Purple Hippie Eater

Well-known as a equipment rental source and all-around gear guru in New York, Artie Smith already had several Alembic basses and guitars in his collection including a Tribute guitar. When he ordered Grape Jam, it started out as a Tribute, but Artie quickly discovered that while he loved the distinctive shape, he needed to go all out custom. A few tweaks to the spec list, and the custom build journey began.
As soon as Grape Jam arrived at Artie's, he immediately took it to Jimmy Vivino, guitarist for the Max Weinburg 7. Before she was even a week old, Grape was making her TV debut on the Conan O'Brien show.
Affectionately known by Artie as the "one eyed, three pickup flying purple hippie eater" or "PHE," Grape Jam has been wowing both Artie and his clients for over a year now.

neck laminations Along with grape jam is the requisite peanut butter. A pleasant surprise on this guitar is the Mahogany and Purpleheart set neck. When we use Mahogany as the main neck component, the tone is nice and warm with rich, deep lows. Adding stringers of a more dense wood like Purpleheart shores up the highs without making an overly bright tone. This combination's result is a balanced sound that leans to mellow.
For a more enjoyable ride, we finished the back of the neck with a satin feel.
peghead peghead
Artie wanted a slender peghead for his purple guitar, and so we developed this shape for him. It's just about as small as we can make it with a logo at the tip. Doesn't it look like the shape echoes that of the logo?
On the back of the peghead one of two places we've used Maple is evident. It's also easy to identify the shiny gloss rubout on the back of the peghead compared to the satin lustre of the the neck.
Wood Purpleheart's main feature is, well, its purpleness. While it's a little hard to see in the photograph, this particular piece also has a mild flame figuring.
Here's the other place Maple shows up in this guitar as accent pinstripes alternating with Purpleheart.

Fingerboard It may not be the first thing you see, but the Purpleheart fingerboard leaves a lasting impression once it captures your attention.
Hey Alembic nerds: did you notice this guitar doesn't have the small 24th fret oval inlay? That's because there's only 22 frets - gotcha! Artie wanted us to place the neck pickup right where the truss rod cover would normally be on our 24 fret guitars. The result is a deeper bass tone from the neck pickup, as it's closer to the middle of the string.
sandwich A nice close-up view of the layers of Purpleheart and Maple from the side shows how the look is crisp, a credit to the natural contrast and exemplary glue joints.
Artie has updated us throughout the year with cheery phone calls to report on his PHE. He's also steered a few clients our way, for which we're thankful. After they get spoiled by Artie's Alembic collection, they need to start their own.
We were so inspired by Grape Jam that we developed a new model based on it, prototypes are currently in production. Until we decide on the name, we're calling them "Artie" guitars. Or maybe that's "GuitArtie!"

Front Back


  • Custom guitar
  • Purpleheart top with Maple and Purpleheart pinstripes
  • Purpleheart body
  • Mahogany and Purpleheart set neck
  • 25.5 inch long scale
  • Custom peghead shape
  • 22 fret Purpleheart fingerboard with mother of pearl inlays
  • Controls: volume, bass, treble, off/on/bright for each pickup, mono output
featured custom

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Text and Photographs of guitar © 2008 Alembic, Inc.

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