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Username: pakalolofi

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 12:21 pm:   Edit Post

Hey there everyone, I've been lurking on this board for a couple months now and since I'm getting into the speculation phase here I figured I might as well take the plunge.
All of you seem to be knowledgeable in the realms of stringed accoutrements and audio accompaniment and so perhaps you may have an opinion on the idea I've been working on here.
I play guitar and will be ordering a Skylark here in just a little while. What I'm thinking is this... Skylark body style plus the standard omega cut, neck-thru (flame maple,purpleheart,ebony,ph,fm)

Also I'm thinking wineburst flame maple top with a thin vermillion laminate, a natural colored flame maple mid layer, another thin vermillion laminate and a wineburst flame maple back.
Satin neck finish with the standard skylark electronics to finish it off. Again this is my conceptual period so any insight from anyone who has delved into the next to endless possibilities would be useful. This is the third re-incarnation of my guitar here and I think I could use some experienced advice on the different "flavor" of tonewoods, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully dropping a line or two in respone. I'm looking forward to joining the club. Sorry if I've made a jackass out of myself.

Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 184
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 1:45 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Kyle, and welcome to the forum!

Im not sure if Alembic has yet to make a neck-thru Skylark, let alone one with an Omega cut.... I have yet to see a Skylark with a rear laminate, so that's a lot of "firsts" which could mean a lot of extra $$$$ added to the base price of a Skylark.... That's a lot of Flame Maple~ personally I would do a core with something light and resonant (ash, mahogany). Do you want the overall thickness to be the same as a regular Skylark, or would the rear laminate add extra depth?!?

If I were you, I'd e-mail Val and see if all your ideas are possible, then e-mail Susan for a quote.

When I get around to ordering my next guitar I'm going to have a lot of the same questions~ Im going to need more funds before I even think of asking!!!! lol....
Username: pakalolofi

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 2:14 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for the response.
I actually have sent a couple emails to Val already and what you are saying is quite true.
This would be a first both for a neck thru and an omega cut on a skylark and yes they would cost quite a bit of extra $$$. I think it would be worth it personally. I was thinking the same thing about the overkill of flame maple but I must confess I remain somewhat ignorant as to what sort of wood would make a sweet core. I was also thinking of keeping the same thickness as the stock skylark, just giving it a certain je ne sais quoi by adding in a couple thin laminates of some sort. Once again however I am lacking in knowledge as to which woods would retain a good rich biting tone.
Advanced Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 205
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 3:58 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome Kyle.

I am not an expert on tone woods - Susan, Mica, and Val are, though, and if you can describe the tone you're after, I'm sure they can make suggestions for wood combinations. It is my understanding that on a neck-thru most of the tone will come from the neck woods. The combination of woods Susan suggested for my Skylark are, not only what I was looking for in appearance, but are perfectly suited to my playing in terms of tone.

I think an omega would be a nice touch on a Skylark, in fact, I have a Further on order that will have a heart omega. I'm not sure if Alembic has made a Further with an omega, either.

I love the Skylark electronics and I'm looking forward to exploring the electronics package on the Further.

Good luck configuring your guitar - you're at the beginning of a very satisfying process. If you have any specific questions about the Skylark, I'm happy to relate my personal experiences.

Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 22
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 6:42 pm:   Edit Post

Dear Kyle: I'm responding to your post because I feel I may have some meaningful feedback (but judge this for yourself) insofar as I'm the proud owner of one of Alembics' most elaborate customs to date, and it has many similar elements to your specifications. My custom 8 string bocate Europa bass can be seen in the archives (C.o.T.M, June 1999), and also my recent "allow me to formally introduce myself" thread (in "introductions). It has a flame maple body, as well as a 13 piece neck made of ebony, purpleheart, rock maple, and flame maple.

First of all, though you're a youngster, you seem to have a fairly clear idea of what you want. This is good. Yet, you're seeking feedback. This is also good. I'll give you some.

First, let me ask you, are you dead set on the Skylark body and electronics? I strongly recommend you familiarize yourself (assuming you haven't) with the "Q" function on other Alembic instruments. I consider it an indispensible tone-shaping tool, and cannot conceive of an Alembic without it; I think if you had the opportunity to play an Alembic instrument with a "Q" switch/function, you might well also insist upon it. The versatility it adds to the Alembic low-pass filter cannot be adequately described with words. In my opionion, anyone who has the filter without the Q switch is missing out, and only getting half the picture.

With that said, I'll echo what Tom Z said. Mica has said that Alembic's experience indicates -WITH NECK-THRUS- that the choice of neckwoods and the electronics package are the main factors that influence the instruments sound; body-wood is next, and top/back laminates are last.

