Post Number: 1
|Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 5:24 pm: |
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.....
Post Number: 424
|Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 11:42 pm: |
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?
Post Number: 84
|Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 6:08 am: |
Welcome, It must have been great to help make these wounderful instruments. And hanggin with the ALembic crew. Any pic's from that time.
Post Number: 108
|Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 6:08 am: |
yeah jim,got any good storys? & what about your collection pics etc,,,,
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 1:15 pm: |
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.
Post Number: 1363
|Posted on Monday, February 14, 2005 - 5:35 am: |
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.
Post Number: 701
|Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 5:34 am: |
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.
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 5:34 pm: |
This is my guitar. I made it in 1989. Inspired by Garcia's guitars. Sort of a hybrid between The Tiger & The Wolf.
Post Number: 21
|Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 8:50 pm: |
Wow! That is amazing!
Post Number: 1930
|Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 8:58 pm: |
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
Post Number: 326
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 4:49 am: |
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.
Post Number: 324
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 7:26 am: |
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?
Post Number: 120
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:10 am: |
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?
Post Number: 151
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:55 am: |
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.
Post Number: 108
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:59 am: |
Excellent guitar Jim! I especially like the detail in the back of the peghead and the maple top is great too. Nice work.
Post Number: 340
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 5:21 pm: |
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!
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 6:36 pm: |
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.