Thomas presented us with a simple sounding idea: to construct a neck through body Tribute guitar. This deceptively simple request created several challenges in construction, little things really, but they each had to be planned carefully to come out just right.
Obviously we must start the feature-speak with the central design element of the medallion inlay. When Thomas and Susan were discussing the design of this guitar, he indicated that he wanted to get an inlay below the tailpiece. As part of her interview, she learned what interests besides music Thomas had. Turns out some of his favorite things were Star Trek and The Grateful Dead. In an instant the concept of "Mindmeld with a Deadhead" came to Susan and she scratched out a quick concept sketch. Thomas loved the idea and once he saw it, gave it the green light.
Mindmeld After Susan makes her pencil drawing, Mica scans and makes a vector drawing of the artwork. This allows us to scale it to the size of the inlay, and to provide James with an accurate plan for where to cut the individual pieces.
Spock is inlaid in golden mother of pearl with black mother of pearl hair which has a white mother of pearl highlight. Stealie has a white mother of pearl skull and lightning bolt which is flanked by red and blue custom cast acrylic all wrapped up in an abalone disc. The background of the medallion is Ebony with a sterling silver star field.
Shield Inlays The fret markers are mother of pearl insignias as were worn by the crewmembers on Star Trek. At the twelfth fret we included the intersecting circles of the science officer's insignia.

peghead peghead
Classic Crown peghead with an Ebony front veneer tops off Mindmeld. Sometimes the Ebony is nearly black, but this time there are some lighter streaks in the wood. The logo is sterling silver with abalone and mother of pearl all inlaid below the finish.
On the back of the peghead we've used Coco Bolo to match the facing woods of the body. The back of the neck is sanded to a dreamy satin finish, for a fast non-stick feel.
Proof! Oh look! With the top and back boomatched to center, the end of the body is the only place the through body neck peeks out.
Sandwich Differing from the typical sandwich on the Tribute guitar, Mindmeld layers a Coco Bolo top and back with Vermilion accent laminates that are framed by Maple veneers. The primary body wood is Mahogany, which makes the tone slightly warmer than the usual Flame Maple body for this model.

Continuous wood backplates Continuous wood backplates are always welcome on such a beautiful piece of wood. We make these miniature marvels by mapping the plate location carefully then cutting with a scroll saw. This small piece of wood is then resawn to two or three thin veneers and layered with Maple to construct a sturdy custom plywood.
The plates then need to go through the finishing process. They will receive the same amount of finish as the rest of the guitar, and the final process of rub out and buffing is identical to what we do on the entire guitar.
Hardware A concealed hardware bridge leaves just enough room to mount a Roland GK-3 pickup. Nickel plated, the solid brass hardware gleams and won't require polishing.

Roland Output We've carved a Coco Bolo mount for the Roland output and positioned it on the side of the guitar.

Scroll switches An almost invisible feature, the push button switches that control the scrolling function are tiny mounds of Coco Bolo that barely break the contoured surface of the body. We modified two sturdy switches to accept the small domes of wood which are coated with a clear finish. These momentary switches return a positively satisfying click and are easy to operate.

inlaid logo The abalone inlaid in the logo is rather dynamic, changing colors when viewed from different angles.
We had so much fun building this guitar! Thomas was a true gentleman through the entire design and building process and was a pleasure to work with. While it was here, Mindmeld was a huge hit on factory tours - everyone immediately got the references and it put a big smile on their faces. We have a suspicion that perhaps Thomas is wearing an even bigger smile.

Front Back


  • Tribute 6-string guitar
  • Carved Coco Bolo top, bookmatched to center
  • Coco Bolo back
  • Mahogany body
  • Flame Maple, Purpleheart and Cherry through-body neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Star Trek inlays in mother of pearl
  • Mindmeld with a Deadhead medallion inlay
  • Concealed hardware bridge
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • Roland GK-3 pickup
  • Coco Bolo capped scroll switches for synth pickup
  • Side-mounted Roland output in Coco Bolo frame
  • Tribute electronics
featured custom

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Text and photos of guitar by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2011 Alembic, Inc.
Photo of clouds over Mt. Washington © Thomas Barrasso.

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