Blanca Gary always wanted a custom bass with a Maple fingerboard. Ever since he got his first bass in 1971, a black Fender Jazz Bass with a Maple fingerboard, he fell in love with the look of Maple on the fingerboard. Shortly after that bass was stolen, he saw the article in Guitar Player in 1973 about Jack Casady's bass, the very first Alembic bass, and he was smitten with the idea of having a custom made bass of his own.
Fast forward a few years, and that ol' Maple fingerboard popped up again, this time in the form of John Lodge's Series I bass in Satinwood with a (you guessed it) Maple fingerboard. Another few years of fast forward and Gary saw the Featured Custom Pure Brilliance and that cemented the idea: it was time to place his custom order. After gleaning over the other Featured Customs and the Factory to Custom section of the Alembic Club, all the pieces fell in place and Blanca was ready to take form.

Quilted Maple We often start with the top wood on the Featured Custom stories, and why wouldn't we when such fine examples keep presenting themselves? This outrageous 5A Quilted Maple top looks great in pictures, but in person, it's a showstopper. Gary agrees that the pictures truly do not do the natural beauty of the wood justice.

Pickup Gary ordered his bass through Will Gunn Guitars, and Will had recently received a Purpleheart Rogue bass with cream pickups (scroll down this page to see it). When Gary saw that bass on Will's website, it was like a light bulb over his head - the idea was instant and the result is stunning.

Fingerboard OK, this is really the departure from standard on this bass. The Bird's-eye Maple fingerboard has great figuring, a striking white color and is coated with our polyester finish to protect it. Abalone inlays give a little echo to that original Jazz bass with black block inlays, for some nice contrast and a dash of color.
On Alembic basses and guitars, there are only a handful of examples, perhaps a dozen, with Maple fingerboards. This of course may change in the future, but for now it's a rare bird indeed.

peghead peghead
The front and back veneers on the peghead match the body faces perfectly. The interior veneers are Purpleheart and Maple, instead of the usual Walnut and Maple to coordinate better with the overall look of the bass.

LEDs These green LEDs are like bright little peridots sparkling away. Gary recently had a chance to use these on stage, "tucked away in the dark corner like most bassists" he told us. He was overjoyed at how useful they were. Neither too dim nor too bright, they realy helped him out. They also distracted the drummer slightly, who wondered aloud, "Where did you get that bass?!"
Recently we've been fitting basses and guitars that have LEDs with a trim pot to adjust the brightness. We tend to set them quite a bit dimmer than in years past, to be just at that "bright enough" stage without becoming a distraction. Of course, you are always welcome to make your own adjustments and crank them up to runway lights if you want to.
knobs Gary had Bird's-eye Maple knobs made by Roger at THG knobs to coordinate with the fingerboard. There's a tiny abalone dot on the top to indicate position. The knob shape is modelled after our classic black military "hat" knobs.
Gary told us that now, even months after he received Blanca, "everytime he opens the case, it's like a ray of sunshine." That just brings a smile to all our faces. We are delighted to be a part of your musical life, Gary.

Front Back


  • Signature Deluxe
  • Quilted Maple top and back
  • Maple and Purpleheart 34" scale neck
  • Mahogany body
  • Bird's-eye Maple fingerboard
  • Abalone oval inlays
  • Cream pickups
  • Solid brass hardware
  • Side LEDs in green
  • Omega body shape
  • THG knobs in Bird's-eye Maple
featured custom

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Text and photos of bass by Mica Wickersham Thomas, ©2012 Alembic, Inc.
Jazz Bass is a registered trademark of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

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