Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes As our importer in Germany, Lothar has a big responsibility to represent what Alembic can do for his customers. As a bass player and Alembic collector, he frequently orders interesting and unique items for display at Station Music, like this month's Featured Custom.
"So Susan," Lothar started, "do you have any Snakewood fingerboards?" This is how it always begins - it sounds like such an innocent question. Then things expand from there. "How about some gorgeous Walnut for the top?" Oh yeah, we've got that. "Will the Walnut look alright with the Snakewood?" Sure - both are dark with reddish hues, should turn out smashing. After the fingerboard and top woods were selected, Lothar decided on Birds-eye Maple for the back laminate. This addition would increase the brightness and support the fast attack of the Walnut.
When the bass arrived in Germany, he emailed us to report success - "the Walnut looks wonderful, the Snakewood looks amazing."
Snakewood This isn't the first Alembic with a Snakewood fingerboard, but there are only a handful of others. The Snakewood tree is rather small, with trunks typically ranging from 12 inches to 20 inches in diameter. The sapwood takes up a good portion of the wood, so it's rare to find a piece that is wider than 6 inches of clear heartwood. It is also difficult to dry, and it shrinks a great deal and is prone to cracking and checking. But all that is worth it - it's a stunning wood, with the reddish-brown color and near black figure. Well-suited for fingerboards, the Snakewood we find is usually as dense as Ebony.
Front laminates Front sandwich stacks Superb Walnut, Purpleheart accent laminate, and Maple veneer next to the Mahogany core. Even with such sharply contrasting woods on the top and back, the matching accent laminates keep the look harmonious.
Back laminates Back sandwich stacks Bird's-eye Maple, Purpleheart accent laminate, and Maple veneer next to the Mahogany core.
heel carving The Balance K body shape is able to have the upper horn reach toward the center of the string and still have an "Alembic" look because the cutaways are offset. That means there is more material on the upper half of the body where it meets the neck.
The carver blends and sculpts these different attachment points to a useful and comfortable shape.
Peghead Peghead back
The peghead veeners are selected to match with the front and back of the bass. Each side is layered with alternating veneers of Maple and Purpleheart for added strength.
wood Superb Walnut top is a place to get lost! There is so much going on in this wood - colors, grain, swirl, flame, touch o'burl, one doesn't tire of gazing into it deeply.
More Snakewood We paired natural Abalone with the Snakewood on this bass. The subtle colors and figure of the shell don't compete with the woods.
We know Lothar won't mind taking care of Snake Eyes until the right person comes along to adopt this special bass.

Front Back


  • Series I 5-string bass
  • Superb Walnut top, Bird's-eye Maple back
  • Omega carving detail
  • Snakewood finerboard with natural abalone inalys
  • Chrome plated hardware
  • Balance K body
  • Series I electronics with stereo/mono switch for 1/4" jack
Offered by: Station Music, Germany
featured custom

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Text and Photographs of bass © 2006 Alembic, Inc.

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