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tom_z
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 111
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 1:54 pm:   Edit Post

I've been looking for a thinline hollowbody guitar with double cutaway at the neck - not a semi-hollow like a 335, but a fully hollow small-bodied jazz box in maple. I want it to have a trapeze tail piece (preferably ebony) and a floating carved ebony and brass bridge. The closest thing I can find like this is the Fishy Hollowbody available from Resurrection Guitars, which is a copy of the Paul Languedoc guitar played by Trey Anastasio.

But, last night I had an Alembic Dream of a Skylark with the features mentioned above. I did a quick search of the club for hollowbody and couldn't find any references to Alembic building an archtop hollowbody. I'm aware that my Skylark is a semi-hollowbody as are many of the instruments built by Alembic, but I wondered if there have been any forays into this area.

I apologize if this topic has been covered before - as I said I only did a quick search of the forums.

Here's a quickie (and rather lame, I'm afraid) photoshop job.

Tom

Hollow Lark
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1428
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:27 pm:   Edit Post

I think it's a great idea!
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 782
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

Interesting! Would you still want maple, or would you choose one of the more common acoustic tone woods? Also, aren't full hollowbodies usually set up with a one-piece top rather than a bookmatch (or did you just leave it that way because it was easier in Photoshop?)

I would think you'd need a flat top rather than the carved edges of the Skylark, or maybe a top that appears to be multi-laminated? To see what I mean by the latter, look at "Tom's Custom Skylark" under FTC. The under-laminates could just be rings around the edge to allow for the shaping while the top piece would be a relatively thin piece of wood to bring out the tone. You mentioned archtop, but the Skylark really isn't an archtop, it's flat with some bevels all the way around the edge. The Tribute is more of an archtop design if that's what you're looking for.

Keep talking and thinking though - this would be a pretty special instrument!
tom_z
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 112
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:48 pm:   Edit Post

Bob - that's what I mean by "rather lame" in photoshop. I just used the photo in the products section of the web site and slapped a few details on it. Maple or possibly spruce for a top would be great. Yes it should be one carved piece for the arched top, not bookmatched. And I don't have to go to the FTC to see Tom's custom, I just need to open my case =) - you're right the top is flat with carved edges, but I like this body design for an archtop jazz box. It would be a bit different from the usual Skylark.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 783
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 3:12 pm:   Edit Post

Doh... I forgot about you being THE Tom....

pace
Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 132
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 4:56 pm:   Edit Post

I think the Skylark is a great 'platform' if Alembic was to build a carved top & back semi hollow guitar... I am actually still very inspired by Tomz's Cocobolo Lark. The top of that guitar is soooo beautiful that I got to thinking.. "Why not add the same laminates to the rear of the guitar?!?" Still keeping the Mahogany core the same thickness, the resonant chambers would be increased. I suppose you could even carve the insides of the top, back & accent laminates prior to being attached to the core...

In theory it sounds like a great idea, Im kind of surprised it hasnt been done yet.
valvil
Moderator
Username: valvil

Post Number: 651
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 5:33 pm:   Edit Post

Tom,

I'm not gonna tell you to hold your breath, but...
If we ever find the time....
(we will, the only question is when)


Valentino


jalevinemd
Intermediate Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 147
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 7:37 pm:   Edit Post

Tom,

For what it's worth, I can't say enough about my Resurrection guitar. Plus Tim and Pat are great guys to work with. Because it's just a father and son team, custom orders take awhile...but worth it in the end.

Regards,

Jonathan
1stbass
Member
Username: 1stbass

Post Number: 88
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 2:32 am:   Edit Post

Tom,
That is a smashing Idea, to have a jazz box made by Alembic.
Put me on the waiting List.
Doug
byoung
Junior
Username: byoung

Post Number: 20
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 9:30 am:   Edit Post

I just love the looks of those big'ol Guilds, and since Alembic started out doing over-the-top electonics upgrades on them, it'd be retro (y'know, like in a good way!).

I'd like one with just slightly heavier gauge string; maybe something in a .30-.130-- 6 string, of course.

