Passion The little seed of the dream for this bass was planted long ago. The spark of Stanley Clarke's playing ignited a passion for bass that has lasted a lifetime for Pierre-Yves. The sound of that Series I bass is something that is hard to forget once you've heard it. Years later, when he had a growing collection of Alembic basses, Pierre-Yves still thought about a Series I bass, with some key custom features.
While quite taken with Stan's personal Series I short scale bass in Vermilion, he imagined it in African Blackwood. We discussed this on the Alembic Club forum, and even made some mockups of what it might look like for fun (though we had never found a piece of wood wide enough, or clear of defects to make it a reality). This also piqued our curiosity, and so when a half log of this wood became available from one of our regular suppliers, we quickly jumped at the chance to buy it.
The wood didn't have to wait very long for a spec sheet and instructions to build this bass, Passion.
African Blackwood Tightly grained in shades of darkest brown, black, and tinges of violet, African Blackwood looks similar to Ebony, but there is a visual texture closer to that of Vermilion. From any distance, the look is that of a swath of pure black, but closer inspection uncovers the subtleties.
Perched atop a thick accent laminate of Maple, the African Blackwood looks very sharp, like a tailored tuxedo. But it's the sound that really sets this bass apart. Perhaps it's the face woods alone, or in concert with the Maple and Ebony neck, but this bass is so crystalline clear, so brutally honest about the technique applied to it, that we asked every bass player nearby to us to visit our showroom and sample it. Univserally the reaction was quizzical expressions, followed by raised eyebrows. This was replaced with broad smiles, closed eyes, and you could just sense that Passion was transporting these players to places they had never visited before. It was quite exciting to witness!
Sandwich At first, Pierre-Yves was interested in having an Ebony body on this bass. From a strictly aesthetic point of view, it would have been lovely. However, practically speaking, the added weight would have been unbearable, and the added expense too dear. Instead, we opted for Vermilion, with its striking red-orange color and near absence of contrasting grain, it adds a splash of color that just peeks out from time to time to say hello. It also warms up the bottom end a touch, which is an important attribute with the rest of the woods in the instrument.

peghead peghead
The classic Alembic Crown peghead looks especially chic dressed up in African Blackwood. Topped with an inlaid logo in sterling silver with both mother of pearl and abalone shell under the finish, it's like a jewel on the crown.
Pierre-Yves requested the hand-carved bevel on the front and back of the peghead. This feature reveals the interior veneers that give the peghead strength, and lends a binding-like look.

Peghead bevel Normally the interior veneers are either Maple and Walnut or Maple and Purpleheart. With the color palette firmly established as black/white/red, introducing purple or brown just didn't make sense. So we suggested to go with Maple and Ebony veneers. This arrangement is actually very difficult to craft, it's very easy to pollute the whiteness of the Maple with Ebony dust while sanding. You just have to take your time, and sand along the contours.

Logo Passion not only represents the strong emotions that Pierre-Yves applies to every creative area of his life, from playing bass, to his interests in travel, reptiles and photography, it also embodies our passion for building unique and wonderful living works of art that help translate this passion in to music to share and inspire others.

Front Back


  • Series I short scale bass
  • African Blackwood top and back
  • Vermilion body
  • Extra thick Maple accent laminates
  • Ebony fingerboard with Abalone oval inlays
  • Series I eletronics with master volume
  • Chrome plated brass hardware
  • Inlaid logo with shell
  • Continuous wood backplates
  • Beveled peghead with Ebony and Maple interior veneers
  • Sold by: Planet Bass
featured custom

Wallpaper: 1600x1200 1280x1024 1024x768 800x600
Widescreen: 2560x1440 1920x1200 1680x1050

Text by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2012 Alembic, Inc.
Photos by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2011 Alembic, Inc.

Custom Archive · Get a Custom Quote
The Specials · The Products · The People · The Place · The Support · Site Index