Author Topic: Hello, a question about [a bass by an unknown builder]  (Read 604 times)

book_shelter

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Hello, a question about [a bass by an unknown builder]
« on: January 15, 2017, 06:59:12 AM »
Hello all,

I hope it's alright to begin posting here by asking a question. I recently came into ownership of a very interesting bass without any markings. The best guess I have after having already falsely identified it as a Ken Smith was that it may be an Alembic. I've included some photos if anyone would be so kind as to look and see if there is anything pointing to it being one, or if there's a detail that perhaps gives it away as not being Alembic.

I'm trying my best to I.D. it myself but there really isn't much to go off that I've found. The parts are primarily Ken Smith but they've confirmed that it's not their make. As you can see it's also signed by Sting, a very cool detail, but this isn't something I'm able to authenticate at this time.

Removing the plate on the back also didn't yield much info besides some parts and a 9V battery. Unfortunately there weren't any symbols or other markings to point me in the right direction.

Anyway, thanks very much to anyone who took the time to read this. If anyone has any information suggesting that this is or is not an Alembic Bass I'd very much appreciate it, and if not then thank you all the same.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 10:30:56 AM by adriaan »

jazzyvee

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 08:29:43 AM »
Hi there and welcome to the forum.
I'm certain that is not an alembic bass. A number of things don't add up.
(1) bridge
(2) truss rod adjustment on alembics is at the body end of the fingerboard and usually there are two truss rods.
(3) workmanship does not look to be alembic quality nor styling. my view would be that the body was not made originally as it looks now but probably  suffered extensive damage somehow and subsequently reshaped to somehow restore the bass to use.
(4) headstock not an alembic style.
In closing i dont see anything on that bass that would point to an alembic origin.
Hope that helps.
 Have a look in the products pages and custom archive for some pictures of alembic basses and you will get a grasp of the alembic styles.
How does the bass sound and play?
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

book_shelter

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 08:37:48 AM »
Thank you so much for replying. As disappointed as I am to still have this unidentified this is still a huge help.

I definitely did some digging through Alembic basses, old archives, and a lot of google-images scrolling, and it's true, nothing like this showed up, which kept me a bit skeptical about whether it was Alembic or not.

Your theory that this may have been damaged and reshaped is actually quite interesting, that's not something I'd considered at all. I'm not sure if that's the case; despite its flaws the shape of the body seems rather deliberate, but if you're right then maybe that explains some missing details that would have helped to identify it.

It does sound nice. It's only got the one pickup but it's Ken Smith and has a good sustain and quality. And while I'm not the best with fretless basses it plays pretty well too, at least in my opinion.

Anyway, thanks so much for all your help here, I really appreciate it very much! All the best! :)

lbpesq

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 08:53:11 AM »
Definitely not Alembic.  It looks like a one off to me.

Bill, tgo

book_shelter

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 09:00:25 AM »
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the info and the guess. It's looking more and more like you're right and that it's a custom one-off type of thing. Thanks again :)

pauldo

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 02:50:12 AM »
Not an Alembic, not an 'after-hours' Alembic either.

Curious design, not bad looking wood.  Intriguing jack location, which would support Jazzy's #3 statement.

What is the scale length?
Is it intended to be played vertically or horizontally?
How does it balance in a horizontal position?
1984 Distillate Zebrawood

book_shelter

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 07:00:48 AM »
Hey there,

Thanks for the further confirmation. Still a mystery but it's good to know that it's not Alembic.

Besides the obvious unorthodox body yeah, the jack location is what stood out to me as the most strange. I've also never seen so many locations for straploks but that's just kind of a cool design really. I'm actually not sure if it shows in the photos I put up but there's a whole bunch of spots for the strap to be plugged in.

I'd guess that it's intended to be played horizontally, although with the added strap locations I guess vertically would be an option. But I think it's meant to be played as a normal bass would be. It balances well and despite the odd location of the jack it ends up still fitting without bumping into my hip or anything when I put it on to try it out.

keith_h

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 07:32:10 AM »
If it wasn't for the headstock I would think it was a Wish Bass.

book_shelter

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Re: Hello, a question about a possible Alembic?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 08:08:24 AM »
Wow I just took a look and I totally see what you mean. Yeah the headstock doesn't look right but their body shapes are definitely along the same lines. Thanks, even if this isn't a Wish Bass I'm glad to learn about those!

Robbiedonuts

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Re: Hello, a question about [a bass by an unknown builder]
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2017, 12:33:10 PM »
It's a bass o Lin brand bass, I remember when they came out in like 1998. My local guitar shop at the time got one in. It was designed to be played  either upright or like an electric. The came fretted or fretless and you could play them with a bow. I remover playing at the store I enjoyed it but didn't have $800 at the time to buy it. Google bass o lin it will come up. Hope this helps

pauldo

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Re: Hello, a question about [a bass by an unknown builder]
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2017, 01:00:57 PM »
Robbie wins!
1984 Distillate Zebrawood