I might have to go with the quilted maple, too, since my wife likes that better than cocobolo (but I'm cuckoo for cocobolo, so I might just have to go there).

Susan: please?

Brad
tom_z
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 114
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 2:49 pm:   Edit Post

The standard wood recipe for a hollow body jazz guitar seems to be maple sides, carved maple back with a carved (and braced) spruce top. It's not uncommon to find some with maple tops. The model at resurrection guitars has a koa top and back with mahogany sides. In my mind, I'm imagining this to be all flame maple, possibly finished with a nice antique violin burst. As an alternative I could imagine this same small-body hollow guitar with vermilion sides and cocobolo top and back - with these woods, I'd want a clear finish.

Mike - I agree with you, I think the Skylark is an outstanding platform for a hollow-body guitar - I believe the body size, as it is, may even be large enough for the top to resonate sufficiently. The controls may need to be rearranged to accommodate for f-holes, and it might be cool to add a nicely carved matching pickguard. The Skylark's dual HG4 pickups would be a nice match for this kind of guitar, as well. In addition, I have a few ideas for fretboard scroll inlays, and an inlay in the ebony tailpiece.

Valentino - can I assume from your post that this project is something that Alembic would consider building if an order were placed? If so, I might have to reconsider the purchase of an acoustic guitar I've had my eyes on - a Santa Cruz, Tony Rice model - and re-channel those funds toward a hollow-body Alembic jazz box.

Tom
pace
Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 133
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post

An all out "archtop" might be more of a stretch than say a "semi-hollow" .. I was thinking of keeping it more within the realm of a 335 or Guild Bluesbird with the traditional Alembic tailpiece. I would also use Cocobolo, Vermillion, Ebony.... no Maple or Spruce....
valvil
Moderator
Username: valvil

Post Number: 652
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 5:53 pm:   Edit Post

Tom,

a jazz archtop is probably the one project I bug Susan the most about, 'cause I want one too. We talk about it & hopefully it will happen one day in the not-too-distant future. To be sure, the more & more you all ask for them , the more likely we are to start building them.
We would not be able to satisfy an archtop order at this time, but once we have done our research and figured out what the specs of an Alembic archtop shopuld be, then we'll be able to offer them. The R&D on something like this is very expensive, particularly time-wise, something we could not justify doing for one instrument only.
So let's hear from all the guitar players craving an Alembic archtop. :-)


Valentino

pace
Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 135
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 8:23 am:   Edit Post

>>>>The R&D on something like this is very expensive<<<<<
You mean our photo shop skills arent good enough?!? :-)

All of that is good to know, Val. Ideally, I would like a neck-thru with a double thick carved top and back. The body size should be proportionate with a 335 or Starfire. In doing so, the core wood for the body wings should be hollowed out to it's maximum. On something like this it would be great to have the Series electronics all contained on one side ( like in the older models)~ maybe giving the guitar only one continuous wood back plate.... I would love to use the Skylark body shape but, add a small standard point to it's rear..... etc etc etc....
byoung
Junior
Username: byoung

Post Number: 27
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post

Val,

You're not going to forget about us bass players, are you?

I'm sure there's a few of us that'd like archtops. Make mine 6 string.

Brad
tom_z
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 116
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

Valentino - Thanks for the encouraging reply - it's great to hear that Alembic is open to the idea and I'm glad you have already gotten the ball rolling with Susan. I assumed there would be some research and prototyping - I didn't think Alembic would simply rout out a Skylark and slap on a top with f-holes. I'm sure building an archtop guitar, which is fairly like building an acoustic guitar, has some additional technical issues not encountered every day at Alembic.

My vote is for a totally hollow jazz box. Not a big-body archtop, but a slimline small-body guitar with a carved back and carved top. I can find plenty of decent Gibson 335 type guitars (in fact, I own one that I really love). Also, there is no shortage of true jazz big-body archtop builders out there, but I'm finding it very difficult to find a small, quality, jazz archtop with double cutaways. Don't get me wrong - if Alembic offered something in the nature of a 335 semi-hollow, I'd probably still be all over it.

