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Warwicks vs Alembic

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by Andhrimnir, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. Andhrimnir

    Andhrimnir

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    Hi! I was just getting curious. I saw a member here wanting to sell a warwick, because he said he had gotten an Alembic.
    I have seen on a site that there was this Alembic for sale. The guy selling it came with the statement that warwicks and other hip-bass builders was just making o.k copies of Alembic, and that everyone that played bass should know what to have an Alembic would mean.
    So the question is: Is it as good as people say it is? I dont really like the look of them much, and Im in love with warwick basses, so I would never go over to a different brand. But I have never heard of any bass-players using Alembic.
     
  2. Lex

    Lex Warwick Endorser

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    I've never liked Alembics.

    Stanley Clarke of course does.

    I guess it depends on what kind of sound you're going for... there's a reason why a lot of players use P-basses. I'm sure you could pick a P-bass tone over an Alembic too...
     
  3. nrssab

    nrssab

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    Hello Andhrimnir,
    Alembics are very special basses. There are hardly any Brands and very few of those hip-bass builders which can hold up with the Alembics.
    The pickups and electronics are extreamly unique, the woods used are top notch and the quality of the instruments is stunning. Due to this high quality Alembics are able to have a super low action witout any fretbuzz or anyling like it. This makes them very comfortable to play.
    The variety of sounds you can get out of an Alembic is also spectacular. The question is if one really needs all those features.

    I can't compare Warwick to an Alembic, they are very different allready seen from the prices.
    If you would like to hear Alembics you should listen to some of Stanley Clarkes work, including the CD "Thunder" of SMV.

    Best is not to try out a Alembic if one dosn't have the money, they really give EGAS (E = extreame).
     
  4. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    Well, that sounds impressive. Having no proof to the contrary, I have always thought about boutique basses as being of the same, well boutique, quality.

    The low action sounds good. I 'd also agree wicks and alembics are very different animals.
     
  5. Grgzilla

    Grgzilla

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    Alembic is the ultimate custom shop builder.So comparing them to anything but say,Ritter or Lowenhurtz is like comparing single malt scotch to grape juice.Both have their uses & both work very well.
    Some Alembics are quite basic(stage basses),in both construction & electronics & others are highly complex(studio basses)with a vast array of controls.Alot of other builders have adopted features Alembic pioneered,like active electronics for example.
    I owned an Alembic Europa then a Thumb NT & tended to play the Thumb alot more,so the Europa was sold.Both basses were equal in terms of construction,stability,weight & performance.The Thumb's tone & feel was just more appealing to me.
    Alembic have this allure & reputation for being the Rolls Royce of the bass guitar market.That was probably true 20 years ago,but these days the rest of the industry has all but caught up.I said Rolls Royce coz they're big,expensive,lumbering beasts that are expensive & complex & are priced to appeal to only about 2 percent of the market.They have their place,but were never meant to compete with the likes of the Fenders,Spectors,Ibanez's,Warwicks etc.Their main competition is builders like Ritter & Lowenhurtz,for example.
    Lawyers that have Rolex's buy Alembic.Working dads with TAG heuers buy Warwick.:lol:
    ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2009
  6. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    I didn't want to say it first because you could believe I am just promoting Warwick on the forum... I used to work in a studio where they had an Alembic Europa 5 strings. It was a great bass, I mean, very well made, but it felt "cold" to me. I had absolutely no good feeling with that bass, and I've actually used a MM SR5 for the recordings.
    I admit it was a very well built bass, and the sound was good and even, but the bass was not speaking my language :)
     
  7. schlobodan

    schlobodan Warwick Streamer Specialist Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I had 2 Alembic Spoilers (one of the basic models like the Europa)

    Warwick ist the sound of wood - Alembic is the sound of electronics:)
    Very different approaches.

    One the one hand warwicks have their own character (Klangfarbe - don't know the english term) on the other hand
    alembics are more versatile (you can get any basic sound out of an alembic)

    As for construction features available etc.
    Alembic pretty much starts where Warwick ends (different market)

    Alembics have 2 major drawbacks imo: 1. they are ugly :) 2. they are as expensive as they are ugly :))
     
  8. Lex

    Lex Warwick Endorser

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    Totally agree with you on the ugly part.

    Their whole vibe to me screams Dungeons & Dragons. Anyone feel me on that?
     
