Alembic Club

Alembic products => Factory to Customer => Topic started by: mica on October 27, 2003, 11:30:43 PM

Title: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on October 27, 2003, 11:30:43 PM
Your Ebony neck laminates are in the stack on the left:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/6459.jpg)  
 
These drying racks serve to secure the laminates if they're still a little wet at the center when we slice it. These were at 12% when cut, still a little wet for us. We keep them under pressure while they finish drying.  
 
I wasn't too impressed with the Bird's-eye I saw last weekend. I've got a request in with our favorite wood supplier for the right Ebony for the top. He should be back in touch by Thursday.  
 
In the meantime, we will make the inlay artwork and get that part of the project finalized.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on November 12, 2003, 06:45:45 PM
First stage of the neck:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/6687.jpg)
  and up so close:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/6688.jpg)
  The Mahogany looks lighter in these pictures than in real life.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on December 08, 2003, 02:05:09 PM
Okay ...let me refrase this: you call a bass with ebony laminates and an ebony top a simple bass. Now ...simple ...huh ...maybe .. but defintely not modest.
 
I'm really curious how simple this is gonna be.  
 
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 15, 2004, 12:39:15 AM
Buncha new Ebony going up over in the wood bank (you've got pick of the litter on those new posts). Sorry I couldn't email you - we've been working on all the computers here and I don't have email access at the moment.  
 
I'll be in the office very briefly tomorrow and then I'll be back on the 21st. I may come home with more Ebony, so we'll go over your selection at that time.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 16, 2004, 02:16:06 AM
hi mica
 
that's nice macassar! i particularly like 3138 'bars'
 
may i please see 3138 with the template outline on the boards, and also flipped around, outside-edges in, with the template outline?   are the boards long enough to get btc peghead-veneer slices from the top center?
 
is there any gabon to look at?
 
questions, questions, questions . . .
 
 
thanks, and best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: valvil on January 16, 2004, 01:12:33 PM
hello Marc,
 
welcome to the club.
 
Mica is not in the office at all today; her post was made Wednesday/Thursday night, so she meant that Thursday she was going to be in briefly, not today; she'll be back on Tuesday, so she wont' be able to satisfy your requests until later next week.
 
Valentino
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 21, 2004, 04:57:02 PM
I'll get the pics done up for you as you've asked. You can check in later tonight for them. I stopped by my main wood supplier's place on Monday. He said everyone is moaning at him for Ebony, and he hasn't seen a new shipment in over a year. I bought a bunch of Macassar from him (pretty much what he had left), and that will be up here by mid February, but it's not darker than the selections I have right now.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 21, 2004, 06:17:56 PM
Here's the 3138 reversed:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7850.jpg)
  and with a touch of the acetone to get a feel for its darkness:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7851.jpg)
  We need to go over the enlarged baby bass design with you. Here's Kris' full scale cartoon of the design:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7852.jpg)
  and also superimposed on the wood at close to the proper scale. Without a template yet, an outline would be a tall order.   Anyway, after you digest all this let me know what you think.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 21, 2004, 06:20:08 PM
Oops - here's that superimposed jobber:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7854.jpg)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 22, 2004, 09:41:18 AM
hi mica
 
thanks for the new images.  i have a couple of observations
 
3138 did look better with the numbered board on the right, compared to the way we have them now.  if we go with 3138, i'd like the boards the way they were in the original image
 
in regard to body shape, kris's design has a different bottom shape, and it seems 'hippier'than the original EvH 'baby bass':
 
http://club.alembic.com/Images/411/3287.html?1067286141 (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=8785)
 
i understand that there are several issues involved in scaling a design to a larger body size.  if possible, however, i'd like the bottom cut to be identical in shape to the original:  a graceful double-scallop cut with a 'minipoint' on the centerline, rather than two dimples with a round bulge on the centerline as it is in kris's 'cartoon'
 
the shapes of the horns are perfect, but i'd like the horns and the hips to be more symmetrical in size, as in the original baby bass:  either bigger horns or smaller hips.  could you try moving the waist a little further toward the bottom?  that would take same mass away from the hips
 
if kris could work a bit more on those two aspects of the design, i'd appreciate it
 
since i can't have a gabon ebony as i had hoped,  i need to think some more about the top wood.  once again  i'm considering a figured purpleheart, as i mentioned in a recent message.   do you have any figured (flame or otherwise) purpleheart in stock?
 
i'll try to call you in a little while
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 22, 2004, 01:05:17 PM
Nice to speak with you this morning. Took some acetone to your neck and that wacky wood so you could see them together:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7868.jpg)
 
We'll post the next revision of the body shape tomorrow. I think we're on the same page as far as the lower shape and the slope of the hips. The horns on the baby bass aren't particularly symmetrical to my view. I think on the scale dup version they're pretty much spot-on to the baby bass. Once we get the rest of the shape nailed, I'm sure it will all blend in well.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 22, 2004, 01:09:39 PM
Oh yeah, check the wood bank (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=7927) for the acetone over a slightly larger area on the top.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 22, 2004, 02:07:20 PM
 
 
(Message edited by marcm on January 22, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 22, 2004, 03:01:06 PM
hi mica
 
i checked out your new postings; thanks!  503 'wacky walnut' is now the prime suspect for my top, but i'm taking another look through the wood bank to see if anything jumps out and grabs me
 
ok, here's what i found:
 
the boards i like best are: superb walnuts 242 'melange' and 236 'high contrast radiating flame'; redwood 1701 'dense burl with flame' (which is probably actually too red for me, though i can't tell from the image); and the cocobolo 3121 'dark & unusual color'
 
if i went with 236, i'd want the boards to be upside-down relative to their orientation in the image, so that the little 'pouch' of interesting figure that is presently at the top of the image would coincide with the 'baby's bottom' of the body.  the nice figure at the opposite end, presently at the bottom of the image, would make a beautiful btc peghead
 
if i went with 3121, i'd want to keep the sapwood.  as in 236, there's a great btc peghead just waiting to happen, at the top of the image.  ah, now i see that half of 3121 got used for the back of courtney's beautiful tribute.  i guess that rules it out
 
so the two 'most probables' for me are 503 'wacky walnut', actually myrtle; and 236  'high contrast radiating flame', upside down.  242 'melange' is also a possibility
 
about the horns:   i love them exactly the way kris drew them, which looks just like on tania's bass.  by more symmetric, i was referring to a desired symmetry between the width across the horns and the width across the hips:   i'd like the bass to be somewhat less steatopygous.  we'll see what kris comes up with tomorrow
 
and then let's talk
 
thanks, and best regards
 
 
marc
 
p.s.  one more thing:  i know that sometimes you fill in voids in boards.  if the smallish voidy-looking things are in fact voids, could they be filled with ebony?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on January 25, 2004, 01:14:23 PM
Added some pics in the wood bank. Try 1322 and 1505 for the Maple Burls we were discussing on Friday.    Here's that w-i-d-e piece of Bloodwood:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7906.jpg)
and with a closeup:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7907.jpg)
    The voids in Myrtle are frequently filled with Ebony.   (Message edited by mica on January 25, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 25, 2004, 02:39:09 PM
hi mica
 
the burl maples are beautiful!  i especially like 1322 'scattered burls'.  when kris has had a chance to revise the body outline, could i please see it superimposed on 1322?
 