Another quick comment - there are only a small handful of guitarists that frequent the Alembic Club. Mike, Doug and I have chimed in and Brad mentioned a hollow body bass. I suspect that there are many, many more players and even collectors who would love an Alembic jazz guitar, but just don't hang here in the club.

Whatever specifications Alembic settles on, I know Iíll be looking forward to a future with an Alembic jazz archtop in it.

Tom (the patiently awaiting archtop one)
lbpesq
Advanced Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 346
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 11:02 pm:   Edit Post

My vote is for an Alembic neckthru semi-hollow 335 style. I suspect that Susan would come up with something very choice in place of standard F holes. My experience with hollow bodies (mostly a 330 and acoustics) is that I get feedback problems at levels sufficient to keep up with the band.

The photoshopped Skylark does look cool. How about a semi-hollow Tribute?

Bill, tgo
cleartrueblue
New
Username: cleartrueblue

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 2:07 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Tom...probably obvious, but wouldn't a Casino fit the bill? I'm in the market for a similar guitar, in fact stumbled on this thread via a Google for "hollow, thin" or the like. Casino's probably what I'll buy, because as you've found there are few alternatives. Cheers/Mark
pace
Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 137
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 3:12 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome to the forum Mark!

While a Casino or 330, 335, starfire, etc etc.... would "do the trick", we are pressing (in a round-about way) to have Alembic work their magic on a similar spec..... If you've never played an Alembic, try to search one out~ the choice woods, hardware & electronics are several cuts above the rest!

Bill~ Im not sure, but the Tribute might actually be the best base model to work from~ they've already done a neck-thru & custom shaped one-offs from that platform.... so who knows?!?!?

-Mike
tom_z
Intermediate Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 119
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 7:31 pm:   Edit Post

Mark - welcome to the forum. Mike has it exactly right with respect to Alembic - quality, craftsmanship, amazing tone and playability - their hand-crafted instruments are more than a few notches above mass-produced guitars. I was able to find a small-body fully hollow Gretsch (sorry, don't remember the model) with a floating bridge in the $1200 range, and while it was comfortable enough to play the quality of the construction, fit and finish was only fair. I have noticed similar quality in the Epiphones I've looked at recently. Iíve found Ibanez Artcores to have surprisingly decent quality for production guitars made in China, and picked up an AS-83 semi-hollow for a song, especially compared with the price of a 1960s Gibson 330 or 335.

Maybe I'm a bit spoiled by my Alembic, but it plays, feels and looks like an instrument of the highest quality, and I can't think of a better company to build a small, thin, hollow, tone machine. Granted the cost will easily and justifiably outpace that of an Epiphone Casino.

Mike - I agree that a Tribute would be a fine platform for this project. I suggested the Skylark because I really like the shape and size. I also like the shape of the very difficult to find, Fender Starcaster semi-hollow. Perhaps one day, in the not too distant future, Susan and Mica would bring to bear their formidable creative talents and design a hollow-body from the ground up. Ahh, the dream continues . . . hope Valentino keeps nudging . . . =)

Tom
bigredbass
Advanced Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 391
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 10:42 pm:   Edit Post

If I remember correctly, Yamaha's SA2000/SA2200s are neck thru 335's. I'd always imagined this was a way to use the neck thru neck blanks from SG2000s to economise manufacturing somewhat.
(By the way, if you're a 335 player, NEVER try one of these guitars: You'll have to have one, and wonder what happened to your 335.)

While I generally have a dim view of guitars in general, I must admit that one day I will own an Ibanez George Benson and the Martin Taylor Yamaha AES . . . Archtops are just nobility to me.

J o e y
bigredbass
Advanced Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 392
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 10:48 pm:   Edit Post

It just came to me after looking a Tom's photoshop Skylark: The tailpiece!

Use the ALEMBIC logo. The strings would anchor in the v-shape clouds, and curve the A L E M B I C to match the curve of the body. Carved in some suitably spiffy wood, of course.

J o e y
palembic
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1981
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2005 - 12:24 am:   Edit Post

I am with you Brother Joey.
Though I will get for the Epiphone Zephir Blues Deluxe.

The upcoming Alembic Archtop will be out of my league anyway.

Paul the bad one

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