Red Tiger

Red Tiger
We've been calling this bass Red Tiger ever since Shoji registered as redtiger on the Alembic Club to watch his bass as we built it. When he ordered the bass, Shoji had a few specific requests, like the narrower than usual nut width and the solid gold logo and script. The whole set of features is reminiscent of our classic builds, back when there were many fewer options available. If you ordered a short scale Series I in Vermilion back in 1975, you'd get Vermilion as the top laminate, but the back might have been something different, and the peghead veneers would have been whatever was on hand at the time. In fact, there's whole chunks of instruments from the mid-seventies where the peghead veneers were Coco Bolo no matter what the body laminations were.
Since this bass was specifically built for Shoji, we could incorporate many of the small improvements we've made since those early instruments. For example, moving the location of the pickup selector from the lower horn to the rest of the electronics cluster. Back in the early 70s, who ever heard of slapping? The pickup selector was in a nice, out-of-the-way place, but still accessable for easy changes. Once you slapped yourself into stand-by, it was only natural for the pickup selector switch to migrate to safety!

hardware It's one of those features that doesn't call too much attention to itself, but gold plated hardware is a nice touch on any Alembic. Not only are you relieved of the chore of cleaning tarnished brass, the little extra gleam from the gold plating is always pleasing.

satin neck feel Vermilion looks best under the nice shiny polyester finish. The earliest instruments we made all had oil finsihes (we didn't have a spray booth back then). Later, after we were spraying polyurethane coatings, we hand-rubbed the finish to a satin lustre. That's fine and good for some woods, but darker woods wind up looking a little "smeary" with finger oils getting trapped in the extra fine scratches that make up a satin finish. Once we got a buffing wheel, there was no turning back - finishes had increased depth, the wood grain couldn't look better.
But, some folks wind up sticking to glossy finish with their fretting hand, so we brought back the satin finish just on the neck feel. So fast and smooth, it's a joy to play, and the rest of the bass looks as pretty as can be with that shiny polyester finish - the best of both worlds.

peghead peghead
Crown peghead shape is the natural pairing for the Small Standard body shape. It's the quintessential Alembic style that's been gracing pegheads of our basses and guitars since the very first one.
Today we typically coordinate the peghead veneers with the body laminations, unlike the early examples of our work. So while this bass has a nod to the past, we've incorporated some features and decorative options from today.

Wood Vermilion's main impact is its striking color. An intense near-yellow orange when first sanded, Vermilion mellows with age and exposure to ultra violet light to a beautiful cinnabar color.

LEDs Side LEDs glow red when turned on. This photo shows the LEDs in their unilluminated state, ringed by tiny inlays of sterling silver. Even if you're playing with the LEDs off, you can still navigate the positions easily with the silver circles.
logo Shoji asked for the logo and script to be cast from solid 14 karat gold. The jeweler that makes the logos has been carving and casting in precious metals for over thirty years. The 14 karat gold doesn't look as yellow as the tuners or the 24 karat plated hardware, but it's sturdy enough to be mounted in the traditional fashion on the peghead. When we've done logos with higher percentages of gold, they are inlaid under the finish to protect the soft metal.

We can't help but wax a little nostalgic when we see your bass, Shoji. It's a reminder of a simpler time, and mindful of the improvements we've made since the earliest builds.

Front Back


  • Series I 4-string bass
  • Vermilion top and back
  • Vermilion body core
  • Maple and Purpleheart neck, custom dimensions
  • Ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl oval inlays
  • Gold plated hardware
  • Side LEDs in red
  • Solid 14K gold peghead logo with script
  • Sold by:
    Bass Northwest
    119 Yesler Way
    Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 622 2277
    (206) 624 5527 fax

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Text © 2008 Alembic, Inc., photographs of bass © 2007 Alembic, Inc.

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