crossroads Oscar came to Alembic to build his dream instrument, since what he wanted wasn't exactly an off-the-shelf item. It's sort of one part bass, one part guitar, and perhaps something else completely. Crossroads was ordered as a "6-string piccolo bass" and while that's mostly accurate, I sometimes catch myself calling it a guitar.
When we organized the first details of this instrument, the scale length was clearly the focal point, and the other features started naturally to fall in to place. Oscar knew he wanted a Coco Bolo top and back, and at first he considered a smooth Darling shape. After reviewing that idea, he decided on the Omega carving.
Oscar really wanted the look of the dummy humcanceller pickup. Strictly decorative in this case, when it came time to route, it was clear that the standard arrangement would leave too little room between pickups with this scale length. Faced with the choice of eliminating the central routing or reducing the space between the bass pickup and the end of the fingerboard, Oscar chose the latter, and we could proceed with routing and carving. Moving the bass pickup toward the fingerboard also makes the tone from that pickup, for lack of a better word, "bassier."
Abalone inlay Abalone oval inlays are like jewelry on this bass, with the cool blues and greens playing off the warm wood colors of the bass.
Coco Bolo Detail Our love of Coco Bolo is no secret. It is a true Rosewood, and its color and grain are always exciting. It's almost always something we spray clear polyester finish over, as it protects the wood and intensifies its natural qualities. But that isn't always what the customer wants to do. Oscar wanted to have a more understated look to the wood, and liked the feel of the oil finish.
There's a little more maintenance with an oil finish, and you must be mindful since there is very little protection from scrapes or dings.
wood up close Since we've only done an oil finish on a handful of Coco Bolo instruments, it's a feature that deserves a closeup view. There's still some texture left in the larger pores of the wood, and the contrast isn't as vivid.
Our earliest instruments were all oil finished, before we installed a spray booth. On our current line-up, only the Brown Bass is offered with a standard oil finish, on everything else, it's a custom option.
peghead peghead
We had to design a new version of the Crown peghead shape to fit the width of the nut and to make sense with the overall size of the bass. Front and back veneers are Coco Bolo, with interior veneers in Maple and Walnut.

Neck Laminates Classic Alembic neck recipe based on primary woods of Maple and Purpleheart. We added a central laminate of Ebony with thin Maple veneers on either side for a little flair. With .090-.013 strings, the Ebony central laminate keeps the bass tones solidly grounded, and the Maple lends plenty of brightness to the highest notes.
Tuning as either tenor or piccolo, Oscar tells us, "This instrument has given me the opportunity to play any style of music from classical to jazz or bass to guitar. Thanks again for helping to make this possible." We have to thank you, Oscar, for trusting in us to build your dream instrument. Your faith gave us the confidence to make this delightful creation, and we hope to hear some of your music in the near future.

Front Back


  • Signature Deluxe 6-string bass
  • Coco Bolo top and back
  • Mahogany body core
  • Maple, Ebony and Purpleheart neck
  • 29" Extra short scale
  • Darling body shape with Omega carving
  • Ebony fingerboard with tulip tip
  • Abalone oval inlays
  • Handrubbed oil finish
  • Polished brass hardware
  • Decorative humcanceller pickup
  • Signature electronics with added bass and treble controls
  • Sold by: Atlanta Bass Gallery
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Text and photos of guitar by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2011 Alembic, Inc.

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