Diamond Eye Jack

Diamond Eye Jack When we first met CJ, he told us this story from when he was a child to help us understand why we were going to be building him this particular guitar:
"When I approached Dad, Service Merchandise catalog in-hand and pointing to the guitar with the built-in speaker, his natural inclination was to instead go to the local music store. Later that day, we walked out with a shiny red Stratocaster. He handed me 'Blind Faith' and 'Super Session' and told me to learn them. An ambitious assignment to be sure, but then again, Dad was not always fond of starting at step 1. I was 12, and that's how it all began for me. Although he could not play an instrument or hold a tune, Dad made sure to get me on the right musical track early on."
As the spec list evolved on this guitar, it was clear that the task was not only to satisfy CJ's current needs in a musical instrument, but it was to be an object to share with future generations of his family, and keep the memory of Jack alive.
"Every aspect of my original intention has been thoughtfully preserved and fantastically executed here - a tall order, indeed! From the breathtaking interpretation of an old family photograph, to the exacting geometry of the custom control layout (right down to the precise distance between the 1/4" jacks), you'd think there was a small group of mind readers in Santa Rosa - that's how on point these folks are. The unique sound of this guitar is at once mellow and articulate, defined and haunting, and it always makes me smile. I get out of it what I put in - all any musician could ask of their instrument. The mindfulness of Alembic to honor the vision, and their mastery of instrument making, has produced a family heirloom unmistakably deserving of Jack's memory."
DE Jack himself Perched on a weathered chair, Diamond-Eyed Jack is enjoying a moonlit night under the stars in Mexico while listening to music with headphones. CJ sent a copy of a picture of his dad, seated as shown in the inlay. We added items that were highly identified with Jack: the blue shirt with pocket, tobacco pipe, and headphones.
The diamond was one of several that were previously mounted in a ring that Jack wore. These were once in CJ's mother's mother's engagement ring. The gold of Jack's ring was combined from his and his wife's original wedding bands. This is sentimental value like nobody's business!
So it's understandable that we were more than a little stressed when it came time to mount "the" diamond. We tried samples with cubic zirconia, and these were not satisfying. Since we were glueing the diamond in place under the finish (we contemplated other mounting styles), there was only one shot. After staring at all these parts for a couple of months, and not feeling confident about our cubic zirconia tests, Mica went to a local jeweler and bought a small diamond to make the mounting test so we could be confident when we used "the" diamond. What a difference!

inlays Little "wedge" inlays in black Tahitian mother of pearl have an almost "not there" appearance. Framed on one edge by the slope of the string and on the other by the fret, these deceptively simple inlays took much planning to look as natural as they do.
For the first 11 frets, the inlays travel along the bass side of the fingerboard, while on the 13th-24th frets, they shift to the treble side. At the 12th fret, a wedge is on each side of the fingerboard in white mother of pearl with CJ inlaid in black Tahitian mother of pearl oh so stealthily in the center.
Logo inlay Responding to CJ's request for the "bluest paua shell" we dug in to our stashes to retrieve these amazing azure shell pieces.

peghead peghead
That logo with its paua shell rays sure looks grand sitting atop the Crown peghead. CJ kept the Further's standard Ebony front veneer on the peghead. The contrast between the silver logo, the white mother of pearl and abalone against the black of the Ebony is striking.
On the back of the peghead, we've coordinated with a piece of Coco Bolo veneer that we made from the same board as the back of the guitar. Interior veneers are Maple and Purpleheart instead of the standard Maple and Walnut, as there is no Walnut component elsewhere in the guitar to reflect this detail.
Oh look, a little peek at that wonderful neck recipe: Flame Maple primary pair surrounds Purpleheart laminates, Maple veneers and a central stripe of Ebony. The Ebony adds an almost comical amount of sustain. At least, you are prone to smiling when you hold a note on this guitar until it decays, which we were told by CJ is longer than any instrument in the group he plays with.
bronze dots Perhaps a bit unusual these days, CJ elected to have traditional bronze side dots inlaid on the side of the fingerboard. Bronze was the standard non-LED side marker until the mid-1990s when we switched to aluminum. Just one of those little things that doesn't even look custom unless you are in the know.
buttons To access the scrolling function on the Roland controller, we've fashioned two small push buttons capped with matching Coco Bolo. These little dimples are easy to find, and easy to use. They are another feature that you have to seek out, they just aren't obvious at first.

sidejack For the MIDI output of the guitar, we craft a plate of Coco Bolo and fasten the connector to it. After carving to the same contour as the edge of the guitar, this plate gets the same finish as the rest of the instrument.
electronics Inside the electronics cavity is a study in artful cramming. There's LOTS going on under the hood. Though CJ had us somewhat simplify the Further electronics with a 5-way switch instead of the individual pickup selector switches, there's plenty of custom stuff too.
For example, the neck and bridge pickups share a filter control, since they are not on at the same time. Without the individual off/on/bright switches, CJ chose to have a global bright switch. Additionally, there is a global gain boost switch, for those times when you need a little extra "oomph" without changing the other controls (and ease of return to the pre-"oomph" phrases).
Standard effects loop on/off control is included, as well as the scrolling and volume controls for the synth.
sandwich The Flame Maple core looks so beautiful on this guitar. It's framed with alternating layers of Maple and Purpleheart veneers before being capped with the Coco Bolo top and back.
"Diamond-Eyed Jack: a loving testament to the enduring impact Dad has made on me. It is constructed the way he'd have done it - a purpose behind every decision, flawlessly and beautifully presented, to an obsessively high level of detail.

"It's not just a guitar. It is a celebration of a life well-lived - a remembrance that will be passed down to younger hands for a long, long time."
It is both our honor and pleasure to be a part of your lasting family history. Thank you so much CJ, for entrusting us with this duty.

Front Back


  • Further guitar
  • Coco Bolo top and back
  • Flame Maple, Purpleheart, and Ebony 25.5" scale neck
  • Flame Maple body
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Custom wedge and initials fingerboard inlays
  • Custom "Diamond-Eyed Jack" medallion inlay
  • Custom "D.E. Jack" nameplate inlay
  • Bronze side position markers
  • Roland GK-3 pickup, side mounted MIDI output
  • Custom electronics
  • Continuous wood backplates and truss rod cover
  • Inlaid logo with shell and rays
  • Birthday: August 1, 2012
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Text and photos of guitar by Mica W. Thomas, ©2012, 2013 Alembic, Inc.

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