Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Dwarf Rat » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:41 pm

Rick Turner tells about the early days with many great pictures of Phil's early Alembic bass as it was being constructed. Story starts on page 30 of the new issue.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:35 am

Cool! I need to see this and might even pay $15.95.... is it the one they're callling Current with Eddie Vedder on the cover?

http://www.fretboardjournal.com/
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Dwarf Rat » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:58 am

The brand new issue has David Crosby on the cover. There are interesting stories about his Alembic necked Gibson electric as well.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby jmfranc » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:26 am

Any links to the article? I can't find any and not sure I have a place near by that carries it. But would love to see it. Is it even on the stands yet? Someone said the Eddy Vedder one (issue 24) is still the current one.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Dwarf Rat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:24 am

http://www.fretboardjournal.com/store/issue-25

This is the best I can do. They have an app you can buy. Getting the magazine subscription has been good for me. I am one issue,#3, of a complete set.
Lots of cool articles and pictures keep it more interesting than other guitar magazines.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Smolder » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:44 am

it's a beautiful and well done magazine. It's not cheap, but well worth it.

Not sure where it's distributed anymore, what without a border's near every starbucks. They might list places on the site. Barnes and Noble would be the first place I'd check.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Rick Turner » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:39 pm

That is on the news stands now.

The photos taken in the fall of 1970 in the basement Alembic shop/warehouse on Judah St. in San Francisco.

David still has the 12 string and uses it frequently when he's on tour. The Lesh bass is "Big Brown" in progress; you can see Alembic #1 in progress...the Jack Casady bass...in the background in one shot. There's also a Guild Bluesbird guitar undergoing the Alembic treatment hanging there and one of what I think was Weir's 335s as well.

And might as well clear up one piece of disinformation on the Alembic site where it is stated that all instruments were built by a team of luthiers. That is not necessarily so, especially in the early days. There were a number of instruments that I built that were not group collaborations other than Ron doing electronics. They include the Casady bass, Phil's Mission Control (George Mundy electronics), the Johnny Winter guitar, the Richard Betts guitar, the John Entwistle Explorer basses (but with fingerboard inlay by a guy in Sausalito whose name I forget), the John Paul Jones four string (note fingerboard inlay similar to Casady bass...silver wire), the first several carbon fiber necked basses, and quite a few other customs that I built. There's also the incorrect assertion that Frank Fuller was Alembic's first luthier. I was. And Frank would be happy to tell you that.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby tcsned » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:26 am

Thanks Rick! Those are some pretty historic instruments!
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby tcsned » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:08 am

It's also good to have the record set straight. It's funny how much stock we put into the printed word and how little turns out to be 100% or even mostly factual. When I was in grad school getting my History M.A. we did a lot of critical looking at news media as a primary source and concluded that whIle these sources are valuable, calling them a "pure" primary source is probably putting too much faith in journalism. The scary thing is that these sources are much more reliable than anything on the internet. There is at least an editor between the writer and publication. Wikipedia is a prime example. Never, ever, use that as a source (I failed more than one student paper for this mistake). I heard a news story on NPR on how 85% of the Wikipedia edits for Congressmen and Senators came from the same IP address (the shared IP for all of Congress). I'm sure none of those guys would embellish their biographies :?

I'm sure that whoever wrote this article for Fretboad Journal could have done proper fact checking like looking at inventory and order records and such but that would have made more work and thoroughness in that line of work is rarely rewarded or the lack thereof is rarely punished. Keep that critical eye! . . . but enjoy the cool pics of a historic time in music history :hail:
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby TI4-1009 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:14 am

Great to have you back Rick! Thanks.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Rick Turner » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:03 am

tscned, I'm not sure what you mean about fact checking the FBJ article...it is correct. I wrote the text for the photo essay.