if we go with 1322, i'm leaning toward an ebony laminate under the top, as we discussed; and ebony peghead veneers, front and back
 
we may be getting close to building the 'simple' bass!
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on January 25, 2004, 03:00:06 PM
It's getting lesser and lesser simple IMHO
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 25, 2004, 05:05:40 PM
hi paul
 
the original idea was to use the birdseye-maple board that you can see at the top of the 'for harrison' thread.  unfortunately, when the board was sliced for the bookmatch-to-center, it was funky inside.  at that point i asked mica to find me a board of gabon ebony, so the bass would be just two woods: mahogany for the neck and the body, with ebony neck lams, an ebony top, and ebony peghead veneers.  unfortunately there are no gabon-ebony boards to be had.  i don't want to use  macassar abony for my top, though it is a very beautiful wood
 
mica and i looked at woods from several vendors, and then we decided to go back to where we started and look at a few alembic maples.  when i saw 1322 with an acetone wipe, i came pretty close to falling in love with it
 
it'll still be a simple-looking bass:  no back laminate, only one accent laminate, black peghead, 20th-anniversary electronics, and blackened hardware.  simple and understated, but it'll be an alembic!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on January 25, 2004, 11:24:12 PM
I say amen to that!
BTW: the 1322 is nice indeed. Especially in a bookmatch to center set-up. You still for the enlarged EVH baby-bass design?
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 26, 2004, 02:58:36 AM
thanks!
 
yes, i am.  mica anticipated that the design might not scale up so easily:  the shape is beautiful for tania's tiny bass (22-inch scale!), but when kris scaled it up to the size of a 34-inch-scale small standard, it was too massive.  so now he's working on the waist and hips to get better proportions
 
also, if you look at the outline superimposed on the macassar ebony, the bottom is not the classic EvH shape:  it's a bit baroque.  i won't approve the design until i see an EvH 'baby's-bottom'!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: janriviere on January 26, 2004, 03:45:09 AM
Marc, is it the original EVH bottom and body you are after? Like in these medium-scaled bodies? I guess that Edwin?s baby bass is the small version of them.  Cheers Jan
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7920.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7921.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7922.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/7923.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 26, 2004, 06:38:37 AM
hi jan
 
the shape i'm looking for is very close to the original EvH shape.  the main differences are that i'd like the upper horn to be straight, slightly extended for balance but with no hook; and i'd like the bottom cutout slightly less pronounced, just as the original 1970s point design was gentler and less 'pointy' than the current point.  also, i'd like the body to be very slightly longer in proportion to the width across the hips
 
your basses are beautiful!  what is the lighter top wood?  i don't recognize it, but i like it
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 26, 2004, 06:47:22 AM
p.s. to jan
 
i've also requested a half elbow contour, as on your lighter bass, and a half tummy contour.  the contours are the legacy of playing a p-bass for thirty-plus years, but seeing the half-elbow on your EvH, i am reassured that it is a very good choice aesthetically as well
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: janriviere on January 26, 2004, 06:55:02 AM
Yes Marc, you might need the extra weight on the upper horn if you go with a 34 instead of the 32 like I have. This original template of those two is perfect for the balance on a 32.
 
The 4 string has 2 cocobolo laminates and a maple core. The 5 string has 2 figured walnut laminates and a maple core.  
 
Good luck with your project, I am curious to see the results of a EVH signature inspired bass.
 
Cheers
Jan
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 26, 2004, 08:00:11 AM
jan
 
one problem is that tania's baby bass was made from a temporary template, which was later lost or destroyed, as were any notes on how the original EvH design was adapted for the baby bass.  kris has the unenviable task of trying to satisfy a customer with very specific wishes that are difficult to realize in practice, but that's what elevates alembic above all other bass luthiers
 
if the top horn has to grow a little bit  for balance, that's fine, as long as there's no hook to the horn; mica says that kris isn't too concerned
 
 
regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on January 28, 2004, 08:55:56 AM
hi mica
 
it was a pleasure to talk with you yesterday, as always.  i'm very excited that we're finally ready to move forward with the 'simple' bass
 
just to review, i've chosen the maple burl 1322 'scattered burls' for my top.  i leave the decision on the thickness of the ebony accent laminate to you and kris.  please give me ebony peghead veneers front and back.  i exchanged messages with roger at thg; he will wait to hear from you about some bits of 1322 to use for the knobs.  we'll settle the details of the body shape (including the all-important 'baby's bottom'!) when you and kris have a chance to generate a new cartoon outline, maybe next week.  all else is as agreed in the work order
 
one final thought for the moment:  since the main neck laminates and the body are mahogany, please ask kris to match the color and grain of the body wood as closely as possible to those of the neck.  the closer he can get, the happier i'll be!
 
thank you thank you thank you!
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on February 01, 2004, 06:51:29 PM
hi again mica
 
i was just checking out ken's beautiful new rogue, and i had a thought
 
i think the 'simple' bass should have a squidge more thickness in the ebony laminate, under the maple, than ken has in his rogue.  you mentioned 3/32 as what you thought would be best.  i'd be interested to know if ken's is a 3/32 lam, or a 1/16
 
mainly i think that, for the simple bass, the ebony should splay out a bit wider on the half-elbow contour
 
please let me know what you think
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on February 08, 2004, 07:41:51 PM
Here's the next revision overlaid on the top laminate selection:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/8146.jpg)
 
The sketch is still a fairly rough plan. Kris and Tony understand about your requests for the sharper looking points that are cut out of the original shape. Kris drew the shape without the cuts then added them, similar to how they will be carved out on your actual bass. I think we've pretty much nailed the look you were after. Of course, we'll post pictures of the bass before we send it to spray so you can have a final approval and tweaking time.  
 
Ken's Rogue uses the standard 1/8 accent laminate of Purpleheart with a thin veneer of Maple between that and the Mahogany body. I'm still thinking the original 3/32 idea will work best. Much thicker, and they'll show more of the streaky color in the ebony and look less black, and I know this was an original concern of yours. I also like the idea the accent lam being thinner than the thinnest neck laminates by a good bit, sort of like punctuation.  
 
Let me know what you think.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mattheus on February 09, 2004, 12:29:33 AM
This is looking amazingly cool. I always was very fond of that look on the EVH-signature basses! I can't wait to see the next step in the production...... I think there's a very unique bass coming.......
 
Mattheus
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on February 09, 2004, 04:41:56 AM
hi mica
 
so my ebony laminate would be thinner than the accent on ken's bass?  that's the opposite of what i was thinking, but i get your points about streakiness, and about the thickness of the accent lam relative to the neck laminates.  let's go with the 3/32 accent as you suggested
 
i am much more concerned about the bottom:  compared to jan's basses, above, or to tania's baby bass, the baby's-bottom carving in the new plan still looks smaller, shallower, and less rounded.
 
to see what i mean, compare the new plan with the straight-on views of jan's basses.  visualize the continuation of the bottom curves of jan's basses, as if they had not had baby's-bottoms carved into them.  the mini-points on jan's basses do not reach that reference curve, while the mini-point in the plan for my bass does reach the reference curve of the bottom
 
this is just another way of saying that jan's (and tania's) baby's-bottoms are more deeply carved than the proposed plan for my bass.  i'd like the cutout on my bass to look more like the cutouts on their basses
 
can we please talk on the phone today, before kris cuts the body?  i feel really strongly about this, and i don't feel that the plan reflects the bottom-shape i'd like.  i'll be sure to be home from 1 to 5 this afternoon, i.e., from 10 to 2 your time
 
thanks mica
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on September 20, 2007, 05:14:14 PM
That's great news, Mica!  Thanks!
 
