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Alembic, who pays these prices?

Fitzer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,848
Actually, the tone of an Alembic is quite discernible. While the wood work is beyond astounding, the true heart of an Alembic is the pickups and, especially, the electronics. Alembic makes their own pickups. On a non series instrument, each PU is a single coil paired with a dummy coil. Alembic calls these “hum cancelling”. On many instruments the controls are a preamp, a low pass filter, and a Q switch. The top end Series instruments have two single coil PUs and a dummy PU in the middle. Each PU has a preamp, filter, and Q. The low impedance PUs have a wider frequency response than most passive PUs. Alembic basses have a noticeable “piano-like” tone that is distinguishable from your typical P Bass or Jazz.

Alembic guitars are great for clean playing but it can be trying to coax a dirtier metal type tone out of them. Alembics force you to improve your technique as they don’t hide any slop - it’s all right out there. They are a unique instrument, and not for everyone. But there is a reason they have been favored by players like Stanley Clarke, John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Jimmy “Flim” Johnson, Phil Lesh, Jack Cassidy.

We all make choices in life. I’m certainly not rich. I enjoy playing guitars and checking out lots of different ones. I have a hobby store on reverb and I attempt to have the hobby pay for itself. Other people spend a lot more on their vehicles, vacations, clothes, restaurants and a myriad of endeavors on which to spend their money. I always wanted an Alembic ever since playing in a band with a guy who had one back in about 1975. I saved up and gave myself a 50th birthday present. I’m not a snob. I work hard for my money and chose to spend it on an Alembic where others choose to spend their money on something else.

Bill, tgo
I don’t care how people spend their money.
 

Wahlberg

Member
Messages
248
Least expensive model is $9500 and most expensive is $42,500 before options. That’s the price of a BMW One Series.
Who pays 42.5k for a BMW one series, you think that's a reasonable price? If you question why the Alembics are so expensive you should do the same for the BMW, because that car is and should still be a 20k car.
 

ccouch7

Member
Messages
644
I saved up gig money for a while to buy my Epic 4 back in 1994. At the time it was
$1,100.00 brand new. If I had known how far they would go up, back then, I would've tried to get 2 or 3 of them. I could never afford what they're going for now though.
I love this bass and it definitely has the tone. I've owned and tried many other basses, nothing comes close for me so far. It's also build really well, I've never had a single problem with it in all these years.

They sound good, sure, but the reason you buy an Alembic is because it’s an Alembic. Not because it sounds like it does. It’s not a $4,000 sound or a $15,000 sound.
I don't know, I think the sounds are exactly why someone would want to buy an Alembic IMO, but they are expensive now.
Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers played an Alembic Epic 4 for a while, I think on their first record "One Hot Minute".
Here's a cool short song video about it -
 
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wraub

Member
Messages
977
Overpriced is subjective, but expensive is real. That said, I have played quite a few Alembic basses.

Extremely well built, often heavy, unforgiving, sometimes gaudy, expensive. The sound(s) on tap are impressive and varied, but too often imo fall into the "bright, clean, sterile" active thing unless dialed in "right", at which point they can sound amazing. I actually played one that had a dry fingerboard and some fret buzz, signs of needing maintenance, but still played quite well.
The electronics are unique, and the overall design aesthetic is comprehensive. Pretty much every part of an Alembic looks like it came from an Alembic, if you know what I mean.

The Wickershams have a distinct market position they seem to know well, and their customer support is well known. Many stories of used buyers being treated like new buyers, and maintenance and repairs done to used instruments reasonably and well. In short, they seem to care about their instruments, and the people who own and play them.

All that said, while I would like to have one, I likely never will. To me, they are expensive, and beyond me financially. To others, I say play, and enjoy. :)
 

Jon Moody

Member
Messages
480
The Wickershams have a distinct market position they seem to know well, and their customer support is well known. Many stories of used buyers being treated like new buyers, and maintenance and repairs done to used instruments reasonably and well. In short, they seem to care about their instruments, and the people who own and play them.
Can confirm their continued CS. I purchased a used Epic 6st years ago, and was treated like I bought it direct. They were quick to help with learning the electronics (the Epic has a very simplified setup, in comparison) and offered maintenance tips as well.

It reminds me of the people that buy a Steinway piano. Their continual support is why artists pay the premium.
 

lbpesq

Member
Messages
76
I saved up gig money for a while to buy my Epic 4 back in 1994. At the time it was $1,100.00 brand new. If I had known how far they would go up, back then, I would've tried to get 2 or 3 of them. I could never afford what they're going for now though.
You can pick up a used Epic 4 today in the $1600-$2000 range. That’s less than some new American Fender basses. “If I’d known” I would have picked up a bunch of Strats and Teles back in 1975 when I bought my ‘61 Olympic White Strat for $125.

Bill, tgo
 

blowinblue

Member
Messages
15
The folks "who pay these prices" for Alembics are those who can afford it and feel they're getting proper value for their money. I try to not be a hater of those who have what I don't have.

M. M.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,790
Overpriced is subjective, but expensive is real. That said, I have played quite a few Alembic basses.

