Alembic Club

Alembic products => Alembic Basses & Guitars => Topic started by: mtjam on February 09, 2018, 04:38:49 PM

Title: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mtjam on February 09, 2018, 04:38:49 PM
I was just cruising around on Facebook when I stumbled across some pics that Jay Blakesberg took of Phil's new Alembic bass, which he apparently just acquired. Hadn't heard anything about this. Anyone have any details on his new instrument? Mica?
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: FC Bass on February 09, 2018, 05:31:51 PM
Bridge looks a bit different, or is it just the angle and all the bling bling?... :-)
Very nice one!
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: StephenR on February 09, 2018, 05:50:42 PM
He has been playing his black Ritter with the dragon inlay on the neck a lot lately. Interesting that he now has another new Alembic. I am sure Mica will provide details at some point.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 09, 2018, 06:06:53 PM
It is a new shortscale bass with individual height adjustments on the bridge done like the rigid pickup mounting so it's crazy solid. Phil had a minor shoulder injury and the Ritter bass is a little lighter weight. The new bass is Dream Fyre, and it's a little lighter weight than Balerion, with a super deep carved heel. He said he never really plays up that high, but he sure didn't need the extra weight, and who knows? Maybe he'll venture up there now that the access is awesome.

I will share some pictures shortly.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on February 09, 2018, 06:23:52 PM
Dang... he's getting as bad as a few of us are.  ::)

 ;D
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 09, 2018, 07:32:06 PM
A couple of the snapshots of Dreamfyre, Balerion's little sister bass. She has a new bridge to try out. Phil was so excited to start playing this bass that he skipped the hardware plating, so it's all raw brass for now. We're adding this bridge to Balerion next, and when he's done, we'll take Dreamfyre back for a little spa treatment and some ruthenium jewelry.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 09, 2018, 07:33:26 PM
Also the string gauge experiment continues. These have .045-.060-.075-.085-.100-.115 custom made by DR strings.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: David Houck on February 09, 2018, 07:42:52 PM
I like that bridge and heel a lot!
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: elwoodblue on February 09, 2018, 11:12:30 PM
Wow !!
You all are amazing  :)


When adjusting the intonation, is one screw just a stabilizing factor?
or is the saddle threaded in both holes?
(I had a hard time wording that, I hope it's clear)


Nice to see something new that still looks timeless.

Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: jazzyvee on February 10, 2018, 04:00:06 AM
Another superb bass Phil has and that bridge is great engineering.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: pauldo on February 10, 2018, 05:21:22 AM
Wow !!
You all are amazing  :)


When adjusting the intonation, is one screw just a stabilizing factor?
or is the saddle threaded in both holes?
(I had a hard time wording that, I hope it's clear)


Nice to see something new that still looks timeless.



I understand the question and am curious also.  Appears that the height adjustment is only behind the string saddles? 

We want tech specs!  :-D
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mtjam on February 10, 2018, 05:32:51 AM
Another amazing bass! I had seen a few recent pics of Phil with his Ritter, so I'm glad to see he is still rocking the Alembics.

How much does his new bass weigh?
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: rv_bass on February 10, 2018, 06:14:01 AM
Beautiful bass and saddle design. I guess one benefit is more efficient (and reversible) than carving various notch depths.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: the_home on February 10, 2018, 06:51:17 AM
Looking forward to hearing more about the new bridge. Very impressive.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: Zut8083 on February 10, 2018, 07:06:48 AM
That's really great; each of Phil's new basses are magnificent to behold, and the use of ruthenium to cut corrosion on the brass is really cool, too.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: adriaan on February 10, 2018, 07:56:21 AM
From what I can tell, you can adjust the individual saddles for height and inclination the same way as the pickups - four bolts over-and-under the cradle that rocks the saddle, screwing into the sustain block. The intonation adjustment is a bit puzzling with the two threaded bolts per saddle, but I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for doing it this way.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on February 10, 2018, 08:21:47 AM
Another ingenious idea, realized.   8)

I'm wondering if in the future this might be an upgradable option? Seems like it  would only require swapping out the bridge block.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: xlrogue6 on February 10, 2018, 09:40:59 AM
Looks to me like the dual intonation screws on each saddle are there to lock the saddle in place--note that they oppose each other.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: jon_jackson on February 10, 2018, 12:56:51 PM
In the first close up of the bridge (DreamfyreBridgeNRL), you can almost make out a screw section in the front of the saddle section. From this, it appears to me each saddle section is mounted like a miniature pickup, with four screws per saddle section but two under and two over. Just like the pickups.


[-Posted a little late to be informative; Adriaan already figured it out.]
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: adriaan on February 10, 2018, 01:07:19 PM
Well observed anyway, Jon.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: elwoodblue on February 10, 2018, 01:58:04 PM
Looks to me like the dual intonation screws on each saddle are there to lock the saddle in place--note that they oppose each other.


I'm trying to imagine working two hex wrenches in unison, seems like that would work well enough.
Of course I can also imagine Alembic's engineers coming up with something unexpected.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: xlrogue6 on February 10, 2018, 04:10:21 PM
Quote
I'm trying to imagine working two hex wrenches in unison, seems like that would work well enough.
Of course I can also imagine Alembic's engineers coming up with something unexpected.

