Remembering Kay

Kay "I have been linked to the Alembic family since my first purchase in 1983. Since then the Wickershams have enabled me to have wonderful instruments for my musical expression. I ordered my second Excel 5 with some less than standard features. During its construction my mother 'Kay' passed away from complications due to lung cancer. Mom was always a passionate lover of music who sang and was also an Irish step dancer in her youth. As a child I would listen with pride as she sang in the church during mass and hear her playing records around the house as she completed the housework. Kay loved Sarah Vaughn and other great jazz artists. My father is a Jazz and swing tenor and alto saxophonist who also imparted a talent and love of music to his children."
Kay inlay "Kay supported my musical aspirations for many years because she knew it was my passion and my dream. When she passed I called Mica and expressed my desire to honor my Mom with an inlay in my bass in production. The fantastic family came up with a unique font for the inlay. Now my Mom will always be with me on stage where I am at my most happy."
Susan usually starts the inlay artwork, but since Mica has a special interest in typography, she got to do the tweaking and final design work. She enlisted the assistance of the good folks at Typophile for suggestions. With their help, the distinctive letters took shape.
DT inlay "Alembic also faithfully created an inlay from Doomtree's logo. It is my initials with the "t" in the center. Some see it as a cross, some as a dagger, to me it is vibrant and unique. The red acrylic MOP was well worth the wait. It was specially created for Alembic and took a few tries before it met the Santa Rosa standard."
The red acrylic was custom cast for us. We've got plenty for more custom inalys since the minimum order is a three foot by six foot sheet of material. The standard color was sort of a tomato-soup color, and the first tries at the custom color were either too pink or orange. When we got the sample for the final shade of red, we knew we had exactly the right color.
Peghead Peghead Cone peghead shape is standard on the Excel bass. On basses with opaque painted finishes, the color covers every part except the fingerboard. As with our other set neck models, the back of the peghead has a carved volute for strength.
side LEDs Side LEDs in red. For someone like Danno, the LEDs are not a luxury. While performing, stage lighting can vary wildly. With his side LEDs, he can always find his way. Plus, the red color does not make your pupil react, so looking down at the neck, then back up to dim stage lights means no jarring change in vision.
Hardware The Excel bass comes with polished brass hardware that is made right in our shop. Half-moon shape tailpiece follows the bottom curve of the Excel body.
Since many of Danno's previous Alembics have Spoiler electronics, he requested the same in this bass. "I asked for Spoiler electronics to give me a feeling of continuity to match my other instruments."
The real Kay "Susan and Mica have presided over two other instruments that join 'Kay' in my Doomtree arsenal. This is the only company that would extend their talents and generosity to a customer in such an important and emotionally demanding time. Thank you Wickershams and the caring and talented craftsmen of Alembic for helping me remember Kay in such a unique way."

Daniel, it has been our pleasure to work with you through all these years. The news of your mother's departure touched us deeply, and we hope that the bass with the memorial inlay brings you cherished memories of a wonderful mother. Thank you very much for asking us to help make this important instrument.
Photo of Kay taken by Patrick Tracey after their engagement in 1953.
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  • Excel 5-string guitar
  • Flame Maple top
  • Custom "Kay" inlay
  • Custom "DT" inlay
  • Spoiler electronics
  • Side LEDs in red
  • Jet black finish
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2007 Alembic, Inc.
Original artwork © 2004 Mica W. Thomas

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