The first detail to decide on was the combination of woods. The design was to remain somewhat simple, so the intriguing shape
of the inlay would remain the focus. Contrast was paramount, and since Adam wanted the bass body made from Alder,
we suggested a short list of dark woods we thought would look best. For a few days Purpleheart was entertained as the
choice, but when a particularly special piece of Superb Flame Walnut was cut into a bookmatch, the choice was clear.
Next, we needed to design the shape of the inlay. Adam wanted us to keep the general feel of the example he saw in the brochure, but left the specific shape up to us. Kris, Susan and Mica worked on several versions of the shape, considering the postions of the pickups and hardware to create a balanced design.
With such an unusually colored and figured top, Chip decided to make the front and back veneers for the
peghead from the same piece of wood as the top. To do this, he cuts a thin sheet on the bandsaw, then sands
the sheet to the final thickness on our Timesaver abrasive planer.
Recalling the design was based on our early endeavors, Adam requested we omit the script under the classic Alembic insignia. To reinforce the retro look, chrome finish tuners were a must. The satin finish is also a feature from the days before we owned a buffing wheel.
The bird tailpiece complements the scalloped shape of the inay, while the polished brass
finish keeps the whole look understated.
We really had a lot of fun with Adam's neck requirements: he only asked we include Walnut, Maple and Purpleheart, and left the final arrangement to our discretion. Our shop responds well to such freedom of expression, as evidenced by the gorgeous neck laminate arrangement that Kris designed.
The main wood is Walnut which form the outside pair of the neck. The next set is the Maple pair. At the
center a Maple veneer is framed by Purpleheart. Adam requested the bass have a deeper, bassier tone than his Zebrawood
Stanley Clarke model, so we naturally suggested Walnut for the main neck component. The choice of neck wood is one
of the most signficant ways to affect the wood tone of an Alembic bass.
Thanks Adam for asking us to build this wonderful instrument and for giving us the freedom to react to the project as it developed.
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