 
Marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on September 29, 2007, 09:18:15 PM
Cool!  Looking forward to seeing pictures of the completed bass!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on September 30, 2007, 08:26:57 AM
Go Marc ..go-go-go!
Wonder how simple this is going to look!
 
Paul TBO
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassman10096 on October 02, 2007, 08:29:18 AM
This bass has been worth the wait.  It has more uniqueness than almost any.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 06, 2007, 12:42:16 PM
Hi Mica
 
Has my bridge arrived from the plater yet?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: crgaston on October 06, 2007, 07:56:26 PM
Dang.... Mica made a Star Wars reference and nobody else was geek enough to call her on it.
 
Busted!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mele_aloha on October 07, 2007, 01:47:45 AM
Word has it marcm that the whole shop got wiped out the last couple of weeks with the flu bug and no one was spared.
 
So all who are waiting have their La Maz' books out and practicing what we learned for those of us who have been through it!(come on Bradley, check my spelling please)haha!hehe! With Love of course!
 
I hope that will give you some insight as to delays. They are doing their best considering the circumstances.
 
Aloha, Paul
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: Bradley Young on October 07, 2007, 05:21:55 PM
Paul,
 
Since you asked, I think you meant Lamaze.
 
Okay, now everyone, breathe. Hee-hee-hoo.
 
Bradley
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: cozmik_cowboy on October 09, 2007, 08:29:12 AM
Well, Bradley, based on my experience, that should be Hee-hee-(large amounts amounts of profanity directed at me for my role placing in her in such pain)-hoo  
 
Peter
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on October 23, 2007, 05:52:50 PM
It looks like this bass will be shipping tomorrow, arriving on Friday. Here's it's just hanging out:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/45128.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/45129.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/45130.jpg)
  and here, getting lovingly polished:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/45131.jpg)
  You might notice that the knobs are different from the ones you sent in for the bass. With the bass all done, the Maple lines were really jarring. We're sending you the original knobs in case you like the look better or want to use them on another bass. Hope  you like it!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on October 23, 2007, 06:04:22 PM
What a cool bass!!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: tbrannon on October 23, 2007, 06:37:45 PM
Oh my gosh- worth the wait....
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: the_8_string_king on October 23, 2007, 07:21:01 PM
Let me get this straight... this is the SIMPLE bass?
 
Uhm... what would be the non-simple bass?
 
Looks incredibly awesome.  Love the custom electronics/control configuration!
 
So... what are the electronics?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: artswork99 on October 23, 2007, 07:36:25 PM
How cool, is that a customer design?  I haven't seen anything like this before.  I browsed through the build pictures... what a project and real nice set of specifications!
 
Enjoy that bass Marc!
Play it healthy,
Art
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on October 23, 2007, 07:41:44 PM
Jason keeps calling this bass, Monty as in Monty Python... and now for something completely different!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: artswork99 on October 23, 2007, 07:51:11 PM
That's pretty funny since the Monty Python Flying Circus collection was loaned to me on Sunday and I've been watching them for several days.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: 82daion on October 23, 2007, 07:54:43 PM
That was worth the wait!
 
Congratulations, Marc.
 
That bass is amazing.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 23, 2007, 08:11:48 PM
Hi Folks
 
Thank you all very much for your very kind comments.
 
It's hard to express how delighted I am with how it came out; I hadn't seen any pictures except those that were posted to this thread.  It has been a long time coming, and there were many detours and changes along the way.  Mica and Susan solved every issue, steered me right when I had bogus ideas, and wouldn't let the bass go to completion until it met their standards.
 
I really meant 'simple' in an aesthetic sense, rather than in the sense of 'not many features':  just two woods, mahogany and ebony; no body accent laminates; no back laminate; no fret inlays; and no script.  Eventually I weakened and went for the OM and the little tai-ji in back.
 
The electronics are 20th Anniversary, with 3-position Q switches and master volume.  The control configuration, from butt to horn, is (alternating knobs and toggles):  master volume, LED on/off, bridge filter, bridge Q, bridge volume, stereo/mono,  neck filter, neck Q, and neck volume.  The pickup selector is the teardrop on the lower horn, a gesture to the old-style Series control layout; it's also the only place there is for it below the mahogany pinstripe.  I love the old EvH basses - especially the 'baby bass' Edwin had made for his daughter - and also the softer points from back in the day, so those elements were worked into the design as well.
 
Mica told me that the basic sound is like a super-clean, super-precise P-bass with massive sustain and a massive bottom end.  That's exactly what we aimed for, four years ago.  I've been playing for 40 years but I've only ever owned one bass:  a 1970 Fender Precision that my parents bought for me, new, when I was 15; it has been everywhere with me, and it's sitting ten feet from me as I type this.  So I have a lot to learn.
 
 
Marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: rraymond on October 23, 2007, 08:28:53 PM
I am dumbstruck seeing this bass finally completed. Congrats Marc and Alembic! What an amazing piece, Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: dannobasso on October 23, 2007, 08:29:36 PM
As a devotee of black Alembics, I salute you most heartily sir! May you play it with joy for many years to come.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassman10096 on October 23, 2007, 09:18:13 PM
Wow. Congratulations.  Definitely one of the most elegant Alembics ever.  A long time coming to be sure, but an amazing conclusion...
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: jacko on October 24, 2007, 04:32:38 AM
Fantastic. Just needs a set of DR Black beauties to set it off nicely.
 
graeme
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: room037 on October 24, 2007, 07:21:46 AM
Hi Marc,
Congratulation !
 
What a nice bass !
It's worth 4 years waiting.
I love the black color just like ecliptic night.
And I am very interested mandolin frets that you said.
Please report the feeling.
 
Eiji
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: 811952 on October 24, 2007, 07:32:49 AM
That's really cool!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: jtussing on October 24, 2007, 09:51:57 AM
Congrats - WONDERFUL looking bass!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: chuck on October 24, 2007, 11:10:15 AM
In the words of mister Zulu,,, OOOO MY.
 
Chuck
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: precarius on October 24, 2007, 11:53:13 AM
A beautiful and unique bass!
Mike
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: senmen on October 24, 2007, 12:02:15 PM
Marc,
what shall I say. WOW !!!
This is a simple bass? It is stunning, stealthy and technically looking. Well it makes me think of a DW or a Spyder in this design....
 
Oliver (Spyderman)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassjigga on October 24, 2007, 01:11:25 PM
Not often you see a gabon ebony top. Maybe this was in there somewhere but I didn't read through the pages of the thread... was the reason for the two strips in the top because you couldn't get gabon ebony wide enough?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: lbpesq on October 24, 2007, 01:11:54 PM
Marc:
 
Gorgeous!  Do I detect a COTM?
 
Bill, tgo
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 24, 2007, 02:36:05 PM
Thank you all for your kind words.  I have admired your beautiful Alembics on the Club for four years now, as my own took shape.  Many many times I have thought, ?Damn, that is such a cool instrument!  I wish I had thought of that first!?  When I have learned the ins and outs of my new bass reasonably well, maybe I will be able to justify thinking about another.  That seems to happen a lot.
 
