Alembic Club

Alembic products => Owning an Alembic => Fun Stories => Topic started by: jazzyvee on December 16, 2016, 01:23:28 AM

Title: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 16, 2016, 01:23:28 AM
The keyboard player from one of my bands is doing a masters degree and has to record some southern rock for an assignment. He had a band booked but they have let him down at the last minute so we have all agreed to do the session for him to help him out as it has to be recorded before the end of next week. The main song he wants to do is Love The One You're with by Cosby, Stills, Nash & Young but if time allows we may do another couple.
At the most I want to carry two basses and my initial thought was to take a series 5 string bass but wondered if the sound from that era would be better represented by my short scale series I, 4 string and or even my Elan 4 plus bass which has two sets of P-style pickups?


Any suggestions with rationale behind your choice would be really helpful?
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jacko on December 16, 2016, 02:05:49 AM
Calvin Samuels was the bass player on that song and all the photos I've seen from that era show him using a Fender precision so the simpler bass the better IMO.

Graeme
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: nemesis on December 16, 2016, 07:19:13 AM
Jazzyvee,

For what it's worth, I played my series 1 short scale during all those times. Fit in really well I think. Have some fun!

Nemesis Jon
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: 5a quilt top on December 16, 2016, 08:11:20 AM
Depends upon if you want to pay homage to the tone of the original recording or if you want to funk it up a bit ala the Neville Bros.


If you want to be close to the original, I'd go for the vintage "Fender tone" with your Elan, but, if you'd like to take a few liberties and inject a little snap, I'd go for your Series 5.


FWIW: one of my guitar projects is currently covering this tune and we are leaning more toward the Neville groove during the verses, so the bass player is pursuing more of a contemporary sound. He doesn't have an Alembic, but if he had a Series bass, IMO, his tone would be spot on for the purpose.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: lbpesq on December 16, 2016, 09:53:23 AM
Hey Jazzy, I have no opinion on which bass, but I do find it a little amusing that the other side of the pond thinks of "Love the One You're With" as "Southern Rock".  Perhaps "Southern California Rock"?  Personally, "Southern Rock" makes me think of bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Outlaws, Marshall Tucker Band, etc.

Bill, tgo
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: StephenR on December 16, 2016, 10:03:35 AM
Also thought it was a bit odd to categorize this song as Southern Rock. It isn't a CSNY song either. They may well have played it live but it was originally released on Stephen Still's first solo LP in 1970. The Elan seems like a good choice but I think any of your basses would be fine as long as you avoid going for an obviously high-tech modern tone. I haven't listened to this song in a very long time but don't remember the bass lines being very prominent in the mix the first thing that comes to my mind is acoustic guitars. Should be a fun tune to play/record.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on December 16, 2016, 10:18:54 AM
Not very helpful Jazzy, but I vote for the Series I shorty, if for no other reason than it's my favorite of your fine array.  ;D
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 16, 2016, 10:45:21 AM
Bill, somehow I know me putting "Southern Rock" would stir you.... :-) You are educating me sir. I have no idea what the true definition of southern rock is but I just assumed it was rock music played by bands from the southern states.. :-).
Over this side of the pond we have Northern Rock, which used to be a building society until it was nationalised when it got into problems caused by the subprime mortgage crisis and we have Northern Soul which was a dance and music scen primarily in the north of the country.

I've not noticed any other versions of this song and only recently started playing it with this house band and the bass isn't really up front on it but i will check out the Neville brothers version and see if there is any way I can sensibly take some influence from that.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: lbpesq on December 16, 2016, 11:58:34 AM
Jazzy, we are a little strange over here.  "Southern Rock" usually refers to the southeast part of the country.  Music from the southern part of the middle and western areas is usually thought of as "Country Western".  (As the famous quote goes, "we play both kinds of music, Country and Western"). 

You're explanation of "Northern Rock" had me laughing out loud!  Whatever we call it, it's all good.

