Dragonfly As Charles explains, "One of the motivating themes behind this bass is contradiction, since the dragonfly itself is such a dichotomous creature. It is delicate, graceful, and beautiful, but it is the most fearsome and powerful of insect predators. Also, it is an incredibly ancient species, but only lives a few months once it starts flying. I wanted this bass to be sort of low-contrast and unassuming (well, for a Series II, anyway) from the front, but eyeball-poppin' from the back."
The material choices were guided to keep the visual theme of contrasts, but the decisions were based on the sonic properties of the woods. Since Charles wanted a very full-sounding bass, with large but distinct low end response, Ebony neck laminates were a natural winner. Using Mahogany for the main neck pair yields the rich bass tones, and keeps over-bright sounds at bay.
One of the decorative features Charles requested was a smaller carved point on the bottom of the body shape. We had much discussion about the details of the little point, and decided to carve in stages. The first version preserved a V-shaped bit of figuring in the Spalted Maple, but was too large for Charles' taste. So we carved the point down a bit more, and the second version met with Charles' approval.
Coco Bolo We found a great piece of low-contrast Coco Bolo for the top laminate of the Dragonfly. It's a rich, deep red-orange color with closely-spaced angular chocolate hued grain lines. Up close, the details emerge, and from a distance, the form of the body dominates.
Continuous wood backplate Continuous wood backplates are standard issue on a Series II bass. Especially with difficult to work with woods, there's a chance for failure in construction. The Spalted Maple is fairly soft, and the fit on these plates wasn't as tight as we aim for. Usually, we then bind the plate in a contrasting wood to gain a better fit. Charles elected to skip the binding to not interrupt the forking branches in the Spalted figure.
To make the plate, Bob first maps out the location on the back before it's glued to the rest of the body. Then he uses a scroll saw to cut the plate away. Next, we transform this piece of wood into at least 2 veneers. These will form the inside and outside layers of a five-ply sandwich.
Truss rod cover A relatively new option, the continuous wood truss rod cover is making its way into many custom builds lately. This is made similarly to the backplates, but instead of using a scroll saw to cut the material out, we reserve the next adjacent "slice" of the wood to make the inner and outer plies.
peghead peghead
To match the front of the peghead to the front of the body, we made our own veneer from the same piece of wood used on the top of the body. Likewise for the back, making the decorative veneer was necessary for the best possible match.
The dragonfly inlay on the back of the peghead has an abalone body with white and black mother of pearl wings. The eyes are peridot. When reviewing the artwork for the inlay, Charles asked us to emphasize the natural omeaga shape at the base of the wings, as a nod to the classic Alembic Omega body shape.
neck laminations The neck is rubbed out to a fine satin finish that is extremely smooth and fast to the touch. The rest of the bass is buffed and polished to a high gloss to show the details of the wood best.
Blackened Brass Blackened brass hardware is very nearly black. The setup is completed before the parts are sent to the plating house, so even the slots in bridge saddles and string nut are coated. The color of the hardware is a perfect match for the dark-themed front.

inlays Black Tahitian mother of pearl inlays in the Ebony fingerboard realize the low-contrast theme for the front of the bass. From varying angles, the smoky dark color of the shell flashes with pink and green opalescence.
logo To finish the front, the crowning inlay of the logo with shell is backed with abalone and more black Tahitian mother of pearl, completing the dark countenance.
"After 3 months of steady playing, the Dragonfly is just amazing. I don't miss the 3 band EQ at all...I can get whatever I need from just the selector and volume knobs. I just picked up an F2B so I could run it in stereo, and WOW!"
We're so happy you're pleased with your Dragonfly bass, Charles. It sounded and played so nicely, we miss having around the shop! It was a great pleasure to work with you on this project.
Front Back


  • Series II 5-string bass
  • Coco Bolo top
  • Spalted Maple back
  • Mahogany, Ebony, Purpleheart, and Flame Maple neck
  • Vermilion and Ebony accent laminates
  • Mahogany core
  • Continuous wood backplates and truss rod cover
  • Gotoh tuning keys
  • Blackened brass hardware
  • Series II electronics with pickup selector on lower horn, stereo/mono switch and LED dimmer control
  • Black Tahitian mother of pearl inlays
  • Dragonfly inlay on back of peghead
  • Inlaid sterling silver logo with black Tahitian mother of pearl and abalone
  • Sold by:
    Bass Central
    181 Oxford Road, Suite 107
    Fern Park, Florida 32730
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2007 Alembic, Inc.
Original artwork © 2007 Susan L. Wickersham

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