Author Topic: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)  (Read 483 times)

billhare

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2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:20:06 PM »
Hi Everybody!

First post, though I've been lurking a little while. I have a wonderful Orion 5, serial # 03OW13012, Model OLB5 - born on June 20, 2003.

I have owned it since new. A few years back, I hand-carried it to Santa Rosa for its 10th birthday for a "spa day" at Alembic, just to make sure everything was tip-top (it was).

Up to that point, I always had roundwounds on it, but decided to ask Mica if it would be a breach of etiquette to try flats on it - to my surprise she said "we actually originally designed the basses for flats!", and she recommended a set that I can't recall now (I also can't recall what I had for lunch today)...  and I haven't looked back since - just an amazing sound and feel.

Anyway, that's the basic story - this bass has mostly been used in my smoke-free studio, and my smoke-free church band for the last decade-plus. I have the original case and paperwork. As I am winding down my playing activities, I'm finding this may now be too much bass for me, I can demote myself to lesser instruments because this bass really deserves to be played more!

I have seen very few of these on the market - I don't know if that is a good or bad thing, so basically putting out feelers to this community to gauge a basic value as well as see if any of you are interested. Here are some pictures - any info is appreciated! Thanks - Bill.




billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 07:21:17 PM »
More pics

tbrannon

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 07:39:45 PM »
Wow that's gorgeous.

edwardofhuncote

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 03:38:28 AM »
And with Essence electronics too. Nice!  ;)

I wouldn't hazard a guess on pricing this one... it does have some premium wood options, and a couple custom features I see. I'd probably look around Reverb and eBay to see what people are asking, keeping in mind those are just asking prices.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 03:44:39 AM by edwardofhuncote »

alemboid

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 03:46:52 PM »
Well whaddya know....MY DREAM ORION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had the funds laying in wait for this. Interested to hear your asking price when you work it out.

rv_bass

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 05:18:22 PM »
Very nice bass.

billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 10:49:17 PM »
And with Essence electronics too. Nice!  ;)

I wouldn't hazard a guess on pricing this one... it does have some premium wood options, and a couple custom features I see. I'd probably look around Reverb and eBay to see what people are asking, keeping in mind those are just asking prices.

Yes, that's just my problem - I haven't seen one just like it on any site. I saw one pretty close a few years back for $5,500, but no idea if it actually sold for that.

frankfiveinc

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2017, 05:36:00 AM »
IMHO, I think you might be limited to the price the current market is yielding for used, (BUT GREAT CONDITION), 5-string Essence models that sold over the last year.  If I were selling that beautiful bass, I would start my research there and add some cushion for negotiation purposes.  I have a 5-string Spoiler in great condition with walnut top wood, 7-piece neck with maple/purple heart, and mahogany body and I've seen comparable units (although few) that sold in the +/- $2.5K range within the past few years.  I've seen few 5/6-string Essence models listed over $3K, especially if it a 5-string.  I have never seen one sell much more than around the mid-$3K range, but I could be wrong.  Your bass is an Essence in an Orion body, which is not a thru-neck that many will price higher than a set-neck, including Alembic itself by it's own classification descriptions.  As a Realtor, I'm applying a comparable market analysis thought process to your instrument.  Maybe some will refute my opinion, which every valuation method becomes across the spectrum - AN OPINION ONLY.  In the end, people will pay the reservation price pertaining to perceived value but most people are smart shoppers and won't over-pay unless they have "an overabundance of fun money" that doesn't matter to them (I don't know any of those people, i.e., a rare breed)  Even the wealthy are often the most frugal, which is probably why they are wealthy! :-)


Nonetheless, your bass is a real eye-catcher!! That coco bolo is beautiful and I would love to own it :-) but I have 2-basses now and would need to sell at least one of them if the purchase of your bass would be possible for me.  I think that the upper horn position of your bass will make it more centered on my body and be less of a stretch to the lower frets.  The shorter horn of the Spoiler and other Alembic models that have an upper horn position above the 15th fret or higher forces me to pull the bass to my right side to be more comfortable reaching lower frets.  Your bass and the other models I mentioned connect the strap around the 12-13th fret, which would be a better fit for my reach.  My Spoiler is a 32-inch scale and it is less comfortable to reach lower frets than my 5-string Ken Smith that is a 34-inch scale with a longer horn similar to your bass.


