Seven String Thing

Seven String Thing When we emailed Pat and told him we wanted to write about his guitar for July, he replied, "Thanks so much for considering me as the Featured Custom! I've gotta say the guitar is completely unique and awe inspiring. The tone is dissimilar to all of my other guitars. The 'Strat' sounds are so quacky and it's just what I was looking for and is asthetically the nicest thing I've ever seen. The craftsmanship is outrageous!"
Pat supplied the neck dimensions from his favorite 6-string guitar for this custom. Even though the neck was wide for a 6-string, the string spacing would be slightly tight as 7-string, but the feel and grip of the neck would be seamless.
7-string nut You certainly need a custom 7-string nut for a Seven String Thing. We used smaller screws for the height adjustment since the string spacing Pat ordered would not allow the regular ones to be used. Never fear, James figured out just what was needed and tapped the string nut specially for this guitar.
7-string tailpiece You can't have a 7-string nut without a fabulous 7-string tailpiece and bridge. Bob calculated the string spacing at the bridge based on Pat's supplied measurements for the neck.
Note how the strings pull straight from the tailpiece over the bridge. Bob's done such a fine job maching the tailpiece, it almost doesn't look custom.
Neck woods With just one laminate of Ebony in the neck, Pat can enjoy the benefit of extended sustain, especially on the fundamental. This increased sustain is particularly important with the added low B string.
"The neck is so smooth and easy to play. Stays in tune perfectly and is asthetically the nicest thing I've ever seen!" This remark from Pat is in part due to the unique way we carve our necks. The fingerboard is not regarded as a separate entity from the neck. Rather, the neck "feel" extends all the way past the neck to the fingerboard. In fact, you can see the edge of the fingerboard when you look at the back of the neck.
omega carving To make this delicate carving, Peter first traces the shape from a template. Then, he cuts along the line with a small bandsaw. Next, routing the rounded edge, and finally to the business of carving the details. It's a long, detailed process that takes the touch of an artist.

Peghead Peghead back
We buy some veneer, and make some veneer. To make a veneer, you just need to slice the lumber really, really thin. So Dan does just that on the bandsaw. It's still a little thicker than we will use, so it's then sanded to the final size.
Notice that the peghead veneer on the front and back of Pat's peghead are successive slices. See how that little knot in the middle looks like it goes right through? Cool, huh?
We often use Walnut as the alternating interior veneer with Maple. Since there was no other Walnut in Pat's guitar, we decided that Purpleheart was better suited.
callouts This is my main jazz axe these days. You guys got me jonesin' for two more! I'd sure like a Series II Spectrum and a 2 Humbucker version of the same guitar I have now!"
When he specfied the electronics for the Seven String Thing, Pat was concerned about "the pickups sounding very sterile as I've heard with other actives - it's not the case. I think the sound is best described as natural and is an exact replica of the sound the strings make with no coloration. The low-pass filter is my favorite because it is so sensitive and a small turn makes a big difference."
Pat also asked for a specific control layout, with the volume control close enough to capture by his pinky finger. "I was excited about the volme control because there is no loss of highs or lows when you turn it down, it's just less volume! Considering it is a 7-string, the low B is no where near muddy."
accent laminates The accent laminate is Purpleheart, framed on either side with a pinstripe veneer of Maple for increased contrast. Across the elbow carving, the eighth-inch laminate spreads out nicely.
wood Coco Bolo is a wood you see a lot around Alembic. We just love the way it looks and the way it sounds. It's complex, with solid, rich lows supporting crystalline highs that are not brash. Pat told us, "I could instantly tell that the tone woods were perfectly selected to my specs by a group of people who really cared about me and my instrument. I can get acoustic like tones all the way to brash rock and that oh so elusive 'Jerry' tone!"
"I can't thank you guys enough for all you have done in providing me with the best quality guitar as well as hands down no contest the best quality people in the biz! I've never been treated in such a nice manner from a business as I have with the Wickersham family. I really loved the Factory to Customer link and seeing everyone's instruments progress. It was worth the wait."
We're so glad the Seven String Thing is living up to your expectations and we are looking forward to hearing some of your creativity with it.

Front Back


  • Little Darling 7-string guitar
  • Coco Bolo top
  • Omega carving detail
  • Ebony center neck laminate
  • No fingerboard inlays
  • SSH pickups
  • on/off for each pickup, volume, filter, Q-switch
  • Orion 4+3 peghead
Sold by: Bass Central
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2006 Alembic, Inc.

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