The wood is the dominant feature of this guitar — a nice amount of flame figuring with dark spalting lines throughout. Spalted
woods are actually partially rotten. Above 18 percent moisture, fungi can attack the wood and begin its decay. Dry out the wood
after the characteristic dark lines form but before the wood turns too soft and "punky" and you've got spalt.
Because spalted woods are more fragile by nature, we treat them with a special wood stabilizer so they can hold up to regular use. This compound binds the wood cells together.
With such a beauty, continuous wood backplates are a
must. Bob cuts the plates before the body is even glued together and the reserves fallout pieces for the covers. We'll
resaw this small piece to make the two outside veneers for the plate. To make the veneers, we sand the wood until it's
the final thickness needed. Then these outer layers are laminated with interior veneers of Maple and Walnut to make a
sturdy and beautiful 5-ply plate. The plate is then finished along with the guitar with layers of polyester.
The inside of the plate is just as beautiful as the outside, but you'll never know it because it's covered with a generous layer of pure silver shielding paint.
While we're on the continuous wood bandwagon, the
truss rod cover is made in exactly the same way, only it's a much smaller enterprise.
For delicate woods like burls and spalted figure, we prefer
to make our own veneers. That way, we can also get a perfect match to the top and back woods of the body. The interior veneers are
alternating layers of Maple and Walnut.
|Through body neck is constructed primarily from Western Flame Maple. The central portion is Walnut, Maple veneer and Ebony. This recipe gives Erik the brilliance he likes, but with even more sustain thanks to the Ebony. The back of the body covers up the neck as it travels through to the end.
|The inlays are the standard Alembic ovals, but in not-so-standard Black Tahitian mother of pearl. This shell is a smoky black color, but flashes with brilliant green and pink opalescence with the slightest movement.
|The tailpiece is made from solid brass with an Ebony shim underneath. This helps offest some of the weight of the brass, and has a really cool look for this guitar, especially with the chrome plating.
|Erik specified for the output jacks to be side mounted. We make a special adapter sleeve for the 5-pin connectors so we can carve the edge to match the shape of the guitar. Oh sure, we could put it on a flat plate, and it would be easier, but it wouldn't look anywhere near as nice.
Roger from THG Knobs made these little
Ebony buttons for the Sperzel locking tuners. They coordinate so well, you might not even notice them at first.
The Alembic logo is inlaid in sterling silver under the finish. It's
accented with mother of pearl and abalone. The inlay is flush with the surface and undetectable by feel, but that never stops folks from
trying to touch it.
"I was awestruck when I received the guitar...it is simply beautiful and the sustain is ridiculous. It doesn't really need any effects and it makes me sound much better than I am."
Erik, we're so glad you asked us to make you this special guitar. Hope you'll enjoy it greatly in the coming years.
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2006 Alembic, Inc.
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