In 1973, after about four years of successful experimentation with low-impedance pickups, active electronics, and custom instrument design, Ron and Susan Wickersham launched Alembic’s standard line of high-end instruments. Thanks in part to a rather large hole in the high-end bass market, and some star bassists—Return to Forever’s Stanley Clarke and Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady—purchasing their instruments, Alembic quickly became known for their incredibly versatile and unique basses. Sporting high quality woods, neck-through bodies, brass hardware, silent single-coil-style pickups, and active electronics, the handmade instruments were comparatively quite expensive to other products at the time. Demand was high for the Series I and II instruments, but their cost—starting around $5000—was slightly prohibitive for many players at the time.

The Spoiler bass, like the one featured here, was one of the many instruments released throughout the ’80s to shave off the price of Alembic’s top models. Still a high-end bass in its own right with little change in the build process, the Spoilers, initially released in 1981, featured simplified electronics—a four-way pickup selector, master volume and master tone/filter, and a mini-toggle to activate the active low-pass filter. Sporting a very common 32" scale length and ebony fingerboard, this Spoiler shows a mahogany top with a decent amount of finish wear in the right hand playing position, but is otherwise in great shape.

Thanks to Chuck Riley at Rumble Seat Music for listing this bass on Gear Search. Whether you’re looking for a vintage piece or the latest on the market, there’s a great chance you’ll find it at Gear Search. More than 47,000 pieces of gear are listed, including some of the rarest gear in the world.