February 2003

Heart in Sonoma

It has been many years since a young man still in high school came to the Alembic factory for a tour, then located on Foley Street on the north side of Santa Rosa. He wrote in the guest book, "one day I will own one of these." Patrick grew up in Glen Ellen amidst the vineyards and hills of Sonoma he loved so well. He never forgot his "roots" and how much he loved the Alembic bass and his dream was to incorporate both of these into one instrument.
Along the road to this bass, Patrick ordered three other Alembic basses. And though they didn't quite have the magic combination he was searching for, these instruments were pivotal in arriving at this final design. He learned what he wanted in his ultimate instrument, this month's featured custom Heart in Sonoma.
elbow carving His first decision was to go medium scale for the reduction of size and weight while still keeping the traditional Alembic look. Susan suggested he go with the 3/4 body and add some tummy and elbow shaping. Since this is a hollow core construction instrument there were limits as to how far we could carve these contours. This was an important change since Patrick likes to play seated quite a lot of the time and we were going for comfort.
heart omega carving There was never a doubt that this instrument had to have a heart omega on it since it was going to be the reminder of his love of basses and Sonoma County. The brillant purple laminates in the neck accentuate this feature.
peghead Patrick having had Coco Bolo on previous instruments and being an avid member on the Alembic Club has seen some nice wood in his time and had very specific requirements for the Heart in Sonoma. It had to be of straighter grain with fairly high contrast. He made the selection at the Club.
12th fret inlay Pat really liked the grape cluster on the 25th Anniversary Sterling bass and wanted to have it represented on the 12th and 24th frets. Although he didn't order it this way, we decided to surprise him. We had some very tiny faceted amythests Susan thought would look nice as accents on the grape clusters. They add a little sparkle when the light hits them that resemble dew drops on the morning vines. Jonathon did a great job on the inlays, in choice of abalone for the leaves with their tight flame and in the tiny circles of purpleheart for the individual grapes finishing it off with small silver tendrils.
24th fret inlay
3rd fret inlay Ever since he saw these on a previous featured custom, Pat knew he wanted these on one of his basses. There was much discussion whether to do these in abalone or mother of Pearl. The decision was made in favor of mother of pearl so as not to compete with the grape clusters.
knobs When doing the knob caps we managed to get them out of the same ripple figure abalone pieces as used in the grape cluster leaves. Just one more way to make the design of the instrument as a whole - lyrical with no one part competing with another.

Wood detail Knob detail Inlay detail Backplate detail Inlay detail Inlaid logo
Wood detail Knob detail Fingerboard Backplate F Clef Inlaid logo

Front Back


  • 4-string Signature Deluxe
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Mother of Pearl F-clefs inlays
  • Purpleheart, amethyst, silver and abalone grape cluster inlays
  • Coco Bolo top and back
  • Continuous Wood backplates
  • Side LEDs in red
  • 7-piece Maple and Purpleheart neck
  • Inlaid logo with shell
  • Abalone capped knobs

Price available on request.

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