Swirly Pat visited our shop in 2007, took the "grand tour" and got to see the place where we make our magic happen. This started the wheels turning, and a few years later in late 2010, he decided to take the plunge and get his custom guitar on order. The woods he wanted were pretty well defined at the onset, but as a little time went on, let's just say Pat began to get creative!
While at a work-related trade show, he found some time to look through the Custom Archives and the then-new Custom Options page. After a quick inquiry about adding custom inlays, we were readying the Scrolls inlay for his guitar, with a little twist at the 12th fret to display his initials. Options like custom inlays do increase the delivery time, and when they are added after we start, it can create a bigger delay than if the guitar goes through the shop without changes. But you could never tell that Swirled wasn't a complete thought from the get-go. The way all the details relate to each other, we're pretty sure that Pat knew all along what he was doing, and his plan came together perfectly.

Coco Bolo When Coco Bolo shows concentric rings, we often refer to it as "Swirly Girl" figuring in the shop. This piece combines the sweeping flow of cathedral grain with a couple of pools of excellent swirl. It's the inspiration for this guitar's nickname.

Backplate Can you imagine if we had brass backplates on this guitar? We'd be missing all the best parts of the back laminate. Continuous wood plates to the rescue! They also shave nearly a pound off the overall weight, so they are easy on the back as well as the eyes.

Brass Hardware The solid brass hardware is made here in our shop. This clean bridge design is further complemented by concealing the intonation screw hardware. A discrete row of access holes on the tailpiece side of the bridge rail allows access to intonate the saddles. On the top edge, it's just smooth polished brass.

peghead peghead
We made veneers for the front and back of the peghead of Swirled from the same board we used to contruct the body laminates. Especially with an unusual color and grain combination, it's the only way to truly have a match. The Further model usually has an Ebony laminate for the front veneer, but Pat wanted to have it Coco Bolo all around. An excellent choice!

Initials One other very minor detail is the interior peghead veneers. These strength-building ultra-thin slices of wood are usually alternating layers of Maple and Walnut, but since there's so much red color from the Coco Bolo and the Vermilion in the body and neck, we decided to use maple and Vermilion. It may be something you wouldn't even notice without it being pointed out, and that's precisely what some of the best custom features do, just sit there quietly without drawing too much attention.
Sandwich Another slight departure from the standard model, Swirled has Vermilion as the primary body wood. To keep the red and white theme complete, the accent laminates are alternating layers of Maple and Vermilion veneers that look oh so sharp.

Scroll Hard to go wrong with our rather swirly scroll inlays. These are handcut here at our shop using a small jeweller's saw, so each one is unique.
The complete inlay has resonating forms that are reminiscent of vibrating strings with nodes.
PT For Pat's personalization of his initials "PT" we worked hard to select a font that would look right with the scroll inlays. Rodrigo Xavier Cavazos' Alembic suggested itself, though I confess that I slightly altered the "P" to keep the symmetry of the overall inlay design.
Swirled is such a lovely guitar. We just love how all the red hues compliment each other, and that Flame Maple in the neck is simply gorgeous. Pat, you were a complete and total dream to work with, and we thoroughly enjoyed this build from start to finish.

Front Back


  • Further guitar
  • Coco Bolo top and back
  • Flame Maple, Vermilion and Cherry neck
  • Vermilion body
  • Coco Bolo front and back peghead veneers
  • Ebony fingerboard with white mother of pearl Scrolls inlays
  • Custom initial inlay at 12th fret in white mother of pearl
  • Solid brass hardware
  • Side LEDs in red
  • Inlaid logo with golden mother of pearl cloud and abalone rays
featured custom

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Text and photos of bass by Mica Wickersham Thomas, © 2011, 2012 Alembic, Inc.

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