Hello to all Alembic Family! Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Introductions » Archive through May 13, 2005 » Hello to all Alembic Family! « Previous Next »

Author Message
Username: jim_vaughn

Post Number: 1
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 5:24 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Y'all,
I am an old Alembic employee from the 1980's. I loved the job. I was a carver. It remains an honor to have been able to have been a part of the Alembic Family. The people and instruments are in a league of their own. My tenure at Alembic was limited due to my own baggage, but it remains a very important phase of my life. I had the honor of carving many of the 20th Anniversary guitars. While life has carried me from the Haight Ashbury scene in my youth, to being a stained glass artist, to being a professor, Alembic remains near and dear to my heart. If you can hear the sound of "The Mighty Alembic", you know what I mean.....
Jim Vaughn
Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 424
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 11:42 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Jim, welcome 'back' then! With a provenance like that you must have some interesting stories to tell. Do you play bass or guitar? Any Alembics and/or employee projects lurking in your closet or anything?

Username: 1stbass

Post Number: 84
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 6:08 am:   Edit Post

Hi Jim,
Welcome, It must have been great to help make these wounderful instruments. And hanggin with the ALembic crew. Any pic's from that time.

Intermediate Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 108
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 6:08 am:   Edit Post

yeah jim,got any good storys? & what about your collection pics etc,,,,
Username: jim_vaughn

Post Number: 2
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 1:15 pm:   Edit Post

One story from back then... When Jason Newstead was visiting the old Alembic shop to decide on his new Alembic, I didn't really know who he was. I didn't care much because in those days "I liked both kinds of music, The Grateful Dead AND The Jerry Garcia Band." When he was touring the shop, I asked him if he "played 4 or 5 string?" He said "five" and I handed him a 5 string Elan I had just finished carving. He liked it & ordered one. When he got the bass, he invited the crew to the Metallica gig that week. I remember saying something like, "thanks anyway, I'm catching Jerry again." They day after the show everyone who went to the show was speechless, and a little hard of hearing.
Moving the shop from the old location to its current location was a trip. Most of the equipment is not very mobile. Everyone worked hard, as usual, and put the new shop into fine shape in only a few days. It really is amazing what a bunch of talented and creative people can do when they put their collective minds, and backs, into it!
I play guitar, although still with an absolute lack of skill. I have a couple of things that I put together. My main guitar is made from scraps of discarded materials. The set neck is a piece of cut off from a bass. The mahogany body pieces were from off of the floor in the breezeway of the old shop. The quilted maple top has some mineral deposits that made the bookmatch unusable for an Alembic. Scrap brass and two singlecoils round out the set up. I was, and still am, kind of into Teles, so the configuration is very simple. Design wise, it is a pre-tribute, Garcia inspired guitar with horns similar to his Tiger guitar and an Omega cut. Even though it was made from scraps, it looks and sounds fantastic.
I stopped playing when Garcia died & gave the guitar to my brother in law. I just got it back from him a few months ago. I'm trying to regain some rudimentary chops, but you lose a lot in ten years. I just couldn't play anymore after Jerry passed away. Now I get a little inspiration from the connection to The Dead and Alembic. I enjoy relaxing a little after teaching class trying to pick out some tunes.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1363
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, February 14, 2005 - 5:35 am:   Edit Post

Hi Jim, and welcome to the group! I love that line; "I liked both kinds of music, The Grateful Dead AND The Jerry Garcia Band". If you've read many of the posts here, you're probably figuring out that many of us, well, we love our Alembics. And I think it would be fair to say that we are very appreciative to all who helped make our instruments possible. And we would love to see some pictures of your guitar. If you get a chance, please post some in the Showcase section.
Senior Member
Username: bracheen

Post Number: 701
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 5:34 am:   Edit Post

Hi Jim, what an experience that must have been working at Alembic. Santa Rosa is such a charming town. My wife and I both enjoyed a visit there last year.

Username: jim_vaughn

Post Number: 4
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 5:34 pm:   Edit Post

This is my guitar. I made it in 1989. Inspired by Garcia's guitars. Sort of a hybrid between The Tiger & The Wolf.

Employee project

Guitar II

The Back
Username: staemius

Post Number: 21
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 8:50 pm:   Edit Post

Wow! That is amazing!
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1930
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 8:58 pm:   Edit Post

Absolutely beautiful Jim,

a very "serene" design.
The Omega cutout adds a nice touch.
Though the tone control is a little guessing for me. Two PU "on-off" switches and V and F??? Or 1 PU selector, 1 Q, V and F?

Paul the bad one
Advanced Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 326
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 4:49 am:   Edit Post

A very beatiful and unusual maple top on there, Jim. No offense intended (I think it's gorgeous), but the lumpy spots and the coloring remind me of a Martian desert. I see sand dunes with red shadows. It might just be these old tired sci-fi eyes stuck in my skull.
Advanced Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 324
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 7:26 am:   Edit Post


In the words of the great and infamous C. Montgomery Burns: "EXCELLENT"! So, what are the controls? I'm guessing PU selector, Volume and Filter. Very cool piece of maple. Quilted burl maybe?

Bill, tgo
Intermediate Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 120
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:10 am:   Edit Post

Question:how does the employee project work? did you guys have to pay for your projects or were they free or what?, cause if you come w/a new body design you (can) patent it right? and how many projects are employees allowed to make? & do you have any more?
Intermediate Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 151
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:55 am:   Edit Post

Beautiful guitar and cool stories. Anytime you think of another story, please post it here. I'm sure everyone would love to hear the stories of being inside Alembic.
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 108
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:59 am:   Edit Post

Excellent guitar Jim! I especially like the detail in the back of the peghead and the maple top is great too. Nice work.

Advanced Member
Username: elzie

Post Number: 340
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 5:21 pm:   Edit Post

That is a nice guitar Jim! What makes it even better is the story behind all it's pieces. Kind of like parts from the land of misfit toys put together to make a beautiful guitar. And you certainly have some talent in the building area too!

Paul TGO
Username: jim_vaughn

Post Number: 5
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 6:36 pm:   Edit Post

The controls are simple: volume, tone, & two on-off switches. As I remember, employees can make one instrument for a year of work as a benefit. This one was an experiment into the realm of set-neck instruments, thus the use of scraps. As it evolved, I decided to finish it off & make it playable. I did the design of the shape, as several employees have done for their own instruments. They are one-offs. I simply combined elements that I like into a shape that reflects my love of Garcia's music, and his instruments. I was not trying to duplicate his guitars, but I hope the inspiration is evident. Most of the times I saw Jerry play (about 125 times), he played The Tiger. Both of the times I heard him play "Dark Star", he played The Wolf. I also saw Jerry play "Rosie" quite a few times. This guitar is my interpretation of a synthesis of those instruments. Alembic & The Grateful Dead, the high water mark of alchemy.

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration