Grand Master

Grand Master Bass "And there was once light," Pierre wrote to us when he received his custom bass. "The object of my dreams is here, and it is stunning. You've made it all completely right, and the sound that comes out is deep, powerful, like nothing I've played before. The inlays make it just extraordinary; a reference to my father's Maltese origins... gives it a Maltese Templar Knight look that I really adore!" Each of the orders of the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller was headed by a Grand Master. Since Pierre's bass is the most custom Brown Bass, it's a fitting title.
"I never thought I'd be the lucky owner of such a beautifully crafted object. I first saw the shape on Stanley Clarke's album If This Bass Could Only Talk, and I thought it was a Photoshop thing, that such a bass didn't really exist (obviously I had never seen one in a shop). 10 years later, the theme pops up in a conversation I have with a bassist friend, and he confirms that the bass exists, that it is magically crafted by Alembic in the US. The rest is history..."

Maltese cross inlay Each of the eleven Maltese cross inlays consist of four separate pieces of mother of pearl. Individual inlays are scaled to match the size available in the position marker, so the one up at the 24th fret is quite tiny. That actually makes it even harder to inlay! Geometric designs are especially unforgiving, as most people can detect even two thousandths of an inch variation.
Continuous Wood Backplate The continuous wood backplates not only look fabulous, but serve to keep the weight down compared to the standard issue brass plates. "Continuous wood" refers to the grain of the back laminate continuing over the plate. We cut the plate out before the body is glued together. This little reserved piece of wood can later be transformed into the electronics cover. Note how the grain and figure flows seamlessly over the cut line. We only make it look easy, but there are scores of individual steps involved in the making of just these little plates.

peghead peghead
The top wood on Pierre's bass has such special color zoning and figure, that we had to make the peghead veneers from the same woods as the body laminates. Yes, we know it's easier to just use commercially available veneer, but you can't approach this kind of a match if you take the easy route.

Wood And speaking of the top wood... WOW. With fantastic alternating colors, and a strong flame figure that stands on its own even under an oil finish, this wood is simply breathtaking.

Sandwich The main body wood is Myrtle on the Brown Bass. This is an especially nice piece that exhibits burl clusters. These are not defects, on the contrary, they are a part of the natural beauty of the wood.
There are no accent laminates in this construction, just like the original Series I basses and guitars.
Tailpiece As an almost unnoticed feature, the brass hardware has all been plated with 24 karat gold. After we set up the bass, each piece of the bridge, tailpiece and nut are disassembled and individually hand buffed to an absolutely glorious shine. We then send these parts to our gold plater.
When we get the hardware back we can do the final setup and never worry about tarnishing, as even the slots in the bridge saddles and string nut are gold plated.
"I can't stress enough how great this bass is - I'm falling for it more and more everyday. I can't wait to get back home after work to play. I don't know how you do what you do, but the fact is I've never until now had an instrument in my hands that allies esthetics and performance so well."
Everyone here at Alembic fell for your bass too! We appreciated your confidence in our abilities, and enjoyed very much making this dream a reality for you.

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  • Brown Bass
  • Walnut top and back
  • Myrtle body
  • Mahogany, Birch and Walnut through body neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Custom Maltese Cross inlays in mother of pearl
  • Red side LEDs
  • Continuous wood backplates
  • Gold plated hardware
  • Oil finish
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2008 Alembic, Inc.

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