Soul Bass

Soul Bass There's always a lot of decisions to make when custom ordering a bass. Which wood to choose, special inlays, body shape, fingerboard dimensions, the list is truly endless. But when John was dreaming of a "bass for his soul," some of the decisions were easy to make, since he'd been down the Custom Alembic Road before.
The heart of this design is the Ebony central neck laminate. John was intrigued by the promise of added fundamental sustain that this wood delivers. The rest of the features grew naturally from this seed. We had recently uncovered a stash of very old Macassar Ebony from our back stock drawers, and it was perfect for Soul Bass.

Macassar Ebony top The rich and deep color hints at the rich and deep tone this wood imparts to Soul Bass. The elegance of Ebony is undeniable.

Psalm 103 The 24th fret bears an inlay in mother of pearl with "PSALM 103" carved through it. Unlike engraving, if this fingerboard is ever refretted, the words will not be lost in the sanding process.
When John shared a few pictures of his new bass on the Alembic Club he shared this about the inlay: "The 24th fret is a bible verse reference (Psalm 103 bless the Lord oh my soul) to a song from the musical Godspell. I play a lot of local musical theater and Godspell is one of my favorites. Also, I play for Harvest Bible Chapel on Sundays, so the two tied in nicely together."
Oval inlay Black Tahitian mother of pearl is the perfect compliment to the dark wood of this bass. In changing light, it takes on green and pink flashes, and from other angles, they almost vanish into the expanse of the fingerboard.

peghead peghead
Europa peghead shape in a 4+1 configuration is the standard pairing with the Europa body shape. We positioned the grain parallel to the long straight edge of the inline pegead.
The interior veneers are Maple and Walnut, and give added strength the the peghead. They also help direct the force if the bass is unfortunate to suffer a damaging blow so that any future repair at the site is both inexpensive and effective.

Hardware Blackened brass hardware is just so right on the Soul Bass. We machine our usual solid brass hardware and do a complete setup. Then the brass parts are loaded off the bass and polished by hand with progressively finer and finer compounds. Only then are the parts ready to send to the plater who takes great care in getting our jeweler's quality finish. Next we reassemble the hardware, and do the setup all over again. This way, even the slots where the strings rest in the string nut and the bridge saddles are all palted and there is no place for corrosion to start.
It's a little extra trouble to do it this way, but nobody ever accused us of doing things the easy way!
Hippie Sandwich Let's not forget about the "Hippie Sandwich" layers of the body. The center of the body is Mahogany, with accent laminates of Maple with tiny pinstripe veneers of Purpleheart.
When you look at the front and back pictures of the body, you can see how these layers are revealed and spread out in the tummy and elbow contours.
Inlaid logo Just to dress up the Soul Bass a little bit more, we added an inlaid sterling silver logo with mother of pearl and abalone shell. It's under the finish, and completely smooth to the touch.
One of the fun things about this build is that John elected to not have update photos posted through the Factory to Customer section of our forum. I sent him a couple of pictures of wood before we built, and a final snapshot just before shipping. What a thrill it must have been to open that case!

Front Back


  • Series I 5-string bass
  • Macassar Ebony top and back
  • Mahogany body
  • Maple, Purpleheart, and Ebony neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Black Tahitian mother of pearl oval inlays
  • Mother of pearl "PSALM 103" nameplate
  • Inlaid logo with shell
  • Continuous wood backplates
  • Blue side LEDs
  • Blackened brass hardware
featured custom

Wallpaper: 1600x1200 1280x1024 1024x768 800x600
Widescreen: 2560x1440 1920x1200 1680x1050

Text by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2012 Alembic, Inc.
Photos by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2012 Alembic, Inc.

Custom Archive · Get a Custom Quote
The Specials · The Products · The People · The Place · The Support · Site Index