First things first. You need to have enough controls to allow the two
necks to be used to their potential, but not so much that navigating needs a chart. Originally, the bass was to have overall controls
with a switch between the necks. But we felt this was too limiting - you may want to favor the bass pickup on the fretless and the treble pickup
on the fretted neck. If you had to use a switch to toggle between the necks, then reset your tone and pan controls, it would really limit the
creativity that such a bass inspires.
Vermilion's subtle grain is showcased well under an oil finish. The orange-red color ages over time,
as do all woods, and will darken to a rich brick-red-brown hue. With an oil finish, this will happen faster than with a polyester finish, which has some small
protection against UV aging.
That's a lot of pegheads! On some previous doubleneck instruments, there was a
single Alembic logo either on one of the pegheads or on the body. Our thinking now is that there should be one logo for each peghead.
Vermilion front and back veneers coordinate perfectly with the body wood. Interior strengthening veneers are Maple and Walnut.
Our standard hardware, machined right here in our shop from solid brass. The bar shape tailpiece
is typical with the Rogue body shape.
Each neck has its own brass sustain block. This solid block of brass is recessed into the body and provides not only and anchor for the bridge, but added sustain by virtue of the density of the brass, which is about nine times that of the wood it displaces.
Since Frank uses a Series II as his main stage instrument, this doubleneck needed to
integrate in his rack with a 5-pin cable just like his trusty Series II. The most space efficient way to mount the two jacks is to have the 1/4" jack face-mounted
and the 5-pin jack side mounted.
The 5-pin output is stereo in the sense that there is one neck per channel. The 1/4" jack is wired in mono, so both necks are combined into a single mono signal. Frank told us the 1/4" jack won't see much use, that he hasn't used the "1/4 inch mono output not even 10 times in 20 years, I think. I don't even have the 9V-batteries in my Series II connected (but I have always some new batteries in my 'first-aid-box' in case of emergency...)"
This was a fun project to make, and we appreciated the freedom you granted us by trusting many of the details to our experience and judgment. There aren't many double neck Alembic instruments in the world, and we're glad to know you're taking good care of this one!
Text and photos of guitar by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2010 Alembic, Inc.
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