The incorrect information to which I refer is on the Alembic site. It is the "official history" which is wrong. There are those like Frank Fuller and Larry Robinson who know the true story...they were there, and they don't have an "erase Rick from the history as much as possible" agenda. You'll note also if you dig deep that there is hardly any mention of Bear...and if anybody started Alembic, it was Bear. He collected us...Bob Matthews, Ron Wickersham, and myself...and basically funded Alembic with gear that he had bought...the PA and a lot of recording gear. There was a vague Alembic in 1969, but when Alembic became a California corporation in the summer of 1970 there were three equal stock holders...Bob, Ron, and me. We were the beneficiaries of Bear's generosity, and he did not want to be on record as being an owner of the company. As for information provided by Mica, well, she was no more than ten years old when I left the company in 1978, and so she has very little direct knowledge of what went on when she was in diapers, besides which, the first Alembic "factory" was the chicken ranch where I lived, and she, Susan, and Ron were in Sebastapol. The people who actually knew what was going on at the Alembic "factory" were the guys working there, of whom the best known now would be Frank, Larry, Doug Irwin, Bruce BecVar, and Bob Redins...and, of course, me.

I have always gone out of my way to give credit to my peers, partners, and mentors; I've just gotten tired of it not being mutual vis a vis the current Alembic people. Feel free to contact Frank or Larry or any of the other people who actually worked in the Alembic lutherie workshops from 1970 to '78 and you'll get a very different view than is presented in the official history of the company.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby tcsned » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:37 am

My apologies Rick, I mis-read what you had posted, I thought it was the article that had some misinformation, not the Alembic "official" history. I in no way think you would give misleading information in an interview. I was gonna go pick up the magazine on my way home from work to see the cool pics if nothing else.

"Official" corporate histories are probably about as accurate as Wikipedia :-)

Once again, my apologies for the confusion. Reading on the iPhone with my old eyes can be a bad combination.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby Rick Turner » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:20 pm

Thanks for clearing it up both here and in the private message.

Someday a more balanced version of the Alembic story will come out. I would never disparage or diminish the early (1969-1978) contributions of Ron W. (a genius who didn't get enough chances to show his potential, in my estimation), Bear ('nuff said...), Bob Matthews (excellent organizer of the whole recording process), Betty Cantor (fantastic "ears" and great to work with), and all of the guys who worked in the instrument modding and building workshops, but the fact is that I was the guy who brought lutherie (including inlay work) as well as pickup making to what became Alembic, Inc. Bear was doing a little bit of metal work before my time...brass saddles for the Starfire basses, and stuff like that, but I'd apprenticed as a guitar repairman in 1963 and '64; I was modding and building instruments and pedal boards for myself as early as 1967 in New York and then I was making basses, guitars, and pickups in 1968 and '69 in Marin before meeting the Dead. I'd also been a recording artist starting in 1965 (recorded as guitarist on five albums with fairly major labels...Vanguard, RCA, Raccoon/Warners, MCA) a traveling sound engineer/roadie (Youngbloods in '68 & '69), and record producer (Jeffrey Cain for Raccoon/Warners) before Alembic coalesced as a real company. I came into the equation with a wide range of fairly developed skills and was fully qualified to be on equal footing with the others. It was Bear, Ron, and Bob who wanted me as an equal share holder in the company because of what I brought to the table...and as I said, it was Bear's money that only slightly indirectly made it all possible.

And if you want to hear what I was up to from '66 to early '68, there is going to be a "Fresh Air" segment on my band "Autosalvage" coming up within the next month or so. Rock historian Ed Ward recorded and appreciation of the band for Terry Gross; I haven't heard it yet, but it will wind up on line on NPRs website.
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby mijknahs » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:20 pm

Rick,

That will be great to hear that segment on "Fresh Air".

If you have any recollection, I was wondering what modifications or improvements were done to Bobby's 335? I assumed it was pretty much stock. Same goes for Jerry's Gibsons (Les Pauls and SGs). Was there anything "special" done to them?

Thanks,
Jim
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Re: Alembic photos in new Fretboard Journal

Postby mkaufman » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:59 pm

Are we talking about the same ES335 that Bobby played in the October '74 shows and that he's currently playing in Furthur?

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