  9. golem

    golem Philosopher King

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    A large part of Alembic's appeal is
    really just Deadheadism. But I can
    easily agree that Stanley Clarke is
    doing toadally sick stuff with his.

    OTOH, I'm sure SC would get the
    same result out of any decent ax,
    and would admit that the slightly
    nuanced playability and voicing of
    the Alembic represents a 3X price
    increase for a 5% improvement in
    those areas ... as compared to any
    pro grade ax like a Wick, Zon, etc.

    Elite artists like SC can justify the
    huge price of that final nuancing,
    cuz they need to feel that they are
    as 'unshackled' as the state of the
    luthery art can allow. But for most
    players, including those just one
    tier shy of SC, it's just prestige to
    own and play an ultra-ultra bass.

    I have messed with a few Alembic
    basses and didn't like anything at
    all about them, not the sound nor
    the feel. And except for SC, all the
    Alembics I've heard on stage were
    making sounds that I'd rather not
    hear, at least for a band's bottom.
    Right ... I do NOT dig the tone of
    Phil Lesch's bass. It sounds way
    too "Marcus Miller" to me ....





     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2009
  10. Andhrimnir

    Andhrimnir

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    Alright. Have to say I like the answers! I dont like the look of them either. And I guess its like Ampeq too. They had their glory some years ago, not that its not good amps, but times change, and others do good things too. Im pretty sure I can find several instruments that give me a sound I like better than ex. Fender + Ampeq. Im sticking to Warwick. Id rather buy a guitar rather than an Alembic for 8k, just cause I think they look hiddeous.
     
  11. buchhojl

    buchhojl

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    I've owned Alembics in the past: an Europa 5, a Spoiler, and an Explorer ( John Entwistle "Boris the Spider" bass.) They are no longer in my collection. The Europa was gorgeous--cocobolo top, etc. I was not fully pleased by the Alembic sounds I was getting through my simple rigs-- mostly combo amps, single speakers. My ear was "older school" than my basses. But the thing that most bothered me about these basses was their ergonomics. They were all very heavy, and unbalanced-- neck divers all.
    My Corvette STD is on the heavy side, as I measure these things, but it is balanced.
     
  12. Mr Praline

    Mr Praline Forum Silly Person

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    I recently tried a Series 1 from around 78. Sounded good, very clear - to the point that it was almost too clear for my taste. I like a bit of grit in the sound.
     
  13. flipper_gv

    flipper_gv

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    Well, I played a Series II for like 32 seconds once when a guy brought it at MF luthery in Mtl for minor adjustment. Was big, heavy, wayy to clean sounding, way too expensive.

    The leds were nice though....
     
  14. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger

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    The only Alembic I thought looked cool was Entwhistle's Explorer style with the pointed headstock. I've read that John Entwhistle dumped his Alembics due to issues with the stability of the neck in different climates and the arcane electrics.

    I would look at the Manson Kestrel if I thought I might be interested in the Rolls Royce bass.
     
  15. james brunnning

    james brunnning

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    How do ken smith bass sound.are they like alembics or more like warwicks:?:Thanks.
     
  16. budget bassist

    budget bassist

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    never tried an alembic, but they look nothing alike, they sound nothing alike, they're not made with the same construction techniques, and warwicks are about 5 times cheaper than alembic. They're like apples and oranges... just not the same thing.
     
  17. Grgzilla

    Grgzilla

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    You can pay a little more for an Alembic as you would a Warwick.
    Not all Alembics are over $10,000.Some are comparable in price with a JE Buzzard or Stryker or custom shop Warwicks.
    The neck construction is similar in that they're both multi laminates cut & glued with the grain at opposing angles.
    See,it's very hard to pidgeon hole Alembic coz they come in all shapes,sizes,prices & configurations.They're very flexible,even with their production models.
     
  18. Grgzilla

    Grgzilla

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    I've only tried a couple Smith basses & they were very much studio basses.imo more like Alembic than Warwick.More sterile tonewise,very consistent & clear sounding,pretty heavy & more relient on it's electronics than woody sounding,like I find Warwicks.
     
  19. james brunnning

    james brunnning

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    Thanks I like the way the 4string black tiger looks but since I started play warwicks I like the sound and feel of them better then just about anything else.I think I will start saving the pennys for a SSI:d
     
  20. Michael J

    Michael J

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    I digg. They are great if your into dragons and stuff!!
     
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