Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 108

Vintage Guitar
GEAR

BASS

HIGH
TIMES FOR
LOW-END
N

o segment in MI offers players the array
of form and function enjoyed by bassists
- from classic shapes to exotic woods, a variety
of specialized hardware, and choice of scale
lengths. Here, we offer an exclusive study of five
exemplary instruments.

Alembic Essence
Zebrawood 4

Price: $8,500 (base)
Info: www.alembic.com

Xotic ProVintage
5-String
Price: $1,390
Info: www.xotic.us

Alembic Essence Zebrawood 4
Alembic basses are the stuff of low-end legend, famed
for magical tones in the hands of Stanley Clarke, Jack
Casady, and John McVie, among others. The newer Essence
4 series is meant to capture that Alembic experience with
a body lighter than the company's hefty axes of the 1970s.
Like most Alembics, the Essence 4 body and neck are
made with exotic woods, neck-through construction,
and gorgeous laminate combos. Our test bass had a 34"
long-scale neck of walnut and maple stripes between
mahogany pieces topped with a 24-fret
ebony fingerboard and oval motherof-pearl inlays. The mahogany body
included maple/walnut accents and a
richly grained zebrawood top.
The famed active circuitry includes a
master Volume control and two proprietary MXY4 pickups selected via a seamless
Pan knob. The real star of the show is the
Filter control, which evokes a massive EQ
sweep, from that Alembic snap to a deep,
seamless roar, like the bass pedals on a pipe
organ. In the latter setting, the adjacent
Q switch gives the tone an 8dB boost for
added bottom. For even more fun, an on/
off switch activates an array of LEDs on the
side of the fingerboard, their brightness
controlled by a trim pot in the cavity
(another on the internal preamp card
controls overall gain).
As for playability, the legend is true;
this Alembic is as fast as anything
out there. Its smaller C-profile neck
is meant for speed and comfort. The
Essence also retains all the tonal magic
expected from an Alembic, particularly
in the upper range. There aren't many
basses that possess such a massive EQ span and

VINTAGE GUITAR

108

February 2018


http://www.alembic.com http://www.xotic.us

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2018

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 3
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 4
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 5
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 6
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 7
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 8
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 9
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Contents
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 12
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 13
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - IBC
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - BC
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