I have been looking at used, 5-string Essence, Rogue, & Europa's over the last year for that reason but the uptick in pricing of the used models I've seen, especially coming out of Japan, has been excessive and some basses have been listed for over a year on various auction websites because they are priced too high for their perceived value.

A few questions please:



What is the weight?
What is the string spacing at the bridge in millimeters?
Is there a difference in the tone range or attack relative to the set-neck?
Do you need to adjust the truss rods, nut, and bridge often or in different seasons because of humidity changes?
Do you experience neck-dive to any degree?
Do you have an opinion on the downside of lacking a Q-switch with Essence electronics?


Thanks so much for indulging my "long dissertation" and questions!!
Dan




billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 12:54:54 PM »
Hey Dan,

Thanks for all of the detail - TBH, I don't know that much about it myself - I don't even know what "Essence" electronics mean compared to the other options, and even after owning this bass for 12 years, these comments were the first I even knew that there are different electronics packages (I don't think I ever read that card until a few days ago).

I first saw this bass new in a display case at Guitar Showcase in San Jose, CA in February 2005. I was looking for a 5 string bass, but had no specific one in mind, just needed the lower notes for a particular studio session I was working on (at the time I was playing a '64 Fender P-Bass, though I had owned an Alembic in the past - an Exploiter I bought in the early '80s, which I bought from Tyran Porter of the Doobie Brothers - you can see me playing it in this 1984 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDD39BWxgx8

Anyhow, $3588 later, I had the bass, and it just turned heads in look and sound. I had to give up the '64 P because I kept getting confused switching back and forth (first note of a song could be quite embarrassing if I wasn't paying attention!), and it just sounded so good on everything, I only needed the one bass for the next 12 years. That should help with the answer to the "downside of a Q-Switch" question. Basically, my ignorance about my own bass comes from never shopping the options - I took it out of the display case, played it, and couldn't imagine anything better!  ;D

The reason I am (thinking about) selling it? I'm just not playing that much anymore. I have had a great career in music as a recording engineer/producer, got the Grammys and Platinum records, and after long days of that, much of the time the last thing I want to do is more music (sad as that sounds, but it's not - I am very musically fulfilled, working around the world, with mostly A Cappella groups - another reason I can't whip out my bass and join in!)

Weight is 10 pounds, on the dot.

Measuring from string center on the bridge, 17.5mm

I don't understand the question about tone range relative to set neck... ???

I never adjust anything, but I also live in California, so there isn't a lot of weather change.

Neck dive - not in any practical sense - it is enough to lightly pull on the strap, maybe, but if I let go completely it still says put.


billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 01:05:08 PM »
BTW, I did find one very close to mine in specs - the main difference I can see is that mine has an ebony fretboard, and oval fret markers.

http://romanguitars.com/v/alembic-orion-5-string-bass/P547

adriaan

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2017, 01:41:33 PM »
I was not aware Ed Roman's business was still going?

billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2017, 01:49:37 PM »
I have no idea how old that web page might be, I've never heard of Ed Roman myself.

frankfiveinc

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2017, 02:05:58 PM »
Hi Bill! 


The video was great and the Exploiter sounded great as well!  I don't remember that song and I was 25 in '84, but I liked it a lot!  I was going to many Dead shows from '77 through '95, so maybe I was just listening to different radio stations at that time :-)
 
Congratulations on the Emmy - I think you're the first person I talked to who can lay claim to that achievement!  I found your website and FB page as well - you're quite an accomplished guy!


I play my '86 Alembic Spoiler in church and use a pick also - hence the question about string spacing.  My Spoiler has about 16-17 mm spacing at the bridge, so it is better for playing with a pick.  My Smith bass is at 18 mm and I typically play that one with fingers only.


The tone-range question was worded poorly, sorry! - I guess I was trying to learn if the set neck makes a difference in tone when compared to other thru-neck models, which is how an Essence bass is built.


I clicked on the link you provided to the comparable Orion.  I wonder how long it has been for sale at that price?  I would be surprised if it sold without a healthy discount because I routinely find Series I and other used high-end Alembic models selling at that price range and lower over the last couple years.  There has been some appreciation and basses offered for sale in Japan that have been hyper-inflated but they aren't selling at those price points, as far as I can tell.  If I were going to pay that much for an high-end model, I would have to consider a used Europa or Rogue, which have more options in their electronics package.


