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Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 890
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 9:03 am:   Edit Post

I've been a member of the Alembic family for over ten years now and just finally made the trip to Santa Rosa. Bill Panzer was gracious enough to pick me up in downtown San Fran and the two of us headed north to Alembic for a little visit capped off with In and Out Burger on the way back.

I'd met Ron and Mica before at various Gatherings but it was almost surreal to finally meet Susan after all the emails and phone conversations that have taken place during my few builds. Mica gave us a great tour, only some of which I remember thanks to the five minutes we spent in the spray booth.


Seriously was amazing to finally see where all the magic happens. The club (especially the FTC thread) only gives you a glimpse of what really happens up there. And I have to admit. I've cursed under my breath over the years several times during my builds because of the wait. But when you see in person what they are doing and how few people they have doing it, you gain an entirely new appreciation for the process. It doesn't necessarily make it easier. After all, most of us are impatient by nature. But it helps you gain a new understanding. I strongly recommend that anyone (especially those doing a build) make the trip if you can.

Anyway, here's a pic of me holding my latest. It was hard to let it go.

Thanks again to everyone for a great afternoon!

Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1016
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 9:11 am:   Edit Post

I agree with you completely Jonathan! When I toured the Mothership I also gained a whole new appreciation for these incredible instruments, & for why they take so long & cost so much! They are worth every minute & every penny! I'm just fixing to start my 1st custom build (Susan is picking out wood next week!), so I am glad I have toured the factory & know what to expect. It may not make the wait any less painful, but it does help me understand it.

Congrats on your new guitar! It is gorgeous!

Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1588
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 1:09 pm:   Edit Post

I really like the body shape on your new guitar- gonna be gorgeous!
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11215
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

Beautiful guitar! (Nice t-shirt too!) Glad you got to take the tour. Oh, and that's a nice smile on your face as well.
Advanced Member
Username: rraymond

Post Number: 391
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 5:46 pm:   Edit Post

I was about to say "Beautiful guitar!" Then I saw Dave's post! I agree with Dave and I'm glad to see a Fan headstock. Right on!
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5576
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 6:58 pm:   Edit Post

The picture doesn't do the guitar justice. The wood is incredible in person - almost liquid-like and not as dark as it appears in the photo. This one's going to be sweet when it's done.

Bill, tgo

(Message edited by Lbpesq on October 26, 2013)
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1605
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 9:23 pm:   Edit Post

Is that Rippled Satin?

Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 891
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 9:53 am:   Edit Post

Thanks guys. Peter, I'm not sure if it's Rippled Satin. Sure is a strong resemblance on the back, though.

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2068
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post

When I had my green Elan Five built, I made a choice to never call and ask about it: This wasn't their first rodeo, and a small shop like Alembic doesn't work like a steady production line operation like Gibson or Fender.

The work is sequential for sure, but with far fewer people hopping from one guitar to another, spending a LOT more time getting it right, as the various pieces pass this step to the next, you get a lot of leap-frogging at the much slower pace required for this level of work. Nobody can speed up how long it takes glue to cure, paint to dry, etc., plus it will have to wait for this guy to do his thing, then wait to go to Ron, etc. Then there's flu season, holidays, vacation, you name it, and the bench is not very deep: People who can do this don't grow on trees, and you can't get inlay artists at the local Temp agency.

Then they have their own targets internally. I just described the color to Susan over the phone;
we never exchanged paint chips or anything, I trusted her to 'get it'. Well they shot it once, and decided 'this ain't it', and started over, with NO input from me, they just decided to try again. Again, I knew nothing about it.

When I got it, it was exactly what I'd had in mind. Unbelievable.

But see, I knew this going in, so I said 'I'll get it when it's finished', and that was that. I knew I couldn't stay that excited for ten or eleven months, but geez did it hit me when Will and I took it out of the shipping box and opened that case for the first time !

Nice axe, Doc, and I dig you went with the Fan head too.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 955
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 2:33 pm:   Edit Post

Love the notches in the horns!!! Little Bear was the first "Darling", is this one a "first" too?!?!?
Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 892
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 2:40 pm:   Edit Post


Thanks. Yeah...I think the fan headstock is perfect for this guitar also.


I love the curled horns as well. Wish I could take credit for the idea but I stole it from an old Series bass that's somewhere in the archives.
Senior Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 1049
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, October 28, 2013 - 2:03 am:   Edit Post

The next time any of you (club members)happened to go to the mothership my bass old #12 is currently there already fixed up..... mica has my approval to let anyone give it a test drive!......i'm serialnumber#12 and I approve this message!

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