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Wolverinebass

Alembic vs Wal

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For those of you that have played both, is this an apples and oranges comparison? I've only played a very old Wal which was passive, so I hated it. However, what I'm asking is, how comparable are they? Both have filter circuits of some description, 24 frets generally and are active.

I must admit to really wanting to try a newish MkII Wal (with a view to maybe treating myself at some far off juncture - possibly my 40th) and see how it sounds in comparison to my Stanley Clarke. More bite? More versatile EQ? Wide neck? Wal's website has absolutely no info on say nut width, neck radius, stuff that I could at least say when I read it "ooh, that's going to be chunky" or not as the case may be.

What I mean is I appreciate it's a custom shop per se, but for a standard model, what's standard? The lack of price list does concern me a bit. Whilst for example Fodera are stupidly expensive at least they say how much their basses actually are.

So, opinions chaps on what you think the plus/minus points are in comparison for Alembics or Wals. All info gratefully received.

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Do you prefer Mercedes or Audi? Bentley or Aston Martin?

We can't tell you. You'll have to try both and decide for yourself, but it sounds like you want a "trophy" bass. IMO that's probably not a good use of between £3K and 14K (depending on model).

I’ve got a Wal because I heard a lot of people playing them and I loved the sound. Who cares what they feel like to play, the sound was the important thing.

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They are essentially very different.

Wals feel quite uniform, whereas every Alembic feels different. Both are noticeably hand crafted instruments, though generally Alembic's fit and finish is far better than Wals. The electrics are quite different too, with Alembic often using a far more intricate setup on their basses. Really, they are very, very different instruments.

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Thanks for the replies chaps. I fancy trying one as I like the sound. The one I tried was a mate's and it was from the early 80's I think and was passive. I'm not up for a "trophy" bass, just something that sounds a bit different to what I've got. Had you all said that it'd sound distinctly similar to an Alembic based on experience I wouldn't bother as I don't have 2 instruments that sound the same. I don't see the point.

I'm not sure if as you say Chris b, the feel of them (or any instrument) to play is irrelevant. I wouldn't buy a Rickenbacker because I found the few I've tried to have insanely wide necks and it just put me off. Naturally of course I know what you mean though. If you want a specific sound, you just adapt your playing style a bit. I've had to do that when switching from 4 string to 8 string a bit, but not much. 12 string took a very different approach entirely. On the other hand it wasn't like they were insanely difficult to play in the first place. Depends what you want I suppose.

It was merely a thought from myself and it's worth saying that I said maybe getting something for my 40th. That's not for another 7 years. Maybe I might be able to afford something decent by then!! Ha!! You are certainly right though Chris b I need to try a couple to think about it. I've only got almost a decade.... ;)

Thanks again chaps.

Edited by Wolverinebass

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If it's filter circuits you're interested in, then you should also consider a custom made ACG.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1335858608' post='1636888']
If it's filter circuits you're interested in, then you should also consider a custom made ACG.
[/quote]

+1,000,000!
The ACG preamp offers a fair bit more than the Wal preamp in terms of it's versatility, can't comment on the Alembic one though.
Oh, and the new ACG EQ03 has low and high mid boost options and active/passive switching on top of all that.
I can also vouch for the fit an finish on ACG's too, I've not seen any better :-)

Eude

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Never tried either but love the wal fretless sound , that's all :)

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[quote name='eude' timestamp='1335859714' post='1636910']
+1,000,000!
The ACG preamp offers a fair bit more than the Wal preamp in terms of it's versatility, can't comment on the Alembic one though.
Oh, and the new ACG EQ03 has low and high mid boost options and active/passive switching on top of all that.
I can also vouch for the fit an finish on ACG's too, I've not seen any better :-)

Eude
[/quote]

Indeed, the ACG preamp is a happy medium between the directness of the Wal controls and the complexity of the Alembic controls. The ACG is very easy to get to grips with, as the different controls are 'stacked' so that they make sense (IE. each filter and resonant peak control are stacked, volume and pan are stacked and the dual band treble controls are stacked). On some Alembic basses, they can be a bit of a scattered array, before you even consider adjusting the internal trim pots!

Indeed, ACG basses are as fine as any made today. I have been recently thinking about selling mine but every time I get it out and have a play I think 'No, I'm not selling this'. I'm moving house and I worry that any cash I made off the ACG will be quickly forgotten about (and spent on a new kitchen) and in years to come I'll stink look back and think "I had the very first singlecut ACG Harlot..."

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Not a great deal I can had but I've had a couple of Wals (played many!) and a few Alembics. The tonal difference is pretty remarkable IMO - not that one is better than another, just very different. To me Wals are quite dry and fat, Alembics are quite clangy and with layered and complex tones. I'd say that both can provide a fairly aggressive edge. There's really no substitute for trying a few of each - I'm pretty sure though, that you'll be getting the characteristic Alembic tones from your SC.

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