the thrill of the chase.....!?!?!
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 148
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 9:17 am:   Edit Post

Interesting to hear about the monster cables not working. I had difficulty keeping my monster cable snug in the jack. My bass always worked okay at first, but I found that when I started moving around even a little bit the plug would pull out just enough so that contact while still being made was not solid and the bass would fade in an out. Replacing the monster cable with a much less expensive brand did the trick.
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 149
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 10:11 am:   Edit Post

Jay: You may already be aware of this this, but when you replace those batteries make sure that you unplug your Distillate after each use. Over the years, I got in to the habit of leaving whatever bass I had out plugged in an just turning off my amps. Unfortunately this behavior cannot be practiced with Alembic instruments as the battery is being drained as long as the bass in plugged in.
Username: flpete1uw

Post Number: 64
Registered: 11-2011
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 3:49 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Jay,
Here is my 2c worth, I to had a problem with a recently purchased Distillate. Take the time to make sure you have covered all the Basses (No Pun Intended ;) All the above suggestions are a good start. Then seriously think about contacting the Mother Ship. In my case I sent Mica a picture of my electronics and they immediately saw issues with them. I was greeted with a prompt response and a reassuring sense that it will all be taken care of. Packed up and sent the electronics, and when I got them back I now have a worthy Instrument. They are the Best.
PS. Mica I hope you are still taking that little boy of yours to work with you. :-)
Alembic the next Generation

(Message edited by flpete1uw on June 15, 2012)

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