Graeme, thanks for suggesting DR Black Beauties.  I?ve always thought they were very cool, though I?ve played Thomastik Jazz Flats for so long that I automatically asked to have the bass strung with them.  I just called DR to ask about BBs for 32-inch scale.  Unfortunately, the guy told me that they don?t make them for ?short scale? (32-inch is ?short scale? for DR, not surprisingly), so my only choice in DR would be stainless steels.  So unless he and I misunderstood each other, I am SOL on BBs.
 
David, you?re right about the reason for the three-piece top.  My first-choice top wood (a birdseye maple) turned out to be funky inside, and after looking at about thirty different Wood Bank candidates I came around to the idea of Gabon ebony.  At that time there was none to be had wide enough for a bookmatch-to-center, so Mica proposed a three-piece top made from a six-string fingerboard blank and two five-string blanks.  The joints were a potential shrinkage problem, so I proposed the mahogany pinstripes.  Mike proposed the contoured top, which he called the ?suspension bridge?.
 
Oliver, I think a ?Simple Spyder? or a ?Simple DW? would be awesome.  I hope you decide to do one.  Isn?t Dueren near Aachen?  For many years I used to stay in Aachen for a few days or a week at least once a year.  I love that area.  The background in your photo has always reminded me of the view out the window of my favorite room in my favorite hotel in K?ln, though I realize that most likely it is not that view.
 
Bill TGO, thanks!  I would be honored for my bass to be a Featured Custom.  It is not impossible that it could happen . . .
 
 
Marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: dnburgess on October 24, 2007, 02:49:44 PM
I want one.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: senmen on October 25, 2007, 12:51:37 PM
Marc,
YES, you are right. Dueren is approx. 20min away from Aachen.
So when you are here for the next time we must meet..
Well the idea of a Simple Spyder or Simple DW is great.  
Do you own the copyrights on the term Simple ? :-)
I relly love the knob layout on your bass.....
 
Oliver (Spyderman)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: basstard on October 25, 2007, 02:51:20 PM
This is just ubercool.
 
Love it.
 
COTM all the way!
 
And now for something completely different:
 
The larch.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 27, 2007, 12:03:16 PM
The bass arrived yesterday!
 
I know that it has been said many times before by others, but it's true:  the photos, as good as they are, can't do justice to the incredible workmanship of an Alembic instrument.  When I held the bass in my hands for the first time, I realized that it exceeds any expectations I ever had.
 
I haven't had a chance to do any real playing yet, but I hope to later this afternoon.  Thank you all in the Club for your support and your kind comments over the past four years.  I will post some photos as soon as I can, probably when I'm back home after Thanksgiving.
 
Lexi, Steve, Greg, Derek, James, Jason (thanks for coining the official nickname!), Cody, Charles, Mary, Robert, Tony, Bill, Ron, Susan, and Mica,  who took my first call back in April 2003, and called yesterday just as I put the bass on my knee for the first time:  thank all of you so much!  There is nothing like an Alembic instrument, and in my experience there is no organization like Alembic.  I hope to meet all of you when Amanda and I visit on November 20th.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: senmen on October 28, 2007, 10:51:32 AM
Marc,
more pics plse......
 
Oliver (Spyderman)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: tommy on February 05, 2009, 03:51:17 PM
Holy fling vampires! Looks like something batman would play!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: white_cloud on February 06, 2009, 06:39:19 AM
If im not mistaken I spy OM between the second and third frets - very symbolic!
 
Om Mani padme hum!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on February 08, 2009, 03:52:12 PM
John, there's a closeup of the inlay here (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=7096).
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 05, 2014, 09:33:16 AM
I'm putting Monty up for sale in the For Sale section.  Sad but necessary.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassman10096 on February 17, 2004, 01:16:37 PM
Marc:  I am really looking forward to seeing this bass take shape.  The figuring and color of the burl top are sure to be very pretty once finished.  I had looked at 1322 more than once myself when deciding on wood for my bass.  I'm really interested to see what your variation on the EVH shape looks like once work proceeds.  Good luck and happy waiting!
 
Bill
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on February 22, 2004, 08:42:39 AM
hi bill
 
thanks!  as you may have read above, 1322 wasn't my first choice for a top, nor even my second, but months had gone by, there was no gabon ebony to be had, and nothing seemed to quite hit the spot.  i needed to make a choice, and it is a pretty piece of wood
 
similarly with the shape:  i was captivated by the shape of the evh piccolo bass that edwin ordered for his daughter tania, but it wasn't possible to scale that design to small-standard size.  so, once again, a compromise of sorts was necessary
 
mica has worked very hard to help me to realize my vision for my first alembic, and has given me no end of support and great advice.  it's not turning out to be the bass i had envisioned, but i'm sure i'll love it just the same
 
?'est la vie
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on February 22, 2004, 09:14:16 AM
p.s. to bill (i hit 'post' when i meant to hit 'preview')
 
that wasn't all i wanted it to say, and it gives the way-wrong impression
 
the fact is that my vision for the instrument, and hence inevitably my expectations for it, evolved as the design process unfolded.  i started out with a piece of maple for the top.  when it turned out to be unusable i got my heart set on gabon ebony, which apparently has been used for only three or so basses in alembic history; there are supply-and-demand reasons why that is so.  when mica's exotic-wood dealers couldn't come up with any, we had to go back to the wood bank or find a piece of wood from a wood dealer online
 
as to the shape, mica warned me from the get-go that scaling a design was an iffy proposition
 
the 'simple' bass, though aesthetically understated and  not a series instrument, will have some nice features and a distinctive look.  i look forward to reading what you and others may say about it
 
but no matter what, it will be by far the coolest bass i have ever held in my life, much less played, much less owned
 
and i will love it!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassman10096 on February 22, 2004, 09:51:31 AM
Marc:  I think its already on the way to being an over-and-above cool bass.  I, too, started out with some ideas for my bass that didn't work out due to various practicalities.  I think for me what has been the most engaging part of the selection and design process is that, even where the original concept for something may not work, Alembic is so good (and patient) about equiping me with information.  Good information makes the choices all mine - not defaults!  Add to that, a sampling of good artistic and technical suggestions from staff, I feel like the bass I'm building is very uniquely mine and will do things for me that I didn't even know to look for when I first started talking to Mica months ago.  
 
Anyway, enjoy your bass as it comes together.  I like the choices you are making and can't wait to see the product!  Good luck.  
 
Bill
 
(Message edited by bassman10096 on February 22, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on February 28, 2004, 02:52:04 PM
hi all
 
i'm so happy about this recent development that i can't resist posting it
 
as discussed at some length in earlier posts, mica tried very hard to find a piece of gabon ebony for the bookmatch-to-center top of my bass.  when she couldn't find any at all, i 'settled' on a piece of maple burl, but i wasn't very excited about it
 
it is often said in club postings that alembic always finds a way to make your dreams into reality, and they have done it once again
 
mica suggested that the top of my bass could be made from three pieces of the gabon ebony that is used for fingerboards, spliced together:  a six-string board for the middle, flanked by a five-stringer on either side
 
then she suggested that they could add an accent laminate between boards, which evolved into three 1/16-inch pinstripes -- mahogany, ebony, and mahogany
 
then mica had the idea to cut the middle board to the same taper as my fingerboard; since it will be about an inch wider than my four-string fingerboard, the pickups and all the hardware will fit neatly in it
 
i had given up hope for an ebony top.  not only did mica find a way to make it happen, she solved the problem in a way that will make my bass far cooler than anything i ever would have thought of by myself
 
and that, as most of you know already and i am learning, is what alembic is all about
 
there should be a sketch on the thread soon
 
 
thank you mica!  i can't stop smiling!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bassman10096 on February 28, 2004, 03:24:59 PM
Wow Marc.  These folks continue to exceed anybody's expectations, don't they?  Glad this bass is getting to be what you dreamed of (better?)!!  I can't wait to see what this looks like in the flesh.  Sounds VERY cool!
 
