May 2003

The Seismic Bass

Zebra Stripes Steve has been buying Alembics for over fifteen years and this is his fourth custom bass. He's owned about a dozen other pieces in that time, picking up used basses here and there. Through this experience he was able to decide what features would combine to make his dream bass.
The first feature he considered was the top - he wanted a really exotic looking Zebrawood top like one he'd seen many years ago. The erratic pattern of Zebrawood cut flatsawn is stunning. The zig zag lines remind us of a seismograph, and give this bass a truly exotic appearance. But that's just the start, this bass has a tone to match its name and can really shake the ground.
Peghead Steve chose a special 3+2 Elan peghead shape. The Elan hasn't been in our catalog for a few years, but like all things Alembic it isn't discontinued. We make Elans on special order and use the templates for custom jobs. Since the flatsawn Zebrawood is hard to come by, we must make our own veneers for the peghead. We slice the wood fairly thin on one of our bandsaws and then sand the sheet of wood to the final thickness.
tailpiece Nickel plated hardware doesn't tarnish like polished brass and is a soft contrast to the straw color of the Zebrawood. We do plated hardware the hard way to assure the longest life. We set up the bass completely then disassemble the brass parts and bring them to the plater's shop. Once plated, we reassemble the parts and install them on the bass again. This extra step means that even the slots in the bridge saddles and the string nut are plated and there is no point that corrossion can start.
lower horn Closeup of the sandwich: Zebrawood top, Purpleheat accent laminate, Mahogany body. Near the edge, the more familiar narrow grain of the Zebrawood is evident. That is not a missing pickup screw - we use a unique 4 contact spingless pickup mount. Diagonal to each other is a lower height determining screw while opposite are the clamping screws. This system is rigid and simple.
top Steve was willing to wait while we located the ideal top. He had a very specific requirement for the figuring and it took nearly 5 months to find the perfect top. When we finally found the board, it was a 22 foot long 25 inch wide 3 inch thick piece. This enourmous slice was cut from near to the edge of the tree so this flatsawn area was at the center of the lumber with quartersawn near the edges.
Zebrawood lumber is not typically available as flatsawn as the lumber has a tendancy to cup on that surface. Once securely glued to the body, the wood will remain stable.
Bridge Peghead back Body
Bridge Peghead back Body

Front Back


  • 5-string Rogue bass
  • Flatsawn Zebrawood top and back
  • Signature electronics
  • 7-piece Maple and Purpleheart neck
  • Side LEDs with on/off switch
  • 3+2 Elan peghead shape
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • Polyester finish with satin neck feel

Price available on request.

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