Extremely well built, often heavy, unforgiving, sometimes gaudy, expensive. The sound(s) on tap are impressive and varied, but too often imo fall into the "bright, clean, sterile" active thing unless dialed in "right", at which point they can sound amazing. I actually played one that had a dry fingerboard and some fret buzz, signs of needing maintenance, but still played quite well.
The electronics are unique, and the overall design aesthetic is comprehensive. Pretty much every part of an Alembic looks like it came from an Alembic, if you know what I mean.

The Wickershams have a distinct market position they seem to know well, and their customer support is well known. Many stories of used buyers being treated like new buyers, and maintenance and repairs done to used instruments reasonably and well. In short, they seem to care about their instruments, and the people who own and play them.

All that said, while I would like to have one, I likely never will. To me, they are expensive, and beyond me financially. To others, I say play, and enjoy. :)
To be fair, having a different tone was their objective. Your choices were basically Gibson or Fender. If someone were happy with those, no reason to get anything else. Steinberger, Fodera, Ken Smith, Carl Thompson, Steinberger, and Spector were doing their own thing. Sadowsky was obviously designed to be more of a well made Fender.
 

OJT1212

Member
Messages
860
Who pays 42.5k for a BMW one series, you think that's a reasonable price? If you question why the Alembics are so expensive you should do the same for the BMW, because that car is and should still be a 20k car.
You can’t get a Civic for $20K.
 

NamaEnsou

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,646
Oooops, I stumbled into an automobile forum by accident, but then, hey! Wait a second! Here we go now.

 

Benny

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,371
Or heaven forbid, look at the price of a pro level acoustic upright bass.
Yep- there are also plenty of ways to spend five figures on an expertly made archtop or acoustic guitar as well. We are pretty lucky as guitarists/bassists that we can acquire any of a number of excellent instruments at price points attainable by the busy working musician - and plenty of great music has and will be made on genuinely affordable gear.

I do wonder if because one can acquire excellent instruments and sounds at lower price points it becomes easy to question the value of higher-priced offerings. I doubt I’ll ever own an Alembic - I don’t find myself gravitating towards the sounds they’re known for. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be exactly the right tool and worth every penny to someone else.
 

derekd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
45,163
Yep- there are also plenty of ways to spend five figures on an expertly made archtop or acoustic guitar as well. We are pretty lucky as guitarists/bassists that we can acquire any of a number of excellent instruments at price points attainable by the busy working musician - and plenty of great music has and will be made on genuinely affordable gear.

I do wonder if because one can acquire excellent instruments and sounds at lower price points it becomes easy to question the value of higher-priced offerings. I doubt I’ll ever own an Alembic - I don’t find myself gravitating towards the sounds they’re known for. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be exactly the right tool and worth every penny to someone else.
It's great to have so many wonderful choices at some many different price points.
 

jazzyvee

Member
Messages
10
What frustrates me about threads like these that I see all to often on on-line bass and guitar forums is this. Why do some musicians who don't own a high end instrument like the ones here feel they have to imply that they are a waste of money or not worth the price point or they should not spend £XXXXX on any bass or guitar? Surely we all have freedom to buy what we want and can afford regardless of price. I have never read a thread in guitar or bass forums in which the owner of any high end bass or guitar has criticised anyone who else who does not own one. Live and let live.
 

jazzyvee

Member
Messages
10
I currently have three Alembic guitars. Two old ones, ‘76 and a ‘77 12 string. I got them used for very reasonable prices about 18 years ago. They have appreciated a bit, but, as previously stated, Alembic used prices offer a very steep discount from new. (And, contrary to a previous post, there is no ownership requirement to join the Alembic club forum. It’s actually an amazingly friendly place where everyone gets along).

For many years I promised myself a new one for my 50th birthday. I got a custom Further. I live near Alembic, so I got to go through the wood piles and pick out my top and back. It is not only a great guitar, it is also a work of art. I always find it interesting what guitar players consider “expensive”. Check out the prices on expensive violins amd other orchestral instruments. Ours are quite inexpensive in comparison, even Alembics!

Bill, tgo

View attachment 434706 View attachment 434707 View attachment 434708
Being 50 was a good time for us both as I too decided I would treat myself to a 50th Birthday present to myself. A custom that i bought used as it was closer to what I wanted than I could afford new. Perfectly balanced and no photoshopping other than render to black and white. I personally would not have had that inlay in and I did consider having a new fretboard installed but decided that the uniqueness of that was worth getting used to. I don't get many guitar gigs these days so it doesn't see live action much.
Delano 18a bw-2.jpg
 
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lbpesq

Member
Messages
76
Jazzyvee:

Careful how you handle my guitar!

hehehehe

Nice seeing you over here. Hope you had a great T-Day.

Bill, tgo (who purchased this same guitar in an eBay auction that turned out to be a fraud. Fortunately, Mica at Alembic was following the listing and emailed me before I sent any money. Anyone ever get a warning email from Fender or Gibson that the listing was fake? Now that’s customer service - and I wasn’t even a customer yet!)
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,293
I think so many boutique makers as well as Peavey,Carvin, Yamaha,Ibanez all offer neck through multi laminate wood basses with active electronics nowadays. I don’t think one needs to spend that much Money.
Especially in the used market. But many people buy for brand identity not just for actual performance. I mean a cheap Toyota will get you to the destination as much as a high end BMW!
 




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