Koco Lee While we were building this instrument, you might hear, "whoa - is that the neck for the Kokopelli guitar?" around the shop or maybe, "the wood on the kokopelli guitar is amazing!" But "the Kokopelli guitar" is hardly a name. Michael referred to his guitar as Koco Lee in a conversation with Mica while they were reviewing updates to his Factory to Customer thread. She was thrilled the guitar had been named, and asked Michael to offer an explanation.
It is not often that I name one of my instruments. In fact, this is the first to have one. But, it just seemed fitting as I watched this creation develop. “Ko” is for the kokopellis on the fingerboard. I like to think that their notes will inspire me as I play. As I mentioned to Mica, I really wanted their notes to float towards me as if they were my muse. “co” is for the amazing pieces of Cocobolo that Mica picked out. Each inch of wood reveals unique detail, that to this day, just astounds me. “Lee” is for my wife who supported me through Koco Lee’s creation and who has always been supportive when I play around New York City. She is the only roadie I’ve ever kissed before going on stage.

There's lots of details to enjoy on this guitar. Don't forget to click on the pictures for even bigger views.

Kokopelli Kokopelli is sacred to many southwest Native American tribes, revered as a fertility god. He is almost always depicted with his flute - the music from which is said to mark the transition from winter to spring with its sweet song. Petroglyphs (rock carvings) of Kokopelli date back some 3000 years.
The first Kokopelli inlay serves as a third fret marker. He is made from golden and black mother of pearl. He is wearing abalone with a sash and armband of turquoise and silver. He dances in copper boots while playing an 18K gold flute adorned with a mother of pearl feather. Abalone notes from his flute trail to meet the second Kokopelli.
Kokopelli Inspired by the first Kokopelli, the second one continues the song. He is inlaid with the same materials, but with the addition of orange spiny oyster. His hair marks the twelfth fret.
Carfeul planning pays off. For custom fingerboard inlays, we prepare full scale drawings of the inlay artwork, making allowances for the frets that will eventually be in place. This assures that important details aren't lost under the frets, and that the placement of the frets relative to the artwork is not jarring.
In the course of compiling the details for this Featured Custom, we are very glad to share a small piece of work from one of our favorite artists, landscape photographer Alain Briot as the background for the wallpaper.
peghead peghead
Michael ordered the Omega peghead shape. It's a small detail scale-wise, but huge in the coolness factor. Carving and finishing this little omega is fairly challenging, but then again, we don't do anything the easy way around here.
We made the decorative veneers for the peghead from matching wood to the front and back of the guitar. Since the Quitled Coco Bolo is so expensive, you can imagine we never really consider any part of it "scrap" and just about any piece bigger than a splinter gets saved. We practically feel guilty sanding it.

Wood Michael didn't originally order Quilted Coco Bolo. This thought occured to him as we were laying out the cut lines for his guitar's top and back. We called it a "diversion," but the Quilted Coco Bolo idea stuck.
Coco Bolo occasionally exhibits a quilt here or there, but pieces that are wall-to-wall quilt like the top of Koco Lee are extremely rare. Our Coco Bolo supplier, who has been furnishing Coco Bolo to us for over twenty years and to others for longer than that, had never seen such a log. He called Susan by satellite phone from Mexico and told her, "I'm sending you the most beautifal and expensive piece of wood you've ever seen." Boy was he right!
There's enough wood left for us to make four or six bookmatches. Once these are gone, that's it.

backplate Continous wood backplates are a no-brainer when Quilted Coco Bolo is the palette. Carefully cut before the back laminate is glued in place, these reserved small pieces are then processed into mini masterpieces unto themselves. Stacked from five veneers, it's some of the most exotic "plywood" you'll see.
battery plate Even the battery plate, small as it is, gets the royal treatment. It's made in just the same way as the other larger plates. These plates are also sprayed at the same time and with the same finish as goes on the rest of the guitar.

logo The inlaid logo with mother of pearl and abalone is standard issue on Further guitars. Michael has us add the abalone rays to the inlay, they sure do complete the picture.
Every piece of shell is hand selected and hand cut for best appearance. This little work of art is then set just slightly below the surface and covered with the clear finish as the guitar goes through the spray department. It feels as flat in person as it does on your monitor - go ahead and touch it, you won't feel the logo.
notes inlay Kokopelli's notes trail off the fingerboard, onto the body and pour into Michael as he is playing, inspiring him. The notes are made from abalone and inlaid so that they are under the finish and smooth to the touch like the logo inlay.
It is hard to put into words how much I'm enjoying this instrument. I'm still blown away by the tone, the playability and the electronics, not to mention the absolutely amazing craftsmanship.
We can't express enough what pure joy it was to make this guitar and to work with you throughout the build. That you are enjoying Koco Lee, bringing her to life with your music, makes us miss her just a little bit less.

Front Back


  • Further guitar
  • Quilted Coco Bolo top and back
  • Flame Maple body core
  • Flame Maple, Vermilion and Cherry neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with custom Kokopelli inlays trailing onto body
  • Continuous wood backplates
  • Side LEDs
  • Further electronics with boost switch and no effects loop
  • Side mounted jack
  • Omega peghead shape
  • Inlaid logo with shell and rays
  • Sold by:
    Bass Central
    181 Oxford Road, Suite 107
    Fern Park, Florida 32730
    407-740-5619 or 866-802-2277
featured custom

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Text and Photographs of guitar © 2007 Alembic, Inc.
Antelope Swirls © Alain Briot, image used under license.
Original artwork © 2006 Susan L. Wickersham.

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