Rock maple is the traditional neck material; it is strong and consistent, and has a bright sound. Purpleheart is denser, and increases sustain. Ebony is denser yet, and increases sustain more. Adding a combination of these will increase sustain... but also the mass/weight.

Flame maple is less dense than rock maple, and has a "warmer" sound, more like mahagoney. Because it is less dense, it is also less strong. At the time of my commission, Mica told me they wouldn't generally recommend it for a neck material on a bass. Of course, a guitar has a shorter scale with less tension, so it is less of an issue (on my bass, the flame maple laminates are the outer laminates of the neck, and therefore less relevant structurally, as well). So if you had a 5 piece neck with flame maple laminates on the outside, it would surely be fine. You might consider having 2 ebony laminates and 1 purpleheart instead of your configuration -though it'll surely look and sound good either way... but ebony is even more awesome than purpleheart.

Maple typically has a bright sound; flame maple is a little "warmer" (as opposed to "bright").

The concept you have would likely produce a guitar with a warm/bright sound with substantially "above average" sustain -as well as above average mass/weight. (Although I wouldn't say it would be anything to be afraid of).

I'd definitely recommend (again) familiarizing yourself with the Q switch on Alembic instruments... without it, the low-pass filter only has half the magic. Also, you MIGHT (or might not) want to consider the "quick change" tone changed switches on the Europa/Rogue basses. These are 3 position toggles that can boost or cut the treble and bass +/- 6 db. They are very handy. Of course, they could give you full rotery knobs. But this seems less important on a guitar, for some reason. (I play both bass and guitar).

Another issue is whether or not you want mono or stereo electronics. Again, it seems less essential for guitar to have individual tone control for each pickup, but it is an option that Alembic could deliver, if you wanted it. I actually can't recall seeing an Alembic stereo guitar, although I'm sure they've made 'em, and I've either forgotton or just never seen 'em. But they could do it, if you wanted.

Check out the electronic packages on the Signiture series, and on the Europa/Rogue basses.

I'd recommend having the Signature electronics with added (bass + treble) boost/cut switches for each pickup... it would give you mind-blowing versatility... in lieu of this, I'd recommend the standard Europa/Rogue electronics for your guitar, which would give you essentially the same versatility, except in mono instead of stereo...

Good luck with your project, Kyle! I look forward to seeing it. By the way, the choice of colors... the vermillion accents... is great!

One other thing you may (or may not) be interested in is the "bookmatch to center" option for your front and/or rear laminates. Just something to think about.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2499
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - 4:11 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Kyle; welcome to the group. Sounds like a nice project!
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 405
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 3:15 am:   Edit Post

Hi Kyle and welcome to the club. Sounds like a really nice project - I'd hurry up and make your mind up though, Susan just announced a 6% price increase in January. Check out the November special aswell, there are alot of options you can add to make your guitar as special to you as Marks' bass is to him.

Username: pakalolofi

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Friday, November 04, 2005 - 12:06 pm:   Edit Post

Hey guys, thanks again for the hearty welcome and all the advice/opinions. I have a bit more experience with stringed instruments than my age might suggest so I would say I do know quite the tone(s) I am looking for. A massive sustain is one of the first things I was looking for so it is good to hear about the wood combinations that might make this possible. Aside from (obviously) the looks, that same sustain stands as my #1 reason for requesting a neck-thru. My guitar right now is a p.o.s for sure, but it's a semi-hollow so I'm gonna have to get used to the weight of this baby once it's finally here. In terms of the Flame Maple; a "warmer" as opposed to "brighter" tone is also what I am after. I had hoped that a warm tone coupled with tons of sustain might keep the clarity at a highpoint while still allowing for richness of texture and less trebly while still biting highs (although clarity is what Alembic is famous for no?)
I am not dead set on the skylark electronics, I'm just not terribly familiar with any of the other packages. Perhaps I'm being blind here but I can't seem to find anything specifically about the q-switch, and any links to any sort of detailed write up on all the electronics options would be excellent. Sorry for the inconvenience. I've been looking at the Nov. specials and I must say it's urging me along to get this started but I still have so much to do!!!
Thanks everyone again for your help.

Advanced Member
Username: jlpicard

Post Number: 241
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Sunday, November 06, 2005 - 12:54 am:   Edit Post

If you look in the guitar price list section of the Alembic site you'll see that they do make a series one and two guitar. Definitely stereo and a Q switch per pickup. Better be sitting down when you check the price list though. Also I believe the Spectrum and California Special both have Q swithes.

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