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bassman10096
Intermediate Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 119
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 1:16 pm:   Edit Post

Marc: I am really looking forward to seeing this bass take shape. The figuring and color of the burl top are sure to be very pretty once finished. I had looked at 1322 more than once myself when deciding on wood for my bass. I'm really interested to see what your variation on the EVH shape looks like once work proceeds. Good luck and happy waiting!

Bill
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 16
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 8:42 am:   Edit Post

hi bill

thanks! as you may have read above, 1322 wasn't my first choice for a top, nor even my second, but months had gone by, there was no gabon ebony to be had, and nothing seemed to quite hit the spot. i needed to make a choice, and it is a pretty piece of wood

similarly with the shape: i was captivated by the shape of the evh piccolo bass that edwin ordered for his daughter tania, but it wasn't possible to scale that design to small-standard size. so, once again, a compromise of sorts was necessary

mica has worked very hard to help me to realize my vision for my first alembic, and has given me no end of support and great advice. it's not turning out to be the bass i had envisioned, but i'm sure i'll love it just the same

'est la vie


marc
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 17
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 9:14 am:   Edit Post

p.s. to bill (i hit 'post' when i meant to hit 'preview')

that wasn't all i wanted it to say, and it gives the way-wrong impression

the fact is that my vision for the instrument, and hence inevitably my expectations for it, evolved as the design process unfolded. i started out with a piece of maple for the top. when it turned out to be unusable i got my heart set on gabon ebony, which apparently has been used for only three or so basses in alembic history; there are supply-and-demand reasons why that is so. when mica's exotic-wood dealers couldn't come up with any, we had to go back to the wood bank or find a piece of wood from a wood dealer online

as to the shape, mica warned me from the get-go that scaling a design was an iffy proposition

the 'simple' bass, though aesthetically understated and not a series instrument, will have some nice features and a distinctive look. i look forward to reading what you and others may say about it

but no matter what, it will be by far the coolest bass i have ever held in my life, much less played, much less owned

and i will love it!


marc
bassman10096
Intermediate Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 142
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 9:51 am:   Edit Post

Marc: I think its already on the way to being an over-and-above cool bass. I, too, started out with some ideas for my bass that didn't work out due to various practicalities. I think for me what has been the most engaging part of the selection and design process is that, even where the original concept for something may not work, Alembic is so good (and patient) about equiping me with information. Good information makes the choices all mine - not defaults! Add to that, a sampling of good artistic and technical suggestions from staff, I feel like the bass I'm building is very uniquely mine and will do things for me that I didn't even know to look for when I first started talking to Mica months ago.

Anyway, enjoy your bass as it comes together. I like the choices you are making and can't wait to see the product! Good luck.

Bill

(Message edited by bassman10096 on February 22, 2004)
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 19
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 2:52 pm:   Edit Post

hi all

i'm so happy about this recent development that i can't resist posting it

as discussed at some length in earlier posts, mica tried very hard to find a piece of gabon ebony for the bookmatch-to-center top of my bass. when she couldn't find any at all, i 'settled' on a piece of maple burl, but i wasn't very excited about it

it is often said in club postings that alembic always finds a way to make your dreams into reality, and they have done it once again

mica suggested that the top of my bass could be made from three pieces of the gabon ebony that is used for fingerboards, spliced together: a six-string board for the middle, flanked by a five-stringer on either side

then she suggested that they could add an accent laminate between boards, which evolved into three 1/16-inch pinstripes -- mahogany, ebony, and mahogany

then mica had the idea to cut the middle board to the same taper as my fingerboard; since it will be about an inch wider than my four-string fingerboard, the pickups and all the hardware will fit neatly in it

i had given up hope for an ebony top. not only did mica find a way to make it happen, she solved the problem in a way that will make my bass far cooler than anything i ever would have thought of by myself

and that, as most of you know already and i am learning, is what alembic is all about

there should be a sketch on the thread soon


thank you mica! i can't stop smiling!


marc
bassman10096
Intermediate Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 170
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 3:24 pm:   Edit Post

Wow Marc. These folks continue to exceed anybody's expectations, don't they? Glad this bass is getting to be what you dreamed of (better?)!! I can't wait to see what this looks like in the flesh. Sounds VERY cool!

