Care and Adjustment of Your Alembic BassYour Alembic bass has been made with the highest degree of craftsmanship in the art of instrument building. While we have done everything possible to create a bass that reflects these values when you receive it, there are a few things you can do to preserve this quality and ensure a lifetime of enjoyment from your instrument.
Springless Pickup Height AdjustmentThe pickup height is governed by four screws, two upper and two lower. The lower screws set the height of the pickup and the upper screws keep the pickup from falling out. There are no springs in our pickup mounting system.
Some advantages to the springless system are that if you need to remove and reinstall the pickup, the replacement pickup will drop in at exactly the same height as the original pickup. Also, when you remove the pickup, the springs in conventional mounting schemes tend to go flying out all over the place and can be hard to replace if lost. This type of pickup mounting is rigid and allows the edge of the pickup to be used as a thumbrest.
When you want to change the pickup height:
Brass Adjustable NutOur unique brass adjustable nut is featured on every Alembic guitar and bass. There are three adjustment screws on the string nut. The center screw locks the nut in place and must be loosened before attempting to raise or lower the nut. The two outer screws determine the height of the nut. The 5/64" hex driver supplied with your instrument is required to make these adjustments.
Here's how to do it properly:
The nut does not need to be adjusted equally on both sides. You may want the nut to slant in certain situations. For cleaning, see the brass care section of this document.
Fingerboard CareThe fingerboard of your bass is unfinished ebony. It will respond to changes in humidity and if not properly maintained, may need to be replaced due to excessive checking and cracking.
You will need to oil your fingerboard at least twice a year. We recommend using pure lemon oil (available at health food stores in the aromatherapy section), but any transparent lemon oil will do nicely. Avoid brands that are cloudy, their high wax content only leaves your fingerboard dirty and all that wax makes your strings go dead more quickly.
To oil you fingerboard you should:
Brass HardwareIf the brass parts of your bass are not plated, exposure to air, but mostly sweat, will cause these parts to tarnish. You can avoid most of this tarnish by simply wiping off the sweat from these parts after playing.
When tarnish does build up, you will need to use a metal polish, like Flitz brand, to restore the metal to its original luster.
Adjusting the Truss RodsMaintaining peak performance of your Alembic bass may from time to time require adjustment of the truss rods. This is especially true if you live in or travel to an area that experiences drastic changes in humidity.
You should learn how to adjust your truss rods because it is really a very simple procedure and you can always adjust it yourself in an emergency. However, if you are still uncomfortable, hire a qualified repair person to do the job for you.
First, you need to understand the terms "forward bow" and "back bow." When your bass has a back bow, the strings may rattle on the frets because there is very little clearance at the twelfth fret between the frets and the strings. A forward bow is the opposite, enough clearance so the strings don't buzz on the frets. Extreme forward or back bow needs to be corrected.
To adjust your truss rods:
Battery LifeYour bass was supplied with an Energizer or Duracell alkaline 9-volt battery. Most people only need to change it once a year.
Keep in mind that whenever your bass is plugged in, it's draining the battery. So if you're not using it - un-plug it and save money on batteries!
Finish CareAll finishes that we use can be cleaned safely with Alembic's Supreme Polish for Guitars. Simply spray the polish on the instrument and rub until the surface is free from polish. Then, take a second dry cloth and buff until the finish is brilliant.
We use a polyester finish for all of our high gloss coatings. The finish on the Epic, Orion and Rogue is a specially formulated polyurethane that is intended to have the appearance of an oil finish. It does not need to be oiled and should be cleaned with Alembic Supreme Polish for Guitars.
Should the finish on your bass become extensively damaged, refinishing is an option, and although while not cheap, our refinishing makes the instrument look new again.
The best care you can give the finish of the bass is to store it in a proper case when you're not using it.
KnobsThe knobs on your bass are a collet style. You cannot simply pull the knobs off. Doing so will literally rip the shafts right out of the pots.
To remove the knobs, you should:
If for cosmetic reasons you would like to change from the original knobs, you will need to get 1/4" shaft knobs. All the pots are fitted with plastic wave washers, so you can use either plastic or metal knobs without any concern about static electricity noise.
NOTE: Older models were supplied with set-screw knobs that require a 1/16" hex driver to remove. On models with a pickup selector switch or CVQ controls, a .050" hex driver is required.
Instrument FilesWe keep a permanent file on every bass we've ever made. It keeps a record of the woods we made it out of and any other special features. We also keep track of owners.
When you register your bass, the information goes in the instrument file. If you ever sell the instrument, simply have the new owner fill out a registration form. Owner information is strictly private.
Likewise, if the bass should be stolen, let us know. We don't sell any spare parts for instruments without serial numbers. We help people who recover their stolen basses all the time.
But the information is only as good as you make it. Please send us anything you want to keep in the instrument file clearly marked with the serial number.
What Next?Stumped? Confused? If you ever need help with you bass or have any questions, please feel free to call and ask! The Alembic Club (bulletin board) is a great resource to get in touch with other Alembic owners.
You can also plan to visit our factory when you're in the San Francisco area. We are located one hour north of San Francisco. Factory tours are free of charge and no appointment is required for 11:00 am Wednesdays. Every visitor to the factory receives a special gift.
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