Bill
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on February 28, 2004, 03:41:19 PM
Very interesting idea; can't wait to see it!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on March 30, 2004, 05:57:59 PM
here's a look at the working sketches for the new top  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9097.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9098.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on March 30, 2004, 06:18:04 PM
Hey Marc,
 
There was another little funny idea Mike had while laying out the electronics.  
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9100.jpg)
 
This is looking up from the bottom, with the Mahogany spines sort of gently carved. He's still finishing up the control layout, will post as soon as it's available.  
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on March 30, 2004, 06:24:32 PM
Mike was taken by the look of the blackened out area on the second drawing. At first he did the sketch with a normal 3/4 roundover on the top and the back, but he liked the sharp look of the shape with a very small, maybe 1/4 roundover on the top only. You can see this in the sketch. Anyway, some more food for thought until the layot is ready.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on March 30, 2004, 09:50:32 PM
For one or another reason the bridge looks to me as a tiny red spot with a white cross in a rectangular square reading Suspension bridge.
IOW: I can't see a picture!!!!
 
 
PTBO
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on March 31, 2004, 03:37:14 AM
hi mica
 
i think the 'suspension bridge' is incredibly cool.  let's do it!  i like the 'sharp' 1/4-roundover look too
 
so, with mike's idea, would there be no half-elbow contour?
 
paul, i'm emailing you the 'suspension bridge' image right now
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on March 31, 2004, 10:43:43 AM
Yeah, we'd have to get rid of the gentle elbow shaping to keep the crisp look. We'll keep the tummy contour on the back though. I'm pretty sure his example has some vertical exaggeration to make the point.
 
I'll let Mike know when he arrives that his idea will be reality. He was so excited about the sharp shape and the top carving, I know it will make his day that you'll be going for it.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on March 31, 2004, 10:58:14 AM
hi mica
 
as captain picard used to say, make it so!
 
please thank mike for his brilliant idea.  the pinstripe ridge will also serve as a place to rest my wrist or the heel of my hand, a nice amenity for a flatpick player like myself
 
i'm thinking that with the new shaping we might be better off with a single mahogany pinstripe rather than the mahogany-ebony-mahogany triplet that we discussed.  what do you think?
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on April 01, 2004, 10:22:13 PM
Brother and Sisters,
 
after some E-mailing back and forward between me and Brother Marc the-not-so-simple-one-anymore he asked me to launch this idea.
Maybe it would be great to make the upgoing slope of the hangbridge (sorry ...I still see that red dot with the white cross ...thanks for sending me the picture directly Marc) in such a way that it can be used as longitudinal thumbrest. So the slope a little steeper???
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 04, 2004, 07:53:36 AM
now that mica and i have locked up the specification, here's a list of the features
 
custom 4-string
32-scale
mahogany neck
ebony neck laminates, center laminate thicker
blue side LEDs with toggle switch
mahogany body, 3/4-roundover, tummy contour
three-piece ebony top with mahogany pinstripes at joints, 1/4-roundover
mike's 'suspension-bridge' top contour, small scallop contour above each control knob
EvH baby-bass shape, scaled to small-standard size
fatboy pickups, no script
20th anniversary electronics with master volume, 3-position Q switches, sidemounted jack
'linear' control layout, with p/u selector on lower horn
knobs by roger @ thg
2R continuous-wood truss rod cover, pickup to touch
black recessed straplocks
black hipshot ultralite HB6Y tuners
blackened brass hardware, black screws where possible
blackened logo, no script
heavy bridge block
'big bird' tailpiece, recessed into body
concealed-hardware curved-rail bridge
continuous-wood backplates, nearest-neighbor
crown peghead, ebony veneers
ebony fingerboard, 1.75 x 2.25, low-profile mandolin frets
OM inlay at 12th fret, black tahitian m.o.p., blue LED for dot at top
tai-ji inlay, black & white m.o.p., on pickup-selector backplate
string with thomastik jf324  43-56-70-100
hardshell case
 
i guess it turned out to be a 'not-so-simple' bass, as paul suggested a while back
 
but it is all that my fancy paints as fair
 
 
marc
 
(Message edited by marcm on April 18, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on April 04, 2004, 09:32:22 AM
Ommygood!
I'm falling in love ...again.
Why am I torturing myself so much by visiting this club. Now I'm already blast away BEFORE the thing is even made.
***sigh***  
 
PTBO
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 15, 2004, 01:12:38 PM
hi mica
 
here's a blatant example of idea theft:  inspired by the supercool omega cut on valentino's peghead, i wonder if it would be possible for my peghead to have a mini-baby's-butt carving at the top?  do you think that it would look good, or is this an idea that should be forgotten?
 
also, please let me know if you got my voicemail about the roger and the knobs
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on April 16, 2004, 01:33:30 PM
Hi Marc,
 
I can save the wood for Roger, but since we're using black Ebony, I'm not sure it's critical to get a match.  
 
Mike's still hammering out the controls. First hurdle was the special stereo jack, but we've got that licked. I think I'll be posting a layout a little later on today.  
 
I'm not excited about the peghead change, but I'll rough something out and see if it's my prejudice about the Crown peghead shape being perfect on this bass.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on April 16, 2004, 06:01:46 PM
Got some progress on these controls. What a beast! Here's the general idea, reinforcing the linear aspects of the design:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9516.jpg)
 My dad suggested placing them close enough to the "rails" that we'd carve a small scallop around each knob, nothing super obvious, but one of those things you notice later and say, "whoa!" The only problem so far, is I'm finding it difficult to put the master volume anywhere.  Some ideas for the functions:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9517.jpg)
 This one puts the volume controls in one group and the filter controls in another.  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9518.jpg)
 Here we've grouped the functions by pickup. I'm not sure which way will make more sense to you, so you'll have to tell me.  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/9519.jpg)
 One idea for the master volume on the lower horn, and moving the pickup selector to the other side of the rail.   Don't worry about the backplate, that will be adjusted. If you like the pickup selector or master volume on the lower horn we'd add a small circular backplate for the access to it. I was thinking about putting the original inlay on the switch backplate. A white and black mother of pearl yin yang just for you on the back.    We're waiting for the sample of the long frame jack in stereo version. The jack in your bass will actually be a bit larger.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 16, 2004, 06:28:28 PM
hi mica
 
i'm leaning toward style 2, the functional grouping, with the pickup selector on the lower horn as they used to be on very old series basses.  i'd strongly prefer for there to be no controls above the pinstripe
 
four comments
 
first, as you suggested, the new knobs from roger will be small cylinders instead of hats; the pickup selector will, of course, still be a teardrop.  i've asked roger to scale all the knobs down in size by about 10% or so compared to the knobs on randy's cocobolo custom.  perhaps they'll be small enough that a staggered configuration will be possible
 
second, we had discussed a side-LED on/off toggle.  will it be possible to fit that in as well?
 
third, i love ron's idea of a small scallop above each knob.  it's a detail that would bring a smile to my face for many years to come, so let's definitely do it!
 
finally, if the new smaller knobs don't make a different layout possible, could the master volume be placed down on the hip, centered below the bridge-Q and stereo/mono toggles?
 
thanks for this beautiful work
 
best regards
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 16, 2004, 06:35:58 PM
p.s.
 
i love the idea of putting the tai-ji on the switch plate!  thank you!  let's do it!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 16, 2004, 06:47:37 PM
p.p.s.
 
forget about my idea for a baby's-butt peghead; your comment said it all
 
let's have a beautiful crown as we originally planned
 
thanks for being the voice of sanity
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on April 16, 2004, 07:14:29 PM
Yay! Glad you like the secretive back inlay. I love little inlays on the back of instruments. Don't know why.  
 
