Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith I had never owned, or for that matter even touched an Alembic bass before, but when the opportunity came to finally order my "dream bass," after a bit of research the choice was clear to me. And from the moment I first contacted Susan about this project, I was absolutely convinced I had made the right choice.

When we talk to a future Alembic owner that has little or no experience with our instruments, we are sometimes a tad nervous. Will they like the choices they've made? Will we live up to their expectations? When someone takes a "Leap of Faith" and purchases a tricked out music machine on reputation alone, it is a humbling experience for us here at Alembic. Todd convinced us that he knew exactly what he wanted and he was also open to suggestions from Susan's experience to shape the specifications into a bass that would last a lifetime.

tailpiece Gold plated hardware is standard issue on a Series II bass, but Todd ordered something even a little more special on his bass. He loved the styling of the Bird of Prey tailpiece, and though we had another 5-string under construction, we hadn't yet finished a 5-string version. A smaller "leap of faith" but yet another detail where we had to ask Todd to trust us.
Truss rod cover With such a nice slab of wood on the face, it's hard to carve it up more than you absolutely need to, so it's no wonder that Todd selected a continuous wood truss rod cover. It works just like the regular brass cover, attached with two machine screws that feed into threaded metal inserts in the bass, but it's one of the small details that adds to the finished piece.
The wood for the covering of the truss rod cover is cut with a scroll saw before we laminate the body woods. We reserve this little piece then resaw and sand it to veneer thickness. Stacked with a total of 5 layers, the truss rod cover becomes a small piece of custom plywood. And even though you can't see it, the underside is also Buckeye Burl.
peghead peghead
Always the case with Buckeye Burl is the need to make veneers since it's much too fragile for any commercial supplier to produce. Plus, there's the added benefit that we can select a piece from the same slab of wood the body laminates originated, so we get a perfect match.
The back of the peghead shows the first glimpse of the neck laminations. We've added a single laminate of Ebony to the standard seven-piece Maple and Purpleheart recipe for a 5-string Series II. Thundering lows is a good start in describing the tone this combination imparts.

Wood Marble, bleu cheese, thundercloud, oil slick - these have all come up as descriptors of this wood while we were building this bass. No matter what you think it looks like, there's no denying that each piece of Buckeye Burl is unique.

backplate We selected the more highly figured piece of Buckeye Burl for the back laminate. With a bookmatch to center and continuous wood backplates, there is little to disrupt the viewer's enjoyment of this beautiful example of nature's artistry.
initials For the ultimate personal touch, Todd's initials were inlaid at the twelfth fret in white mother of pearl framed with an oval of sterling silver. After viewing a few different variations, Todd selected a design based on the fine typography of Mr. Jeremy Tankard.

Oval Black Tahitian mother of pearl ovals look stunning paired with the cool colors of the Buckeye Burl. This material is so hard to photograph, this is probably the best one we have in our files!
The shell is a smoky dark gray color, that flashes green and pink with varying angles of view.
Satin neck At the junction of the heel of the neck and the back of the body, the carver scuplts the shape so the forms flow seamlessly into one another. It's truly a work of art.
While the bass has a high-gloss polyester finish, the neck gets its final rubout treatment to a satin lustre. This super-fine sanding makes the neck feel lightning fast and smooth. On this bookmatch to center back, the satin neck ends exactly at the joint to the body.

LEDs When I had mentioned to Susan that I always use a wireless when I play live and was a bit disappointed that I'd have to forego that for the power supply cable for the LEDs (a tradeoff I would have been more than willing to make, if need be) she told me that they would likely be able to come up with something where that would not be the case. And as with everything else with regards to this bass, they did not disappoint!
The blue LEDs are lower voltage than the traditional red, so at first we were going to add a second supply of three batteries to fuel them. As we started to fit the batteries under the cover for the preamp card, Todd told us something that got us really excited. He was perfectly willing to change the two 9 Volt batteries for every show. We could use the existing batteries in the bass for everything.
Usually the onboard batteries give a Series II 20-30 hours of playing time. Adding the LEDs to the same battery supply as the electronics made the predicted battery life about half (confirmed in the field by Todd), but also gave Todd the freedom he wanted, without toting around another three batteries for the privelege.

Logo The inlaid logo is buffed bronze, with mother of pearl and beautiful blue-hued paua abalone shell. The rays are mixed paua and red abalone shell. The inlay is below the surface of the finish, and is like a beautiful jewel atop the crown peghead.
Every time I take the bass out of its case for a gig, it's an event. Like I said, I'd never seen an Alembic before and judging from the reaction it gets, most of the other folks around here haven't either. As someone once told me in one of the posts in my Factory to Customer thread "super-models always draw a lot of attention" and he was absolutely right. The tone is so special, and with the versatility of the Series II electronics I'm sure I'll be tweaking away and learning the nuances of the system for a while yet to come.
Each step of the way, Todd was a dream to work with. His positive attitude and his faith in our abilities made this build exciting for everyone here at Alembic. We only wish we had a recording of his voice the day he called to tell us the bass arrived - pure joy!

Front Back


  • Series II 5-string bass
  • Buckeye Burl top and back, bookmatched to center
  • Mahogany body
  • Purpleheart and Maple accent laminates
  • Maple, Purpleheart and Ebony through body neck
  • Custom initial inlay at 12th fret
  • Ebony fingerboard with black Tahitian mother of pearl inlays and blue side LEDs
  • Continuous wood backplates and truss rod cover
  • Gold plated hardware
  • Bird of Prey tailpiece shape
  • Sold by:
    Bass Central
    181 Oxford Road, Suite 107
    Fern Park, Florida 32730
    407-628-1213 or 866-802-2277
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