Monty And now for something completely different: a man with a tape recorder up his nose.

This bass is all at once typical and completely different for Alembic. Many of the features which you've grown to expect are here: through body neck contruction, custom inlays, brass hardware. But there are twists like the triple concave contour carving of the top and the different roundover contour on the front and back. There's lots of little goodies in the details, but there is an undercurrent rule of "simple."
You can almost hear John Philip Sousa's famous march Liberty Bell churning away in the distance as you get lost in the ins and outs of this wonderful instrument.

And now for something completely different: a man with a tape recorder up his brother's nose.

jack This closeup picture should help navigate the reflections on the top in the first picture. It's rare to find black Ebony wide enough to make a bookmatch to center top. If you want the look, you need to splice the material when it isn't available. Instead of trying to conceal this splice, we tossed around the idea of making the splice a feature. What started out as a simple splice evolved into the "suspension bridge" you see here, sculplted with the Mahogany acting as towers to the cables of Ebony. These Mahogany runners echo the taper of the fingerboard.
peghead peghead
A stealthy kind of logo with black finish on a shiny Ebony front veneer supports the "simple" theme of the bass. The Ebony front and back have the high gloss rubout - it almost looks like a piano. In the view of the back of the peghead, the satin finish on the neck is easily identified. The satin rubout continues along the edge of the peghead. It's one of those features that is so cool, you hardly even notice it.

Inlay Aum, the mystical syllable. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say it out loud, pronouncing each letter AAAA-UUUU-MMMM.
The Aum symbol is inlaid in black Tahitian mother of pearl with a small blue LED. Side position markers on the bass are matching blue LEDs.

bridge The concealed hardware bridge has the deluxe curved rails. If you're having trouble seeing the curve, look at the spacing cylinder where the height adjustment is located. Each rail has a little "kink" at each end to follow the cylinder. Another almost invisible but ultra cool little detail.
knobs When Marc originally ordered his bass, he also ordered knobs from Roger at THG. They had matching Bird's-eye Maple indicator lines for the Bird's-eye Maple top we thought we were going to use. Once we cut it open, it had some very unattractive smears inside and wasn't suitable for a top laminate.
Tucked safely in a drawer until the bass was done, when we mounted the knobs, they just didn't look right. So we asked Roger to make the set shown in this photo, with Mahogany indicators. Sweet.
Each knob is hugged by a crescent of the carved Ebony top to create a flat surface to mount it in place.
tailpiece Big Bird tailpiece, is sort of like an iceberg - there's a lot more of it under the surface. The deep part of the tailpiece is mounted in a route in the body.
To keep distractions down, we sanded down the pickup shells and removed the gold Alembic script from the lower right corner and polished to a similar finish as is on the bass.

switch plate Taiji (aka yin and yang) inlay cover conceals the brass access cover for where the pickup selector switch mounts. The inlay is crafted from both black Tahitian and white mother of pearl. Note the blackened screwhead on the white side to represent the yin component of the yang element.
Marc wrote to us, "I can't praise my new bass enough. I am having the best playing experiences of my life. The bass is a total success, and exceeds my every expectation. I can't stop smiling when I look at it, or hold it, or think about it."

It was great fun to tackle all the challenges this build presented. We really appreciate the freedom you granted to us. Rare is the day that we get to write "builder's choice" on a workorder. It's one of the reasons we love your bass too, Marc. Your bass is not only your dream bass, but ours as well. Enjoy!

Front Back


  • Custom bass
  • Gabon Ebony top, multi-pieced with Mahogany runners and triple concave carving
  • Mahogany body
  • Full roundover on back, mini on top
  • Mahogany and Ebony neck
  • Continuous wood truss rod cover
  • Nearest neighbor wood backplates
  • Hipshot Ultralight tuning keys
  • Ebony THG knobs with Mahogany indicators
  • 20th Anniversary electronics with side mounted jack
  • Custom Taiji inlay on backplate
  • Custom Aum inlay on fingerboard
  • Blue side LEDs and single front LED
  • Concealed hardware curved rail bridge
  • Big Bird tailpiece
  • Blackened brass hardware
  • Selective rubout: top and peghead gloss, satin back
featured custom

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Text and Photographs of guitar © 2007 Alembic, Inc.
Original artwork © 2005 Susan L. Wickersham

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