she David has a few Alembics that he picked up over the years. Playing these basses helped him shape his ideas for his perfect custom. "I knew it would be a great bass," David wrote to us, "because I could choose the string spacing and the wood recipe. Better still are all the unanticipated things that I ended up with.
"The body design makes her feel like a small bass but sound like a big one (I'm not just talking weight--which is great for a SII and helped by the wood plates--I mean the whole way the bass feels when I pick her up to play).
"The front and back woods kind of just happened and are breathtaking. The Quilted Coco Bolo, as the few of us who got some know, was from a board that didn't look like much. Until you started cutting.
"As I've told the Club, you made sure to include the cosmic stuff you put in your basses. Mica always said that, at some point, the wood realizes that it isn't a tree anymore--that's happening and she is becoming a better and better instrument."
Sometimes someone at Alembic names the instrument, sometimes it's the customer. Sometimes, when the bass is so strong, it names itself. The whole time we were constructing this instrument, we all kept referring to her as She, and She she will always be to us. Feminine beauty and strength, personified in a striking musical machine.
Upper Horn It's hard to decide which feature to start with (there's so many interesting ones to choose from), so the double pistol grip horn is as good as any. Wow! It's long, reaching very nearly to the twelfth fret, so you know the balance is fantastic. To keep with the aesthetic of the rest of the body shape, a double pistol grip is carved on the inside surface to break up the length and to serve the purpose of looking downright cool.
peghead peghead
One can't resist the Omega peghead for pairing with the 5-point Balance K body shape. Scultped in exactly the same manner as the Omega on the bottom of the body only in minature, this delicate detail is one of many gems found on the bass we call She.
Of course Quilted Coco Bolo veneer isn't something you can pick up at your local lumberyard, so we make our own. First by resawing a fairly thin sheet on the big bandsaw, then sanding to the final thickness with an abrasive planer. Fun fact: a veneer thickness of Quilted Coco Bolo glows when held up to a light source.
So continuous I think this bass is further evidence that any instrument made with this luscious wood must be fitted with continuous wood pickup covers and a continuous wood truss rod cover. It's just absolutely gorgeous.
Continuouswood backplate What a treat to have continuous wood backplates. Not only do they lighten the load compared to brass plates, they are also a joy to behold. The back of She is particularly insteresting. It's a regular bookmatch, but because of the density and angle of the grain, a positive and negative effect emerges. As David remarked, "the back is 'ordinary' Coco Bolo, but may be the most interesting piece of wood I've seen on an instrument (other than what's on the front)."
omega Everything comes down to the Omega carving. The neck woods, the body woods all converge and are revealed in the contour that we sculpt by hand. When you touch this part, your hand is recreating the movements that created it. And while the Omega tips are somewhat fragile, we're quite certain that David will be using a proper stand and stowing She away safely in her case when She is not making music with him.
We really enjoyed working with David to create this bass. While he had his own ideas for the design, his willingness to think about the bass as a whole and collaborate with us on the wood recipe and other minor details materialized into something we can all enjoy.

Front Back


  • Series II 5-string bass
  • Quilted Coco Bolo top
  • Coco Bolo back
  • Vermilion body core
  • Mahogany, Maple, Ebony and Purpleheart neck
  • 5-point "Bird of Prey" Balance K body variation with Omega carving
  • Continuous wood everything
  • Gold plated hardware
  • Recessed straplocks
  • Bird of Prey tailpiece shape
  • Golden mother of pearl oval inlays
  • Omega peghead shape
  • Inlaid Alembic logo with golden mother of pearl and abalone
featured custom

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Text and photos by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2009 Alembic, Inc.

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