I think in this case we'll need to get the knobs here to allow for the exact layout and scallop pattern. I will contact Roger next week and see what materials he'll need from us and also get the dimensions of the knobs so I can finish up the layout right away. The smaller knobs really make sense on this one.  
 
Was I really that bad about the peghead? I still may sketch it out, and if it's cool, I'll even share!
 
Have a great weekend!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on April 16, 2004, 08:10:10 PM
mica, i have a special request.  when mike takes the nearest-neighbor slice for the big back plate, could you please ask him to take a second-nearest-neighbor cut as well?  here's why
 
i have a new friend who makes beautiful jewelry in silver and gold, based on the archimedes spiral.  if things work out in the longer run, i'd like to send the second-nearest-neighbor back to you with one of her pieces, and ask you to inlay it for me.  would that be possible?  please let me know
 
as far as the peghead is concerned, i had a brain spasm and lost it for a moment; your perception was clear and correct.  i love the crown; please forget i ever mentioned the mini-baby's-butt
 
have a great weekend!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on April 29, 2004, 08:33:46 PM
Roger and I are talking back and forth on those knobs. I'll be incommunicado tomorrow, icky tax filing stuff day! Hope by Monday I'll have everything square with him and get your body assembly on Mike's list for next week.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on May 20, 2004, 12:42:41 PM
Here's the first stage of body assembly:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10290.jpg)
 
Lookin' good! We've settled on a knob diameter of .85-.90. I'll get you a shot of the final control layout soon.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 01, 2004, 06:56:19 PM
Top in place, with the outside cuts done:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10475.jpg)
  Caught Mike mid-carve with the "sea of black" I told you about:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10476.jpg)
  After the rough carving:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10477.jpg)
  The fingerboard is now in place, and the bass is ready for routing, should be on Thursday. That little gap between the truss rod cover and the cavity is where one of your pickups will be. Mike arranged it so that when Bob routs it, the truss rod cover and the cavity will be trimmed at the same time. Pretty slick, huh?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 02, 2004, 06:41:25 AM
hi mica
 
what can i say?  you and i and mike imagined it, and mike is making it real  
 
i love it.  thank you, and thank mike too
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 04, 2004, 12:51:54 PM
hey mica!
 
it looks like there's a routed channel down the centerline.  what's it  for?
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bob on June 04, 2004, 05:35:35 PM
I'll take a wild guess and suggest it might be a depth guide for sanding, that will eventually disappear. ???
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 04, 2004, 07:00:22 PM
thanks bob!  that makes perfect sense
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 05, 2004, 05:29:27 PM
Bob's right - you'll also notice two other routed channels along the edges.  
 
Here's another picture with most of the sanding done:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10545.jpg)
 
The little sticks protruding past the bottom of each ridge are brass strips to guide the maximum on each side.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 06, 2004, 08:00:31 AM
wow!
 
so cool
 
thanks
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: hollis on June 07, 2004, 12:32:46 PM
Very very nice!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 18, 2004, 06:34:16 PM
Here's your bass with the sealer coats:    (note: resized MONSTER picture - look on next post)  The holes are drilled for the electronics, but I'm afraid you really can't see them in this shot.     We're getting into the detail on the knobs. Here's some mock ups to show you where we are:    
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10769.jpg)
  Above: three styles compared. We're trying to illustrate some of the extremes for the cutouts around the knobs to get an idea of what will suit you.    
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10770.jpg)
  Above: Style #1    
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10771.jpg)
  Above: Style #2    
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10772.jpg)
  Above: Style #3    I'll reserve my comments for preferences/ideas until I hear what you like.    For those watching, the knobs are simple cyllinders of Ebony with Mahogany indicator dots. We're going to try to do the collet style on the pointer knobs, Marc. If it doesn't work, we'll do the standard mounts.   (Message edited by mica on June 18, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 18, 2004, 06:42:51 PM
Sorry about that monster pic before. Here's one that you can see on the screen:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10774.jpg)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 18, 2004, 09:30:14 PM
hi mica
 
i love the body!  the 'suspension bridge' actually provides a bit of an elbow contour, a design feature that was part of the specification before mike came up with his cool idea
 
style #1 is my favorite of these three choices.  i'd like the carvings to be relatively shallow, and i like the way the knobs are obviously offset from the center of the carving.  could we preserve those two attributes, but make the carvings somewhat smaller, closer in diameter to style #3?
 
another version i'd like to see in mock-up, if possible, is an 'eyebrow' cut above the knob with a flat 'mesa' rather than a 'bowl' or 'crater':  as if the carving tool (sander, grinder, what do you call it?) was held parallel to the back of the bass and lowered straight down until it bit into the slope far enough to make a circular flat about the diameter of #3, with the knob offset below center in the flat.  that's what i imagined when you called it an 'eyebrow' carving.  do you think that's worth looking at?  it might not turn out to be as aesthetically pleasing as #1, but it is what i imagined
 
now that i've put my two cents in, please tell me what you think
 
also, is the spacing between knobs in the mock-up the same as on the bass?
 
 
best regards
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bob on June 18, 2004, 11:30:01 PM
I think I understand what marc is trying to say here, and I agree.
 
Not that I have a 'vote', but what I'd be interested in seeing is something where the routing of the body occurred only on about the top third of the circle - more like an eyebrow than a socket? - and was relatively small, preferably about 30% less than in #3 (or maybe halfway between 2 and 3).
 
Sort of like most of it would work without any routing, and you just notched out the upper portion as the front body surface curved up. Of course, over this small range the surface appears more as an angle than a curve, but maybe that just means the bottom side of the knob floats a little high.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 19, 2004, 06:24:50 AM
hi bob
 
that's it exactly!  when mica first mentioned it above, she said ron had suggested a small scallop around each knob, nothing super obvious
 
the 'craters' are super obvious.  
 
hey mica!  please read what bob said!  can we do that?
 
thanks bob!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 19, 2004, 09:19:42 AM
hi again mica
 
after my saturday-noon raspberry beignet and coffee, i'm looking at this some more
 
if the bottom of the knob is going to 'float a little high', as bob said, or even if it isn't, the knob could sit in a tight little #2-like socket, with the 'scallop' or 'eyebrow' above it.  that would be subtle and cool
 
but i am still in suspense to hear what YOU think
 
 
marc
 
(Message edited by marcm on June 19, 2004)
 
(Message edited by marcm on June 19, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 19, 2004, 09:53:13 AM
and yet again
 
i see that you've done the routing for the fatboys and the extra-heavy bridge block.  will the routing for the tailpiece ('big bird' tailpiece, recessed into body) be done later?
 
 
marc
 
(Message edited by marcm on June 19, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bob on June 20, 2004, 12:20:13 AM
So what's this 'extra-heavy bridge block'? Is it deeper, or what? Numbers, please.
 
