Tribulark I got a Skylark, my first Alembic, a couple years ago. Other than an Oceanburst finish and LEDs, it's a basic model Skylark. But, up to that point, it was the nicest guitar I had played in my life. Everything about it is wonderful. I like the wood recipe, the electronics, the switches so you can actually control the pickups, the filters that actually do something to the sound. It seems like a simple guitar, but with that Alembic magic you can get so much sound out of it. It's the first instrument I'd played that really sounded alive, if that makes any sense.
I mostly play blues and jazz. Someone told me to get the Mickey Baker book years ago and now I monkey around with these wacky chord progressions with minor suspended ninths and fingerings that take days to learn, and you almost can't bend your hand into. I always liked the sound of vibrato in blues riffs, but I struggled to get the sound right with previous guitars. Then it was like an aha! moment with the Skylark. I could wiggle my finger just a little and get that sound.

Carving detail After playing the Skylark for a while, I started to realize that I just like long scale guitars better. I think it's more about playability for me, rather than sound. You can still get good sounds out of a medium scale. Mostly I like the feel of a long scale better. So then I started to think about a long scale Skylark, which I had never heard of (but I knew Alembic would make me one). Looking at long scale Alembic guitars that I already knew about, I started lusting after a Tribute. But, the electronics are a little too complicated and it's a little more than I can afford. I love the shape though. So I stated thinking, I wonder if they would make a Tribute shaped Skylark? That would be an awesome guitar!
extra straplock I love the neck woods on the Tribute too, so I thought I might as well see if a full-on Tribute neck could go with the body shape, but still keep the simplicity of the Skylark's electronics and body construction.
Flame Maple Wineburst I like old burst finishes, but sometimes they're a little too brown. The way Alembic does it with the wine color looks right to me. I also asked to leave the burst color off the neck so I could see the wood there. The color is hard to capture with a camera. I took some pictures for the Alembic Club and had to get a couple of each angle. Different parts of the figuring will jump out, depending on the light. There's things that the camera just doesn't pick up.

Tailpiece I was thinking about the initial phone conversations I had with Susan about the guitar. After we got the work order started and went over the details, I remember her saying, "these are all standard features, are you sure you don't want a wood upgrade or anything?" and I was like, "nope, it'll be pretty good just the way it is."
I contacted Susan part way into the build and added the Bird of Prey tailpiece. It just looks so right with this shape, so I got to custom it up a bit.
peghead peghead
The back of the headstock was another aha! moment with my Oceanburst Skylark. I didn't really look at the back of the headstock when I got it. Then one day I was playing, and set the guitar on a stand. I picked up a rag to give it a wipe down. When I turned the guitar around, I saw the back of the headstock and it was like wow! I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. That's usually just a spot for the "Made in Korea" or "Made in China" sticker. And here is this beautiful piece of wood, perfectly finished.
This was one of the first things I looked at when I got the Tribulark. And it's the same thing - it's so beautiful. The veneer looks almost like Quilted Maple. And the figuring fits right in with the tuners and it's perfectly finished. It still blows my mind that the back of the headstock is nicer than the entire guitar from other makers.

Thanks so much, Bob! Your message to me made a perfect Featured Custom writeup. We're going to see more Tribulark inspired guitars, no doubt, and I would wager that we'll be suggesting that tailpiece shape to others considering a Tribute or Tribulark.

Front Back


  • Skylark guitar
  • Flame Maple top
  • Vintage Wineburst finish
  • Flame Maple, Purpleheart, and Cherry neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl oval inlays
  • Side LEDs in red
  • Skylark electronics: volume x2, filter x2, pickup selector x2, LED on/off
  • Tribute body shape
  • Gold dome knobs
  • Bird of Prey tailpiece
  • Extra straplock on back of body
  • Sold by: Will Gunn Guitars
featured custom

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Text largely by Bob Bloise, photos by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2011 Alembic, Inc.

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