Liquid Dream

Liquid Dream Ted's path to Alembic started with The Who - he was really taken with John Entwistle's Series II bass tone in the early 1980s. As he dug deeper into music, discovering classic bands that were new to him, he kept finding that bass tone with Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. It was to be bass for Ted, and someday, his own custom Alembic bass.

Back in the early 1990s, Ted began to envision a beautiful instrument for himself, but it was more than just an instrument, it was a dream to live - a Liquid Dream in his mind's eye. Fast forward 20-plus years, when he could finally bring that dream to reality, and the name still rang true for him.

Susan worked closely with Ted on getting the details in order. He was particularly drawn to the shape of the Dragonsong guitar, and after browsing some of the custom inlays we have done, he came up with a collection of designs that reminded him not only of his spirituality, but also of his adventures at many a Dead show. These are the inspirations he carries in his music.

Liquid Dream Nameplate The Liquid Dream nameplate is handcut from a large slab of mother of pearl. We selected a piece of shell with vibrant colors, that dance and flash with even the smallest change in viewing angle. These varying colors allude to the pools of LSD in his hand that inspired the name of this guitar.
The end of the fingerboard has a little carved detail known around the shop a a "tulip tip" and is a graceful paring with the body shape. This feature is more common on our guitars than basses.
Simple Stealie Inlay Inlaid in custom cast red and blue acrylic with a white mother of pearl lightning bolt all wrapped up in a sterling silver ring, this simple shape is not only a homage to the Grateful Dead, but also meant to remind him of a yin yang symbol.
To go along the spiritual thread, the Om symbol is inlaid at the 9th fret in black Tahitian mother of pearl.
Leaf inlay Spanning the eleventh to twelfth frets is a Sativa fan leaf in abalone. There's a matching one up at the third fret as well.
The silver bound abalone oval inlays fill the higher fret positions, and are like liquid drops themselves cascading to the nameplate at the 24th fret.
hardware Gold plated hardware gleams on Liquid Dream. Being just a bit obsessive about things (who us?), we set the bass up completely, then disassemble the hardware, painstakingly polish each piece and carefully package to send to our plating specialist. This means that even the slots for the strings in the bridge saddles and string nut get plated, and there is no place for corrosion to start. It does mean two set ups, but we think it's totally worth it.
peghead peghead
Inspired by Phil Lesh's Osage Orange bass, this handcut logo is inlaid under the finish. There's more of the custom cast acrylic for the red and blue, and we've added a healthy dose of abalone along with two types of mother of pearl with a dash of sterling silver to make this the crown jewel of this bass.

Another fan leaf graces the back of the peghead in abalone. The veneers on the front and back of the peghead match the front and back of the bass in Coco Bolo and Curly Redwood. The edges of the peghead are bevelled on both the front and the back.

LEDs Red side LEDs with amber at the 12th and 24th frets. Each LED is wrapped in sterling silver so that if you turn them off, you can still see the position marker. This is one of those features that might seem like you don't need, but once you find yourself on a dimly lit stage, you will wonder how you ever played without them.
Combo Logo Another look at the logo inlay, and from this angle the different mother of pearl types in the cloud are much more apparent. This was completely hand cut by James, and this type of work is quite time consuming. Consider that each individual tooth is a separate piece of shell.
Ted recently wrote to us that "the buying experience with Alembic was incredible. The hands on approach of Alembic with making the guitar fulfill the customer's desire was incredible. Not only can they achieve what you dream, but they also make suggestions that are very helpful. The Alembic team takes a pride in their product that is rarely found, and that pride will make you the most beautiful playing instrument you have ever owned."
We sure had fun on this build with you, Ted! Thanks for entrusting us with your Liquid Dream and letting us craft it into something real.

Front Back


  • Custom Series II Bass
  • Coco Bolo top
  • Curly Redwood back
  • Continuous wood backplates
  • Mahogany body core
  • Mahogany, Vermilion, and Ebony neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with custom inlays and tulip tip
  • "Liquid Dream" nameplate inlay
  • Dragonsong body shape
  • Bevelled front and back of peghead
  • 24K gold plated hardware
  • Ordered through Bass Central
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Text by Mica Wickersham Thomas and Will Gunn, © 2016 Alembic, Inc.
Photos by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2015, 2016 Alembic, Inc.

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