Bill, tgo
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: David Houck on December 16, 2016, 05:11:05 PM
Yes; I too fear the keyboard player will fail in his assignment and be dismissed from the masters program in disgrace.  The dictionary definition of Southern Rock is this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Du-CWASm20).
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: rv_bass on December 16, 2016, 05:14:28 PM
Let's not forget Molly Hatchet!  Glad The Outlaws were mentioned, they were great!  :)
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: edwin on December 16, 2016, 09:11:16 PM
I'd say it doesn't much matter which bass you bring as long as you put flats on it! :-)
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: keith_h on December 17, 2016, 06:33:21 AM
I always thought of CSNY or variations thereof as more folk rock in their origins.

As for southern rock bands go there was also Wet Willie and Blackfoot.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 18, 2016, 11:14:45 AM
David we have played that at one of our open mic sessions so I guess I could learn it properly and suggest that tomorrow. Hope he doesn't fail and  hope I like my playing enough on the final mix to put it up for you guys to hear.
Edwin, no chance of flats for me, the closest is d'addario NYXL nickel strings. and maybe some string muting although I might try some on my Europa that I use for reggae when those strings need changing.

Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: edwin on December 18, 2016, 03:52:13 PM
Take two and call me in the morning!
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: hieronymous on December 18, 2016, 05:57:28 PM
I vote long scale - either Series I or Elan - I would do neck pickup with the filter frequency set really low, possibly with Q boost but I would try both ways. Listening to it briefly on YouTube, its sounds to me like the bass is really fulfilling the "bass role" and is underneath all the other instruments.


This track was recorded with my AlFemBic - the white Precision with PJ Activators - pretty sure I had it just on the P pickup, with the filter freq way down, and before I put in the Q switch so it was hardwired +8 or something around there. It had roundwounds on it but IMHO I think it sounds a lot like flats because of the frequency setting.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 19, 2016, 12:56:21 AM
Yes Harry you are right the bass is really a support in that song rather than having any upfront prominence in the sound so keeping things mellow would work great. After a long day practicing and listening to each bass my view now is to go with the Elan 4 & Series II 5a s we might be doing some non-"southern rock" songs too if there is time like Baker Street which will allow me to use a low D on the bass line under the saxophone motif.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 19, 2016, 01:19:24 PM
Well session done. I played it with my series two in the end. Im just in the control room  listening to the harmonies going down.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jacko on December 20, 2016, 01:26:41 AM
Vee.
I'd recommend instead of gigging at weekends you stay home and watch the BBC4 music documentaries so you get a better understanding of the subtleties of their different genres.  ;D

We've had (in no particular order but all worth a view)

Troubadours. - mostly west coast singer songwriter stuff based around James Taylor and Carole King (ironically both east coast natives)
Sweet Home Alabama. Unsurprisingly about Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman brothers
Hotel California - LA from the Byrds to the Eagles . also CSN, Joni Mitchell. Bonnie raitt and a few others.
California Dreaming. - mostly the Mamas and the papas.
Legends of the Canyon. - similar to Hotel California but includes the likes of the doors and Elton john.
Lost Highway - the history of American country music - 4 part series that tries to cover everything from Appalachian bluegrass through to Shania Twain.
Rock'n'roll America.  3 part series charting the history of R'n'R from the 50's to the mid 60's

And the list goes on. Maybe if I was gigging more I'd know less about west coast culture  ::)

Graeme
 






 
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: 811952 on December 20, 2016, 06:28:56 AM
Too late to be of any use, but I definitely second Edwin's suggestion of flatwounds. I know it's a bit sacrilege, but it is amazing how good flats sound on a series Alembic. Favor the neck pickup for that classic tone. Play with the Q. Immerse yourself in something so luscious it defies adequate description. Try it once, for a few weeks, and fall in love.


