Spalted Bliss

Spalted Bliss When he first talked to us about this project, Erik told us while he was crazy about the Coco Bolo on his Tribute, he wanted something that was going to sound distinct and appear different. We tossed a few ideas back and forth, and ultimately decided to focus the design around this esquisite Spalted Maple.
The sound would be different since this Series II guitar is a neck through construction and the Tribute is a set neck. But with careful material selection, you can direct the sound even more. One Ebony neck laminate gives additional sustain, and the character of the sustained note is fuller. This single laminate has more to say about the tone of the guitar than any other individual piece of wood. Adding Walnut to the neck keeps the attack strong, and the Maple does its normal job of keeping the highs in order.
With the dramatic black lines in the top and the Ebony in the neck, it was time to choose some of the other decorative features. The accent laminates are Walnut and Ebony, thinner than usual since they are in tandem, with a streak of Maple pinstripe between them. With only Maple, Walnut, and Ebony, this guitar is an expression of how powerful a restricted palette can be.
Spalted Wood 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.
Continuous wood backplate 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.
Truss rod cover 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.
peghead peghead
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.

neck laminations 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.
Black mother of pearl 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.

Tailpiece 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.
5-pin jack 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.
buttons 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.
Inlaid logo 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 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.

Front Back


  • Series II 6-string guitar
  • Spalted Maple top and back
  • Top and back bookmatched to center
  • Ebony, Maple and Walnut accent laminates
  • Flame Maple core
  • Continuous wood everything
  • Sperzel locking tuners with Ebony buttons
  • Ebony shim tailpiece
  • Chrome plated hardware
  • Flame Maple, Walnut, and Ebony neck
  • Black Tahitian mother of pearl inlays
  • Series II electronics with side-mounted jacks
  • Inlaid sterling silver logo with shell
  • Sold by:
    Washington Music
    11151 Veirs Mill Road
    Wheaton, MD 20902
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Text and Photographs of bass © 2006 Alembic, Inc.

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