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Show us yer headstocks!

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Posted (edited)

AND YOU DON'T GET A CASE OR GIG BAG

They start at £450...

http://www.alembic.com/prod/prices.html

Some items in this list are truly astonishing.  Buckeye burl is £2,000 extra, and that just a top. Looks like they charge £2,000 or so for a preamp.  Do you want it to come with strings?  An extra £69-£105 if you do.

Edited by Kev

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You can always send your own strings and they will set the bass up with those too otherwise it comes with Alembic strings.  🙂

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33 minutes ago, jazzyvee said:

You can always send your own strings and they will set the bass up with those too otherwise it comes with Alembic strings.  🙂

Does the same apply if I send my own topwoods? 

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A Classico Deluxe 6 string with all the trimmings is a shade over $60,000. The top/back wood options are more expensive than the cost of my whole ACG custom 6. 

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Posted (edited)

Lets put something into context here, based on my own experience of custom ordering a bass.

They charge $1,500 to upgrade to a Walnut topwood, so maybe a 10mm thick piece of wood.  Possible not even 1 piece as it doesn't say, could easily be bookmatched.

When I commissioned my first Alpher instruments bass, Chris directed me to the wood merchants website where I could choose the wood I wanted for my bass.  I chose a large slab of extremely highly figured claro walnut, what would be considered AAAAA or similar in terms of figuring.  The slab was large enough to make two full size one piece bodies out of (not tops).  The cost of this slab was $350, so $175 worth for my bass.   I think Chris charged me $400 or so for the upgrade.

If this was just topwood size/thickness, you're maybe looking at around $100 for a piece of high quality walnut.  Alembic are charging $1,500, which may be as much as 15 times what they could buy it for.  That is simply showing contempt for your customers.  Charge what you like as a base cost for your instrument, only you can decide that, but charging upgrade costs like this that have minimal impact on the manufacturing process of the bass is just horrendous.

Edited by Kev

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It's no different from paying extra for a MIA Fender over a MIM one really, or even iover a Squier. Any actual improvements are trivial in cost compared to the actual price differential.

Alembic are just able to balance supply and demand by keeping their product scarce and elite. They don't compromise on quality, which is easy when the margin on one of your basses is a year's salary for an ordinary luthier.

(Just a shame so many of their designs are spoilt by body shapes copied off Indian restaurant flock wallpaper...)

 

 

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Similarly with my custom ACG and Binky... I understand that Buckeye Burl and Camphor Burl are up there in the most expensive top/back woods, and they require additional work as they are porous and often must undergo acrylic impregnation treatment. Still... both Alan at ACG and fred at Bee Basses charged a fair price, and yes the price can be based on the figure, and yes I'm sure there are subjectively 'better' figures than the woods used on the ACG and Binky, but nothing I've seen (from Alembic pictures) that could in any fairness justify the cost the are charging versus the cost Alan and Fred charged. I believe Fred gets his woods from the same source as Alembic too.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Kev said:

Lets put something into context here, based on my own experience of custom ordering a bass.

They charge $1,500 to upgrade to a Walnut topwood, so maybe a 10mm thick piece of wood.  Possible not even 1 piece as it doesn't say, could easily be bookmatched.

When I commissioned my first Alpher instruments bass, Chris directed me to the wood merchants website where I could choose the wood I wanted for my bass.  I chose a large slab of extremely highly figured claro walnut, what would be considered AAAAA or similar in terms of figuring.  The slab was large enough to make two full size one piece bodies out of (not tops).  The cost of this slab was $350, so $175 worth for my bass.   I think Chris charged me $400 or so for the upgrade.

If this was just topwood size/thickness, you're maybe looking at around $100 for a piece of high quality walnut.  Alembic are charging $1,500, which may be as much as 15 times what they could buy it for.  That is simply showing contempt for your customers.  Charge what you like as a base cost for your instrument, only you can decide that, but charging upgrade costs like this that have minimal impact on the manufacturing process of the bass is just horrendous.

They're all at it.

Skjold charge an extra $500 for an Ash neck, Fodera, an extra $1000!
Ash, suitable for necks is usually cheaper to buy trade than even the most agricultural plain maple.