Actually, you would loosen the screw that pulls opposite the direction you want to move the saddle, then use the other one to move the saddle, then tighten the first one to lock--only one wrench required.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: adriaan on February 11, 2018, 01:15:43 AM
Actually, you would loosen the screw that pulls opposite the direction you want to move the saddle, then use the other one to move the saddle, then tighten the first one to lock--only one wrench required.
That does sound like the way that it would work. It's quite the change from having a bridge frame that sits perfectly still during adjustments, to one that requires a little fiddling; but no doubt that once set it will be as imperturbable as ever.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: sonicus on February 11, 2018, 01:57:06 AM
I have been totally thrilled that Phil has been playing Alembic  instruments again . This is totally the icing on the cake perhaps . Is Mr. Jack Casady getting a new Alembic bass as well , that would be swell , If not, Oh well :) .
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on February 11, 2018, 06:25:58 AM
<snip> Is Mr. Jack Casady getting a new Alembic bass as well...(?)


I don't know Wolf, but I would definitely sign that petition... that would be a fantastic finale' indeed! Maybe he could just send his recently reclaimed Starfire in for some modern mods.  ;D



Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: edwardofhuncote on February 11, 2018, 06:35:29 AM
Is it just my imagination, or is that bird tailpiece contoured a little more like the old-school mid-late 70's birds? 

Weight savings, or aesthetics?  The Will Gunn treatment?

For what it's worth, I like the raw brass look.  ;)
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: rv_bass on February 11, 2018, 08:07:06 AM
My guess is it’s a weight thing.  Reduce the weight in the tailpiece to compensate for the increased weight in what looks like a larger sound block.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mario_farufyno on February 11, 2018, 05:20:13 PM
Wow, loved that bridge!!!
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: pauldo on February 11, 2018, 05:26:13 PM

<snip>
For what it's worth, I like the raw brass look.  ;)

Ditto
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: sonicus on February 11, 2018, 06:56:52 PM
This bridge does look very interesting . Will this design be available as a general replacement or build option  soon or is this still in the experimental phase ?
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 12, 2018, 05:52:33 PM
It's not exactly experimental, but it's extremely expensive at the moment because pretty much just dad can make it. We may revise it before offering it in general. Also, it's not a direct retrofit - the bridge block is larger and requires a bigger routing.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: sonicus on February 12, 2018, 06:14:15 PM
Mica , Thanks for the explanation and answer . I enjoyed viewing and admiring the precision engineering of this new bridge :)
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: StephenR on February 12, 2018, 06:34:15 PM
Definitely an amazingly beautiful bridge, hard not to be impressed with the concept and engineering. Was this an idea that Phil had and requested or something Ron had in mind already, or was already developing, that was offered to Phil?
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 12, 2018, 06:47:30 PM
Phil requested the individual string heights, as he is pretty much always experimenting. Sometimes he wants a VERY small adjustment, and so we set about coming up with a way to make our flavor of bridge with the individual adjustments. His string spacing is very tight - this would have been MUCH easier on a classic or comfort taper! We also figured early on that we didn't want to introduce springs in the design.

This was custom made for Phil - who doesn't mind thinking a bit before making an adjustment. I can see that this might be hard for anyone besides and experienced Alembic owner to tackle. Just like the pickups, you can tilt the individual bridges, which you may or may not want - but you're not protected from it. The retrofits on Balerion and Khaleesi will have an overall height adjustment as well as they have wider bridge blocks to begin with.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: moongerm on February 12, 2018, 06:54:42 PM
Incredible bass and bridge engineering! The icing on the cake would be to also add back in the overall bridge height adjustment as you mentioned Mica. Very cool!
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: sonicus on February 12, 2018, 06:58:49 PM
One word comes to mind regarding this new unit : Exemplary :)
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: pauldo on February 12, 2018, 08:58:02 PM
Whoa - wait a minute.

If I understand correctly, what Mica is telling us is that Ron (Dad) is not only an electrical wizard but also a high-level machinist?   Seriously that is a craftsman job done on that bridge, sheer beauty that makes the viewer want to touch it, much like the gorgeous bodies of these instruments.  BRAVO!

*mind blown*

Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: StephenR on February 12, 2018, 10:32:23 PM
Thanks for the extra details Mica!

Also think an overall bridge height adjustment with individual saddles that can be fine tuned would be awesome...
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: s_wood on February 13, 2018, 06:34:54 AM
Contrary view: I’ve always thought that the standard Alembic bridge was brilliant precisely because it doesn’t permit individual string height adjustments. Less tweakable, for sure, but for me more usable - and quickly - as one can vary string height in literally seconds. And, after all, the curvature of the fingerboard doesn’t change. As in all designs there is a balance between variability and simplicity. I also understand that players who switch to exposed core strings or radically experiment with string gauges may not agree, so in a perfect world Alembic would offer both. For me, though, the existing design is the perfect compromise between ease of use and variability.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: rv_bass on February 13, 2018, 10:59:50 AM
I think the adjustable string height would come in handy particularly with five or six string basses where the height needed to accommodate the low B thickness and greater arc when vibrating affects some of the remaining strings (especially the E and A). 
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: Zut8083 on February 14, 2018, 03:25:00 PM
This story just gets cooler and cooler.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: dhagopian on February 26, 2018, 12:45:32 PM
Dang I would love to have that bridge but sounds like retrofitting would be a costly endeavor.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: mica on February 26, 2018, 02:22:48 PM
Right now the bridge itself is costly because pretty much dad has to make it. We're working with another machinist to see about making them in a larger quantity, since they don't have be made custom even for custom spacing, just the bridge block for custom spacing, and that might bring the cost down. In any event a retrofit requires a bigger bridgeblock route.
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: paulman on March 06, 2018, 08:56:27 AM
Mica, PM'd you on this.   
Title: Re: Phil Lesh got another new Alembic?
Post by: drewphishes on March 29, 2018, 10:47:14 AM
curious as to what the nut width is on this bass? also scale length?  it didnt look short scale when he was playing it live!