Bill
davehouck
Senior Member
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 411
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 3:41 pm:   Edit Post

Very interesting idea; can't wait to see it!
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 22
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 5:57 pm:   Edit Post

here's a look at the working sketches for the new top

'not-so-simple' top

photoshopped in ebony & mahogany
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1529
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 6:18 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Marc,

There was another little funny idea Mike had while laying out the electronics.

suspension bridge

This is looking up from the bottom, with the Mahogany spines sort of gently carved. He's still finishing up the control layout, will post as soon as it's available.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1530
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 6:24 pm:   Edit Post

Mike was taken by the look of the blackened out area on the second drawing. At first he did the sketch with a normal 3/4 roundover on the top and the back, but he liked the "sharp" look of the shape with a very small, maybe 1/4 roundover on the top only. You can see this in the sketch. Anyway, some more food for thought until the layot is ready.
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1217
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 9:50 pm:   Edit Post

For one or another reason the bridge looks to me as a tiny red spot with a white cross in a rectangular square reading "Suspension bridge".
IOW: I can't see a picture!!!!


PTBO
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 23
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 3:37 am:   Edit Post

hi mica

i think the 'suspension bridge' is incredibly cool. let's do it! i like the 'sharp' 1/4-roundover look too

so, with mike's idea, would there be no half-elbow contour?

paul, i'm emailing you the 'suspension bridge' image right now


marc
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1532
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post

Yeah, we'd have to get rid of the gentle elbow shaping to keep the crisp look. We'll keep the tummy contour on the back though. I'm pretty sure his example has some vertical exaggeration to make the point.

I'll let Mike know when he arrives that his idea will be reality. He was so excited about the sharp shape and the top carving, I know it will make his day that you'll be going for it.
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 24
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:58 am:   Edit Post

hi mica

as captain picard used to say, "make it so!"

please thank mike for his brilliant idea. the pinstripe ridge will also serve as a place to rest my wrist or the heel of my hand, a nice amenity for a flatpick player like myself

i'm thinking that with the new shaping we might be better off with a single mahogany pinstripe rather than the mahogany-ebony-mahogany triplet that we discussed. what do you think?


best regards


marc
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1228
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 10:22 pm:   Edit Post

Brother and Sisters,

after some E-mailing back and forward between me and Brother Marc the-not-so-simple-one-anymore he asked me to launch this idea.
Maybe it would be great to make the upgoing slope of the "hangbridge" (sorry ...I still see that red dot with the white cross ...thanks for sending me the picture directly Marc) in such a way that it can be used as longitudinal "thumbrest". So the slope a little steeper???

Paul the bad one
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 25
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 7:53 am:   Edit Post

now that mica and i have locked up the specification, here's a list of the features

custom 4-string
32"-scale
mahogany neck
ebony neck laminates, center laminate thicker
blue side LEDs with toggle switch
mahogany body, 3/4-roundover, tummy contour
three-piece ebony top with mahogany pinstripes at joints, 1/4-roundover
mike's 'suspension-bridge' top contour, small scallop contour above each control knob
EvH baby-bass shape, scaled to small-standard size
fatboy pickups, no script
20th anniversary electronics with master volume, 3-position Q switches, sidemounted jack
'linear' control layout, with p/u selector on lower horn
knobs by roger @ thg
2R continuous-wood truss rod cover, pickup to touch
black recessed straplocks
black hipshot ultralite HB6Y tuners
blackened brass hardware, black screws where possible
blackened logo, no script
heavy bridge block
'big bird' tailpiece, recessed into body
concealed-hardware curved-rail bridge
continuous-wood backplates, nearest-neighbor
crown peghead, ebony veneers
ebony fingerboard, 1.75 x 2.25, low-profile mandolin frets
OM inlay at 12th fret, black tahitian m.o.p., blue LED for dot at top
tai-ji inlay, black & white m.o.p., on pickup-selector backplate
string with thomastik jf324 43-56-70-100
hardshell case

i guess it turned out to be a 'not-so-simple' bass, as paul suggested a while back

but it is all that my fancy paints as fair


marc

(Message edited by marcm on April 18, 2004)
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1245
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 9:32 am:   Edit Post

Ommygood!
I'm falling in love ...again.
Why am I torturing myself so much by visiting this club. Now I'm already blast away BEFORE the thing is even made.
***sigh***

PTBO
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 26
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 1:12 pm:   Edit Post

hi mica

here's a blatant example of idea theft: inspired by the supercool omega cut on valentino's peghead, i wonder if it would be possible for my peghead to have a mini-baby's-butt carving at the top? do you think that it would look good, or is this an idea that should be forgotten?

also, please let me know if you got my voicemail about the roger and the knobs


best regards


marc
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1583
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 1:33 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Marc,

I can save the wood for Roger, but since we're using black Ebony, I'm not sure it's critical to get a match.

Mike's still hammering out the controls. First hurdle was the special stereo jack, but we've got that licked. I think I'll be posting a layout a little later on today.