At the end of the day, if people are willing to pay for it, these guys will charge for it.
It's not right, but it's their business, we just need to decide ourselves if we could live with justifying these extra costs that are clearly a rip off, you don't need to look very hard to figure that out.

If you want an Alembic? Good luck, I'd rather have a couple of other custom basses, and amp and a car!

Eude

Edited by eude

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15 hours ago, Piers_Williamson said:

Can I just ask something as simple as what the string intervals were on his 8 strings and on Brit Bass'.  Is there a reason you can get away with smaller tuning pegs (apart from neck dive)

PS I really really don't have £30k, as much as I like Alembics (cheaper ones at least:) )

 

 

His Pirate bass neck was quite chunky , if I recall the nut width was close to two inches while the  Manticore/Tarkus Bass was definitely narrower. I selected the narrow spacing option on my 8 string , but as with all Alembics you have to develop a more precise playing technique .

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53 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

It's no different from paying extra for a MIA Fender over a MIM one really, or even iover a Squier. Any actual improvements are trivial in cost compared to the actual price differential.

 

 

I wouldn't say that was a fair comparison, as they are not built in the same way by the same people.   Totally up to the company what they charge as a base cost for an instrument,  its upgrades of the same instrument that is much harder to justify.

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2 hours ago, Kev said:

I wouldn't say that was a fair comparison, as they are not built in the same way by the same people.   Totally up to the company what they charge as a base cost for an instrument,  its upgrades of the same instrument that is much harder to justify.

Its possibly even worse, some cheaper instruments have lower-quality parts fitted that in practice are no cheaper.

I compared Squier and Fender thinline Tele bodies side by side, both meant to be copies of the same vintage original. The only differences I could detect were slight differences in body shape yet they were almost certainly both made using CNC and could have used the same files and been identical at less cost to the company. They actually create differences to justify price differentials.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BritBass 2 said:

His Pirate bass neck was quite chunky , if I recall the nut width was close to two inches while the  Manticore/Tarkus Bass was definitely narrower. I selected the narrow spacing option on my 8 string , but as with all Alembics you have to develop a more precise playing technique .

The smaller tuning machine heads certainly do the job as well as reduce the potential for any  neck dive.

 

Edited by BritBass 2

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On 26/05/2020 at 01:38, Kev said:

Does the same apply if I send my own topwoods? 

Yes Alembic have been known to make instruments using wood supplied by customers so you can try asking if you have a custom you are looking to have made.

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22 hours ago, jazzyvee said:

Yes Alembic have been known to make instruments using wood supplied by customers so you can try asking if you have a custom you are looking to have made.

Well that’s something if they don’t add a surcharge or anything.  Certainly something that needs to be highlighted, as it will save a customer thousands...

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10 hours ago, Kev said:

Well that’s something if they don’t add a surcharge or anything.  Certainly something that needs to be highlighted, as it will save a customer thousands...

Restaurants charge corkage, perhaps Alembic charge 'walnutage'?

  • Haha 1

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On 30/05/2020 at 01:19, jazzyvee said:

Yes Alembic have been known to make instruments using wood supplied by customers so you can try asking if you have a custom you are looking to have made.

I can't imagine that would actually save you any money though. The wood they are charging thousands to add is only costing about £100, so maybe you could take the price from £2000 down to £1900 by supplying your own wood?

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Posted (edited)

The headstock of my main bass, a lowly, but very much beloved, black Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass, that has received several visual mods, a fair share of use and abuse, as well as a pickup upgrade:

666-Ibanez-GSRM20-Mikro-Bass-Headstock-s

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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On 26/05/2020 at 07:36, binky_bass said:

A Classico Deluxe 6 string with all the trimmings is a shade over $60,000. The top/back wood options are more expensive than the cost of my whole ACG custom 6. 

Probably why they have only made one six string Classico. Actually I read somewhere on their forum that they have only made somewhere between 20 and 30 classico instruments in total. Hard to know for sure as they don't keep counts of individual  models of instruments.

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It absolutely amazes me that with the astronomical prices they charge that they wouldn't have a system of serial numbers where what's stamped on the bass/guitar brings up the full details of the instrument at their end. It's literally just a spreadsheet they'd need! 

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