John
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 20, 2016, 08:11:46 AM
I have in the past toyed with the idea of using some flats on the alembic I use for reggae bass but changed my mind after finding the price significantly more than rounds and when asking around bass players here who play reggae almost exclusively, all are using roundwound strings I never found any of them using flats. In fact the only reggae bass player I've spoken to that uses flats is Aston Family Man Barrett. Maybe next time I'm stateside I will get some at a decent price.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: tbrannon on December 20, 2016, 09:11:26 AM
Chromes on my alembic were always so sublime.  Such a good sound. 

DR Sunbeams are another string that just seemed to fit perfectly on the Alembics I've owned. 
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: mica on December 20, 2016, 01:00:13 PM
Alembics were DESIGNED for flatwounds - remember in the late sixties and early seventies, that's what people played all the time. The Chromes are my current favorite as the tension and is similar to a roundwound string, so if you aren't used to flats, there's fewer variables. Aston's bass is a Maple body Elan BTW, so I would think that flats would be perfect on that bass.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: keith_h on December 20, 2016, 02:03:05 PM
Having played various flat sets in the 70's before moving to ground round wounds I was surprised, in a good way, at how bright and tight sounding the Chromes are. While I wouldn't use them on my fretted basses due to playing style I love them on my fretless. I think they would be a great string for a fretted bass used for reggae.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on December 20, 2016, 02:50:23 PM
Mica do you have a picture of Aston's bass that you can share? I did find an interview of him talking about his alembic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9erbL9j3v5M (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9erbL9j3v5M)
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jacko on December 21, 2016, 12:25:08 AM
I'm another Chromes fan having had them on my fretless rogue for at least 5 years. Love the feel and the tone can be anything I want. (it is an Alembic after all  ;D )

Graeme
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: Exploiter007 on January 02, 2017, 10:08:53 AM
Not that anyone asked, but - ZZ Top is NOT "southern rock."  That's a category they get lumped in to for some reason.  They are more "blues rock" or, their own genre, which I've heard dubbed "Texas boogie."  But they ARE NOT southern rock.  As previously mentioned, "southern rock" would be from Alabama east, south of the Mason-Dixon line (Outlaws, Skynyrd, MTB).  CSNY is not southern rock, nor are the Eagles - they belong to that most dreaded of genres, "country rock," which is southern California, '70's era, "bore me to tears and pass the fatty" rock.  At one point, even Eric Clapton dabbled in the "country rock" genre (see 461 Ocean Blvd), a point where I completely gave up on the the man. 

One genre I do enjoy a great deal is "alt country / southern rock," which would include Drive-by Truckers, Son Volt, Blood Oranges and Southern Culture On The Skids. 

None of these bands have used Alembics as far as I know.   ;D

Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: hieronymous on January 15, 2017, 01:25:54 PM
My favorite line from a band from the south was Col. Bruce Hampton at shows by the Aquarium Rescue Unit - two actually:


"...South of the Manson/Nixon line"


"We're gonna play some country music - we're not sure which country"
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: jazzyvee on November 12, 2017, 11:18:12 PM
Picking upon Mica’s comment on Aston Barrett’S alembic, does anyone have a picture if his bass or seen it on-line anywhere i’d love to see what he uses.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: elwoodblue on November 12, 2017, 11:50:33 PM
If there is, I can't find one,
good luck with the quest.
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: mica on November 13, 2017, 12:15:25 PM
Picking upon Mica’s comment on Aston Barrett’S alembic, does anyone have a picture if his bass or seen it on-line anywhere i’d love to see what he uses.

I've seen it on YouTube before, I'll try and dig up a link an post it here (unless someone else beats me to it). I'm pretty sure it's a Maple body with a Walnut top, but my memory isn't quite as keen as it used to be!
Title: Re: Which alembic do you recommend I take?
Post by: adriaan on November 13, 2017, 12:57:51 PM
https://youtu.be/9erbL9j3v5M (https://youtu.be/9erbL9j3v5M)

Not a bass in sight, sorry about that. :)