I'm not excited about the peghead change, but I'll rough something out and see if it's my prejudice about the Crown peghead shape being perfect on this bass.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 6:01 pm:   Edit Post

Got some progress on these controls. What a beast! Here's the general idea, reinforcing the linear aspects of the design:
raw
My dad suggested placing them close enough to the "rails" that we'd carve a small scallop around each knob, nothing super obvious, but one of those things you notice later and say, "whoa!" The only problem so far, is I'm finding it difficult to put the master volume anywhere.

Some ideas for the functions:
volumes grouped
This one puts the volume controls in one group and the filter controls in another.

pickup function
Here we've grouped the functions by pickup. I'm not sure which way will make more sense to you, so you'll have to tell me.

master volume
One idea for the master volume on the lower horn, and moving the pickup selector to the other side of the rail.

Don't worry about the backplate, that will be adjusted. If you like the pickup selector or master volume on the lower horn we'd add a small circular backplate for the access to it. I was thinking about putting the original inlay on the switch backplate. A white and black mother of pearl yin yang just for you on the back.

We're waiting for the sample of the long frame jack in stereo version. The jack in your bass will actually be a bit larger.
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 27
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 6:28 pm:   Edit Post

hi mica

i'm leaning toward style 2, the functional grouping, with the pickup selector on the lower horn as they used to be on very old series basses. i'd strongly prefer for there to be no controls above the pinstripe

four comments

first, as you suggested, the new knobs from roger will be small cylinders instead of hats; the pickup selector will, of course, still be a teardrop. i've asked roger to scale all the knobs down in size by about 10% or so compared to the knobs on randy's cocobolo custom. perhaps they'll be small enough that a staggered configuration will be possible

second, we had discussed a side-LED on/off toggle. will it be possible to fit that in as well?

third, i love ron's idea of a small scallop above each knob. it's a detail that would bring a smile to my face for many years to come, so let's definitely do it!

finally, if the new smaller knobs don't make a different layout possible, could the master volume be placed down on the hip, centered below the bridge-Q and stereo/mono toggles?

thanks for this beautiful work

best regards

marc
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 28
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 6:35 pm:   Edit Post

p.s.

i love the idea of putting the tai-ji on the switch plate! thank you! let's do it!


marc
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 29
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 6:47 pm:   Edit Post

p.p.s.

forget about my idea for a baby's-butt peghead; your comment said it all

let's have a beautiful crown as we originally planned

thanks for being the voice of sanity


marc
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1591
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 7:14 pm:   Edit Post

Yay! Glad you like the secretive back inlay. I love little inlays on the back of instruments. Don't know why.

I think in this case we'll need to get the knobs here to allow for the exact layout and scallop pattern. I will contact Roger next week and see what materials he'll need from us and also get the dimensions of the knobs so I can finish up the layout right away. The smaller knobs really make sense on this one.

Was I really that bad about the peghead? I still may sketch it out, and if it's cool, I'll even share!

Have a great weekend!
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 30
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 8:10 pm:   Edit Post

mica, i have a special request. when mike takes the nearest-neighbor slice for the big back plate, could you please ask him to take a second-nearest-neighbor cut as well? here's why

i have a new friend who makes beautiful jewelry in silver and gold, based on the archimedes spiral. if things work out in the longer run, i'd like to send the second-nearest-neighbor back to you with one of her pieces, and ask you to inlay it for me. would that be possible? please let me know

as far as the peghead is concerned, i had a brain spasm and lost it for a moment; your perception was clear and correct. i love the crown; please forget i ever mentioned the mini-baby's-butt

have a great weekend!


marc
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1616
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 8:33 pm:   Edit Post

Roger and I are talking back and forth on those knobs. I'll be incommunicado tomorrow, icky tax filing stuff day! Hope by Monday I'll have everything square with him and get your body assembly on Mike's list for next week.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1680
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post

Here's the first stage of body assembly:

in the pipes

Lookin' good! We've settled on a knob diameter of .85-.90. I'll get you a shot of the final control layout soon.
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 1705
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 6:56 pm:   Edit Post

Top in place, with the outside cuts done:
precarve

Caught Mike mid-carve with the "sea of black" I told you about:
mid carve

After the rough carving:
ready for fingerboard

The fingerboard is now in place, and the bass is ready for routing, should be on Thursday. That little gap between the truss rod cover and the cavity is where one of your pickups will be. Mike arranged it so that when Bob routs it, the truss rod cover and the cavity will be trimmed at the same time. Pretty slick, huh?
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 32
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 6:41 am:   Edit Post

hi mica

what can i say? you and i and mike imagined it, and mike is making it real

i love it. thank you, and thank mike too


marc
marcm
Junior
Username: marcm

Post Number: 33
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 12:51 pm:   Edit Post

hey mica!

it looks like there's a routed channel down the centerline. what's it for?


marc

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