Author Topic: Short-scale Essence  (Read 1072 times)

kdh

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Short-scale Essence
« on: April 07, 2017, 12:06:54 PM »
I've been doing a lot of reading here and have gotten most of the way to a spec for a new build through Mike at basscentral.

Sort of a "black and white" theme. I'm going for some (sonic) brightness with the maple. I'd love any thoughts:

NECK FEATURES
4 string
Right-handed
Short scale 30-3/4 inches
1 Ebony neck laminate
Fretted
Classic fingerboard taper (narrow bridge)
Silver dot side position markers
Orion inline peghead

BODY FEATURES
Flame Maple top
Maple body
Oil finish
Essence body shape

HARDWARE FEATURES
Silver logo (no script)
No bridge block
Bar tailpiece
Brass backplate (for model electronics)
Black Alembic Gotoh machine heads

ELECTRONICS FEATURES
Essence electronics
Q Switch (two-position)

I've asked Mica and Susan about whether the upper horn should be shortened somewhat to make the bass physically balance correctly as a 4 string short scale. This might guide somewhat going with a tummy contour or not.

I saw some pictures of a rounded bar tailpiece that I believe is different from what's in the spec.

Accent laminate in a dark wood.

I'm leaning away from a bridge block based on the effect a massive bridge, a Badass, had on my P-bass, and from what I've read here.

I'm also considering a side-mounted jack.

What am I missing?


« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:02:47 PM by kdh »

tbrannon

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1807
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 12:24:00 PM »
I'd recommend going with the 3way q switch.  Most people who have had the 2way q and then replace it with the 3 way definitely appreciate the extra setting. 

Any fretboard markers on the front?

kdh

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 12:33:51 PM »
I'd recommend going with the 3way q switch.  Most people who have had the 2way q and then replace it with the 3 way definitely appreciate the extra setting. 

Any fretboard markers on the front?
Thanks.

The 8db resonance at the breakpoint of the low pass filter seems a bit gimmicky to me, though I have no experience with it. I always play with volume and tone all the way up (wired out, actually) and adjust downstream. I imagine I'll practically always have the Q turned off.

I like the minimalism and look of no fretboard markers. I'm hoping the sidemarkers are sufficient.

keith_h

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2626
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 12:43:35 PM »
Without a Q-switch the default setting is 8db boost at the filter frequency setting.

I wouldn't call the switch gimmicky as it adds an addition way to color the sound. Of course a lot depends on the type of music and your playing style as to whether you would use it much. I have typically played a wide range of styles in the bands I've played with. Where I've found it useful is when switching to a slap style or during a solo with the filters fully open. I can then turn them off and be back to a more traditional bass tone.  Depending upon the filter setting it can also help get rid of that last bit muddiness some rooms have. 

edwardofhuncote

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1879
  • Chain-Links
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 12:49:50 PM »
I'd recommend going with the 3way q switch.  Most people who have had the 2way q and then replace it with the 3 way definitely appreciate the extra setting. 

Any fretboard markers on the front?
Thanks.

The 8db resonance at the breakpoint of the low pass filter seems a bit gimmicky to me, though I have no experience with it. I always play with volume and tone all the way up (wired out, actually) and adjust downstream. I imagine I'll practically always have the Q turned off.

I like the minimalism and look of no fretboard markers. I'm hoping the sidemarkers are sufficient.


+1 on a 3-position Q-switch. If you already imagine you'll be leving te Q-switch in the off position because ro 8 dB hump is a little much, the I highly recommend the 3-position option. I have both, on two different basses, and can tell you from experience I leave it off on my Distillate with it's stock 2-position switch, but I use the 3-position Q-switch frequently on my Persuader, which now has Essence electronics. In fact, I just talked to Mica later week about upgrading my old Distillate's electronics and exchanging the 2-position Q-switch for a 3-way.

Congrats on the decision to go the custom route... there's nothing quite like hammering out every detail. You're 90% of the way there. 8)

kdh

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 12:57:41 PM »

+1 on a 3-position Q-switch. If you already imagine you'll be leving te Q-switch in the off position because ro 8 dB hump is a little much, the I highly recommend the 3-position option. I have both, on two different basses, and can tell you from experience I leave it off on my Distillate with it's stock 2-position switch, but I use the 3-position Q-switch frequently on my Persuader, which now has Essence electronics. In fact, I just talked to Mica later week about upgrading my old Distillate's electronics and exchanging the 2-position Q-switch for a 3-way.

Congrats on the decision to go the custom route... there's nothing quite like hammering out every detail. You're 90% of the way there. 8)

Looks like the 2-position is 0/8db and the 3-position is 0/6/9db. Do you ever use the 9db position on the Persuader?

You guys obviously know way more than I do.

tbrannon

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1807
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 01:08:33 PM »
Pretty sure there is a 0/3/6 option as well.... but i could be wrong.