One other thought on those cutouts: maybe cylindrical (straight sides, flat bottom) rather than rounded?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 20, 2004, 06:13:48 AM
 
 
(Message edited by marcm on June 20, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on June 20, 2004, 06:17:59 AM
bob
 
yes, it will be deeper.  we didn't talk numbers; i asked mica for it to be as heavy (i.e., as deep) as possible.  similarly, the 'big bird' tailpiece will look the same as a standard bird from the top, but it will extend down into the body.  i asked for it to be at least as heavy as four individual spyder-style tailpieces put together
 
i agree that the tight little sockets for the knobs should probably be cylindrical.  but i want to hear what mica thinks before i set my heart on that
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 30, 2004, 04:32:14 PM
Two more cyllindrical variations:  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10955.jpg)  
The bottom of the wells would be flat and parallel to the back of the bass. We made these over the original bowls, so there's a little vestige of them left.  
 
(Message edited by mica on June 30, 2004)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on June 30, 2004, 04:48:33 PM
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/10957.jpg)  
Medium sized version.  
 
The thicker bridge block will be routed into the bottom soon. That will be handrouted - what you see routed already was done on the CNC.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on July 01, 2004, 05:18:43 AM
hi mica
 
well now we're cooking with fusion power!  this is exactly the look i had in mind (bob, paul tbo told me that you're sailing in the pacific right now, but if you're around, does this look what you imagined?)
 
mica, are the possible diameters of the wells constrained to be the same size as the tools used to make them, or can they be any diameter?  my gut feeling is that the perfect look would be somewhere between the large mockup and the medium-sized version.  please let me know
 
i'd appreciate any comments by club members
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on July 01, 2004, 05:33:20 AM
Marc, Bob is definitely not around right now; his boat started on Tuesday and currently leads its division.  It may be a couple weeks before he is back.  See this thread for info and links:
http://club.alembic.com/Images/449/10880.html?1088673031 (http://club.alembic.com/index.php?topic=20628)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: bob on July 20, 2004, 09:33:16 PM
Marc,
 
I hope you weren't waiting on me - after all, this is your bass, right?
 
I like this approach a lot. I hadn't gotten as far in my thinking, but since the knobs presumably come out perpendicular to the back, the base of the wells should be similarly so, as Mica et. al. came up with. Nice.
 
The first one is way too wide, the second is a little bit tight looking, so I'd go about 1/3 from small to large - but I think anything in between would be great.
 
Hope this instrument is closer to you than it was a few weeks ago.
-Bob
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on August 24, 2004, 03:33:58 PM
I'm so sorry I didn't get these pictures posted sooner for you, Marc. This sample has been ready for close to a month now, and finally your bass is at a stage where it's not moving forward until we get this part settled. So here's the latest samples;  
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/12178.jpg)
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/12179.jpg)
  Let me know if we're close to the mark on one of these so I can stop being the reason your bass isn't moving. Mike is really chomping a the bit to do the cuts on the real thing.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on August 24, 2004, 09:33:41 PM
hi mica
 
no worries on the inevitable passage of time.  i've had a lot to keep me busy
 
the first image looks like the earlier 'medium sized version'.  the second image is exactly what i was hoping for.  if you agree that the scale of the carvings will work with the overall aesthetics of the bass, then please ask mike to proceed.  if not, please tell me
 
thanks
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on August 25, 2004, 12:51:59 AM
Marc ...yes of course you're a busy man!! How did the Belgian beer and snack -day went?? Or ...did not happened yet??
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on August 26, 2004, 09:37:10 PM
Just gave Mike the go-ahead on the knob carvings (a bunch of us are working late). Those samples are done very quickly (and some are done over previous examples), the finished product will of course be much smoother than the test pieces. Will keep you posted as more interesting things happen.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on September 12, 2004, 01:49:39 PM
Here's how the knob carvings came out:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/12634.jpg)
  And a little closer:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/12635.jpg)
 Sometimes I think the instruments are the byproduct and what we really make here is dust.   This week you're bass will be preset - that's levelling and fretting, and getting the hardware slotted. While it's back in spray getting the rest of the finish applied, Chris will buff out the hardware and we'll send that to the plater. This will be the first job from the new black plater, so let's hope it goes smoothly.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on September 12, 2004, 01:58:35 PM
Darn lucky you put that simple between   (how do you call these ???). This is NOT simple ...by no means at all!
Quite amazing!!!
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: basstard on September 14, 2004, 05:31:05 AM
Can't wait to see it. It's gonna be absolutely one-of-a-kind!!!
 
But... which Alembic isn't?... ;-)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on October 08, 2004, 01:14:10 PM
Here's the inlay in process:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/13281.jpg)
 The red stuff is a marking fluid. Once it dries, you can scribe a very fine line in it.   Mike's now done with the inlay:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/13282.jpg)
  and up close:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/13283.jpg)
  Here's how it works: you take off the inlay plate with carefully placed mounting screws (nice black one will be here soon for the white side):
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/13284.jpg)
  And you get to the brass plate:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/13285.jpg)
 The screws are angled to get the clearance to mount the master volume control. Then the inlay plate mounts to this brass plate for the decorative finish. You won't need to access this hardly ever, so we didn't think the two-tier plate would be a problem.  Hope you like it!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 08, 2004, 03:11:54 PM
hi mica
 
'like' doesn't quite express it
 
it's beautiful, and beautifully made, and the mechanical design is terrific
 
thank you mike!
 
 
best regards
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 08, 2004, 03:23:09 PM
hi again mica
 
i just noticed:  the screws are angled to get the clearance to mount the master volume control
 
the master volume control
 
i thought we were putting the pickup selector on the lower horn, as on the old series basses.  the master volume was going to be to the left of the bridge volume, closest to the baby's butt (your proposed 'style 2' with the master volume added on)
 
wasn't that was the layout we agreed to?
 
please let me know
 
 
thanks
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on October 08, 2004, 03:59:41 PM
Marc ...I still wondering myself what a Marc elaborate bass would be if THIS is simple.
Ohmawgod!
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on October 08, 2004, 04:20:43 PM
Oh yes indeed Marc - it actually doesn't matter for the construction if we put an MVB or pickup selector there, both have the similar physical requirements.  
 
Sorry for the minor scare there.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on October 08, 2004, 06:47:06 PM
sorry i freaked out for a moment there
 
i was hoping it was no big thing and indeed it was not
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: the_mule on October 10, 2004, 01:59:36 AM
Beautiful work, very tasteful! Love the body shape, old school EVH with a unique 'twist'...
 