I would need to unload at least one of my basses if your bass is priced in the used 5-string Essence range.  If it's priced close to that comparable, I wouldn't be able to justify the purchase for that model.


Either way, good luck with the sale and your spectacular career that seems to be very rewarding!


All the best...
Dan

billhare

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2017, 02:27:48 PM »
Thanks, Dan! Yeah, you probably wouldn't have heard that song unless you were in the San Francisco Bay Area for that 3-week period we were on the radio...  ::) We were one of the many "almost there" bands, opening for bigger names of the time (The Tubes, Tommy Tutone, The Beat, The Call, etc). Our keyboard player was offered a contract with Eddie and the Tide (who you MAY have heard of, they were the next step up, signed to Atlantic), and that was it for our band (we were almost ready to call it quits anyway).

I use both fingers and a pick. I was educated in Jazz, so a pick in that context is almost unheard of, but I also was mentored by the great Carol Kaye, and studio session work was my main gig back in those days, so I had to be able to wear as many hats as possible.

As far as the neck making a difference in tone, I have absolutely no idea, since I ever had a direct comparison. All I know is that the bass sounds awesome, and I get a lot of comments on the tone of it.  :)

And yeah, as I said in my original post, I have absolutely no idea of the market, since I have had trouble finding any comparables, and these last 12 years I've been blissfully happy with the bass - so no reason to look. The few I did see were in the $5,000+ range, which surprised me, though I don't know if any sold for that. Not knowing the particulars of what might make my bass more or less desirable let me to this site, so I could ask all of you! :-)

And it's not so much about the money - I don't need to squeeze every penny I can out of this, I just think this bass needs to be played more than I am doing, and want to give smeone a god deal who will appreciated he instrument like I have - but I need to inform myself a bit more first, it appears...  :o




hammer

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Re: 2003 Alembic Orion 5 Cocobolo For Sale (maybe)
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2017, 02:53:45 PM »
Bill

A very, very nice bass.  You've got a few things going for you in trying to sell it.  (1) It's unusual...one doesn't often see the most expensive woods being used in the "lower" priced Alembics.  someone out there may just be dying for a Cocobolo Bass and not be able to afford the more expensive Signature, Signature deluxe, and Series models; (2) It's got Essence electronics which are an upgrade; (3) With what you paid for the bass, its not like your are going to be asking so much for it that you are going to price out 90% of potential buyers.  It would be a very nice addition for someone looking to get their first Alembic and certainly has that "WOW" factor with its woods.

As far as the downside, as others have indicated some people who are looking for Alembics are only searching for what they are known best for...thru neck basses.

One thing to think about which others have mentioned is that there are a lot of Alembics on E-bay and Reverb.  However, most of these have been there for a VERY LONG time.  I've seen used Essence and Orion basses that people have listed for in one case $5,000.  I paid less than that for both of my Series I basses and the most recent one is in pretty much pristine condition and done is a beautiful flame Koa.

My suggestion is similar to others in that I'd suggest looking at what various Alembics similar to your bass (Orion, Excel, Essence - taking in to consideration this is a thru neck) have actually sold, rather than been listed for.  Don't restrict yourself to looking at just E-bay and Reverb but check out Craigslist as well.

To give you an idea as to what prices interest people I purchased my first Alembic, a Distillate for $1,900, my used Signature bass for $3,300, a 6-string Europa for $3,000 and my Series basses for $3,600 and $4,000.  I have a custom Signature deluxe that I had made for me that I'll probably never sell because I'd just lose too much of what I paid for it.  Alembic basses purchased used retain almost all of their value if cared for well.  Alembics purchased new are like cars, once you drive them out of the showroom, well...you know what happens.

If you don't absolutely need to sell the bass, I'd also look at what's out there and available before you list.  Listing at the appropriate time (very few Alembic basses for sale or what's out there greatly overpriced) increases the likelihood that a reasonably priced bass will sell quickly.  To give you one idea as to the current situation, I've had my 6-string Europa up for sale for awhile now for $2,900 which is $100 less than what I paid for it and have had no takers.

Good luck with your sale though keep in mind that many people who sell Alembic basses at some point regret the fact that they did.