StephenR

  • club
  • Advanced Member
  • *
  • Posts: 403
    • CRYPTICAL
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 01:49:33 PM »
Also think the 3-position Q switch is a good option. You may use it only sporadically at first but you may find over time (as many do) that it was a valuable addition. It is going to make it easy to change the attack of each note in conjunction with how the filter is set. IMO the filter plus Q switch is key to why the Alembic instruments are so versatile. Being able to change the resonant frequency and attack allows you to emulate the sound of other pickups and craft your own individual tone. I was going to suggest the bridge block then noticed you already gave it consideration. Once again I find the block to be beneficial. If there is any way for you to play an Alembic with and one without I highly recommend doing so before making a final decision. One of the members here, Wolf (Sonicus), recently had a bridge block added to his Essence and it may be worth getting his feedback to "before and after" tonally. He has a number of Alembics and is familiar with how the various models sound.

The Alembic pups/electronics while warm sounding and musical do have a lot of high end available so I don't think you need to worry about sonic brightness. IMO maple over maple will be quite bright. Have you given any thought to maple over mahogany? It would help warm the tone and add a touch of depth without sacrificing high-end or clarity. Visually the contrast of the two woods would look nice especially if you aren't going with an accent trim on the body.

Last suggestion would be to keep an eye on the monthly specials at Alembic. LED side markers are an excellent thing to have and sometimes can be added to an order for a new build at little to no cost via the monthly special. I sure wish my Series bass had them, the silver side markers can be hard to see under some stage lighting and it doesn't look like you are getting any inlays on the fingerboard.

Must be exciting to put together a build to your own specs best of luck with your endeavor!

edwardofhuncote

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1879
  • Chain-Links
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 02:20:25 PM »
Mine is 0-3-6, respectively... 8 db is too much for me, 9 would be almost un-usable.

Mica discussed with me first what my tastes and playing style was before advising the 3-position. Sounds like you and I may be in the same category, but I would definitely talk to the Mothership about it.

Another +1 for keeping an eye on monthly specials. ;) 

http://www.alembic.com/info/special.html
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 02:23:28 PM by edwardofhuncote »

lembic76450

  • club
  • Advanced Member
  • *
  • Posts: 418
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2017, 02:25:07 PM »
I'm with Stephen on the bridge block.  Over the years I have had 5 Alembics,  all different models,  4 with and 1 without.
If at this point I found a nice one without the block,  I am thinking I would pass on it.  Great choice on the Essence,  after my
Series I,  that is my favorite electronics package. I, too would consider the 3 position switch at 0-3-6.  Good luck with the build.


lidon2001

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 603
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 02:47:12 PM »
I'm not understanding the shortening of the upper horn.

Alembic normally moves the bridge forward on the body to account for the shorter scale in order to keep access to the 24th fret relatively available.   On my 32" scale Essence, I had them keep the bridge in the normal location.   Though I rarely go there, access to the 24th fret is fine.  I suggest leaving the horn as it is.

In addition to the comments above, I would suggest considering a FatBoy pickup in the bridge position.

Good luck.
2005 MK Deluxe SSB, 2006 Custom Amboyna Essence MSB, Commissioned Featured Custom Pele

kdh

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 03:23:01 PM »
This is really useful.

What are the characteristics of the FatBoy? Warmer?

My basic timbre I'd describe as "unadulterated bright," really a "straight through" kind of sound, which makes the basic sound of the instrument critical. I don't want boomy, and I'm fine controlling high frequencies with my playing rather than with filters. I like the capability of a melodic sound straight from the strings.

edwin

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2570
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2017, 04:06:48 PM »
Before you move to much more forward, I would suggest playing a number of Alembics. I think that once you get a sense of what they are really about, you'll find uses for the filters and the Q switches (I have to say I love the CVQ, but that's getting into a whole other world.). It's one thing to talk about all these things, it's quite another to get them under your fingers. It takes a while to really understand what the response of the filter system is like, but it's better to get it all figured out now, before you finalize the order. You might discover that there's a lot more going on than controlling high frequencies.

kdh

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2017, 04:32:07 PM »
Before you move to much more forward, I would suggest playing a number of Alembics. I think that once you get a sense of what they are really about, you'll find uses for the filters and the Q switches (I have to say I love the CVQ, but that's getting into a whole other world.). It's one thing to talk about all these things, it's quite another to get them under your fingers. It takes a while to really understand what the response of the filter system is like, but it's better to get it all figured out now, before you finalize the order. You might discover that there's a lot more going on than controlling high frequencies.

With the Q switch there definitely is a lot more going on than controlling high frequencies. The Q controls a resonance, a bandpass effect.

lidon2001

  • club
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 603
Re: Short-scale Essence
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 04:33:38 PM »
AXY and MXY pickups use the same size magnets.  A FatBoy pickup uses a larger magnet, similar in size to their Series bass pickups.  I wouldn't call it warmer.  All Alembic pickups are plenty warm.  It "sees" more of the string, so to say, vs. MXY or AXY pickups.  I didn't like it in the bass position, though others have had success with it there. 
2005 MK Deluxe SSB, 2006 Custom Amboyna Essence MSB, Commissioned Featured Custom Pele