Wilfred
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: basstard on November 03, 2004, 12:50:59 PM
Sooo... What's the progress on this beauty???
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 04, 2004, 03:29:27 AM
thanks wilfred!
 
hi jarek, and thank you.  i haven't spoken with mica for a couple of weeks or so.  at that time work was starting on the 'big bird' tailpiece, and the hardware was being plated
 
perhaps there will be another update soon
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on November 10, 2004, 12:24:18 AM
This big bird has flown south for the plating:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/14069.jpg)
  The picture is shown before Chris polished it smooth.   Here's how it will look installed:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/14070.jpg)
  And the deep routing:
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/14071.jpg)
 This wound up just slightly heavier than the 4 individual tailpieces.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: jeff on November 10, 2004, 05:26:06 AM
Holy Batman!  Darn cool tailpiece to go with a really cool bass!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 10, 2004, 07:08:58 AM
hi mica
 
perfect!  another gee mica, do you think you could . . . ? idea, made real
 
thank you, and chris
 
 
and thank you, jeff
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on November 10, 2004, 07:34:59 AM
Brother Marc!!
How did the beerfest went?
Next year??
You are still expected here in Belgium as you know.
 
Anyway ...this bass is PURE Alembic history in the make ...a real milestone in original design. The hail and glory choir has again a new verse to sing ...yeah ...the chorus we know by heart right now!!!!
Stupid question I think -maybe I missed it in the thread- but what is the big-bird going to do/add to the bass???? Sustain???
 
Paul the bad one
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 10, 2004, 12:14:16 PM
hi paul!
 
sorry i've been out of touch.  i'll send you a message about the off-topic stuff
 
and thank you for your kind words.  i don't think the theory behind the 'big bird' ever made it to the thread.  you're right, it's about sustain.  early on i asked mica about how the mass of the tailpiece affects sustain:  i wanted as much sustain as possible.  i considered individual tailpieces, as on spyders, but i prefer the look of the bird.  in any case mica determined that there isn't enough room for individual tailpieces on the 'simple' bass
 
so i asked if a tailpiece could be custom-machined to look exactly like a standard bird, but extend down into the body with the goal of having as much mass of brass as four individual tailpieces added together
 
that's exactly what chris made for me!
 
next time around i'm going to ask mica to do almost the same thing again, but in ebony.  the 'big bird saddleblock' would be a block of ebony, recessed into the body like the 'big bird', with the exposed top face of the block carved in the shape of the classic alembic ebony tailpiece shim, as on yahya's 'big bass' for example.  as mica has said,  nowadays the shim is purely aesthetic:  we use the wooden shim just because it looks so cool.  the 'big bird saddleblock' would look exactly as cool as a tailpiece shim, but it would impart added sustain and also give a somewhat warmer, woodier, more 'ebony' sound compared to a brass 'big bird'
 
but that's for next time!
 
vriendelijk groeten!
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on December 15, 2004, 06:19:49 PM
Need a refresher on the 12th fret inlay - are we orienting with the baseline as the frets or the strings?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on December 15, 2004, 07:36:26 PM
hi mica
 
please orient the OM with the strings:  i.e., the top of the OM, with the blue LED, toward the nut, and the bottom toward the bridge
 
thanks, and very happy holidays to you and your alembic family
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on March 02, 2005, 12:30:16 AM
I confirmed we are awaiting the return of the blackened brass - hoping it turns out as nice as the sample piece.  
 
After speaking today, I was reminded that you never saw the completed inlay:
 
(http://club.alembic.com/Images/631/16821.jpg)
 
The color flash of black mother of pearl is difficult to photograph, and this was taken before the board was levelled and fretted. But I think you can get the general idea from the snapshot.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on March 02, 2005, 07:03:19 AM
Great inlay!!
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on March 02, 2005, 01:22:50 PM
thanks mica!  and thank you susan!  it's beautiful!
 
thank you too dave
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on March 02, 2005, 01:29:37 PM
 
 
(Message edited by marcm on March 02, 2005)
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: basstard on November 02, 2005, 01:40:30 PM
This project hasn't been abandoned, I hope...?
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 13, 2005, 10:32:40 AM
not at all, jarek.  work on the 'simple' bass is temporarily on hiatus, while i attend to a difficult and unpleasant personal situation
 
the bass has progressed beautifully.  she will return to these pages, hopefully soon
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: palembic on November 13, 2005, 02:19:29 PM
O-O-O
Brother Marc ...still going that process???
Darn ...
 
PTBO
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on November 19, 2005, 11:23:46 AM
hi brother paul
 
yes, alas.  i have learned, to my chagrin and at great and ever-mounting cost, that you never really know someone until you go through this particular process with them
 
i hope that all is well with you
 
 
marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: tbrannon on August 18, 2007, 09:47:23 AM
One of my favorite FTC threads and a killer bass- just curious if this bass was completed at some stage.... (not that it's any of my business).
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: jazzyvee on August 19, 2007, 08:02:36 AM
I didn't realise there was so much brass in the bird tailpiece.
I'm curious, how much does the bird weigh and how much does the sustain block?
 
Jazzyvee
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: David Houck on August 25, 2007, 05:38:24 PM
JV, that's a custom tailpiece; the normal bird isn't recessed like this one.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on August 31, 2007, 12:36:24 PM
Hi Toby and Jazzy
 
Thank you for the kind words, Toby.  According to Susan back in mid-July, the bass is complete except for one last knob that was on the way from THG; otherwise all the work was done.  I haven't received it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.
 
Jazzy, the so-called 'Big Bird' tailpiece weighs a bit more than four individual tailpieces added together.  I'm not sure how much the bridge block weighs, but the inspiration for it was the block in Phil Lesh's 'Godfather' bass.
 
Best regards,
 
Marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: tbrannon on August 31, 2007, 12:56:07 PM
Marc,
 
Outstanding news- be sure to post some pictures when it makes it's way into your hands.  I've always enjoyed the pictures in the build process, but I'd LOVE to see some full shots and some of the details.  Your bass is one of my favorites.
 
Toby
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: the_8_string_king on August 31, 2007, 06:06:13 PM
WOW, HOLY COW, I see the first FTC thread was dated October 27th, 2003!!!  And you haven't actually got the bass yet, almost 4 years later?
 
I'm curious, what was involved in such a long build time?  All the other ones I've seen that take more than a year seem to involve elaborate inlays... just curious.
 
It's clearly an awesome bass!!!  I also would like to see some pictures when you get it.  Ebony is one of my favorite woods, and sounds awesome -especially as a neck laminate wood.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: the_8_string_king on August 31, 2007, 06:10:42 PM
Oh man, I just caught a couple of the previous posts, and read between the (obvious) lines.  The D-word, huh?  What a drag.  At least you'll have your bass.
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: marcm on September 20, 2007, 01:44:17 PM
Hi Mark
 
Thanks for the kind words!  According to Susan, my project is the second oldest of all current Alembic projects (no idea whose has been in the works longer than mine).  And you're quite right:  from August 2004 through January 2006 I went through a difficult divorce, which ended a nineteen-and-a-half year marriage (no kids).  It was a hard time for a number or reasons, but it's behind me now and since then I've made a good start on a new life.
 
Yesterday I spoke with Mica.  The latest delay with my bass was a problem with the gunmetal-blackening of my bridge.  Apparently the plater hadn't applied it very well, and it had begun to flake.  The bridge had to go back to the plater, and it is expected to arrive back at Alembic any day now.  Mica said that once it arrives and is mounted, she will be taking lots of photos of the bass and then it will be shipped off to me.
 
As odd as this might sound after four and a half years, I can't wait!
 
 
Marc
Title: Re: Marc's "Simple" Bass
Post by: mica on September 20, 2007, 03:06:02 PM
The rumor is that the blackened brass part will be shipped tomorrow. Stay on target... almost there.