I chose this bass after buying a used Alembic Spoiler Exploiter. John Entwistle is one of my bass heroes, and when I found out Alembic was making the Spyder, I just had to have one. It would be difficult for me to buy another as they are only making 50 of them, but I would attempt to find one nonetheless in the event this one was stolen or lost.
Best aspect of the Spyder is the build quality and uniqueness of it. The "wow" factor when you take it out of the case is worth the price of admission if you ask me. Eyes just pop out of sockets wherever I take it. Also, Alembic quality is the finest in the world, IMHO. They cost a lot, but they're worth every penny.
Worst aspect is the weight and length of the neck. I bought a wide Alembic Strap (made by Moody), and that helps distribute the weight immeasurably. Neck is long, long, long, with an equally long and large case to match. If I could improve it, it would be to lighten it up and move the neck closer to the bridge. I'd also have them make a cone headstock, not a V headstock. I actually know someone who had his sheared off by his Roger Daltrey-esque microphone swinging singer. No wonder - the headstock itself is at least 8-10 inches long. Makes an even larger instrument bigger.
Model Year: 2003
Price: $0.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Bass Central
Made in Santa Rosa, CA. Walnut core, flame maple top and back, maple and purpleheart neck, vermilion peghead laminates, sterling silver logo. Sterling silver spider webs inlaid into top and bottom points of bass. Individual brass tailpieces, brass sutain block, brass bridge, adjustable brass nut. Natural finish, Explorer type body, gold schaller tuners. 24 frets, Anniversary electronics (similar to Series I), two volume, two low pass filters, two two-position Q switches, rotary pickup selector, red side LEDs, mono output, gold Schaller strap locks.
This instrument is BIG. I mean LARGE. The neck is extremely long - this is probably due to the body and where the neck joins it. I find myself almost fully extending my left arm to reach the first fret. Fingerboard is wider than I'm used to, and it makes the low F on the E string hard to reach. Other than that, all other frets are effortless to reach. It plays perfectly, though. Action is just how I like it (fairly low), and it is very responsive. Not good for popping and slapping - neck pickup is too close to end of fretboard, so slapping and popping is a bit of a chore. However, I didn't buy it for that style, so for me it's not an issue. Neck is a bit bigger radius wise than I prefer, but it doesn't affect my playing.
This bass is HEAVY. I found my shoulder hurting after about two hours of playing at a gig. And I had to angle it away from my body a bit, making it somewhat uncomfortable to play standing up. Eventually, I got used to it though.
I use an Ampeg SVTIV Pro, an Alembic SF-2 Superfilter, and two Ampeg BXT series cabinets. This instrument, while tonally able to play anything, is best suited IMHO for Rock. It has a very bright sound, no doubt due to the Anniversary electronics. Compared to my other basses, it is much more "crispy" and trebly. And the body shape just screams rock 'n roll.
Like all modern Alembics, it is noise free. I feel it would be equally at home on stage or in the studio, though due to it's weight and size some might find it a bit uncomfortable after a while.
Haven't used it steadily in a live situation, so I can't comment as to durability in that respect. I've only had to adjust the truss rods once - when I put light gauge DRs on it. It's held up fine since. Hardware is extremely high quality, and I've had no problems with it. Haven't put it through climate changes, so I can't comment on it.