Here's an update on the bass from my buddy that went to Gruhn on Saturday looking to see it. This is from a back and forth with him and Rick Turner on Facebook:
Chris T.: So I'd love to hear the story on Mission control( Phils earliy Alembic) and what's going on with it? they wouldn't let me see it but it sounds like are you working on an article on that?
Rick Turner: Mission Control? I have no idea. George got impatient with what I was doing and asked for it back. Unless he gets Ron Wickersham to do the electronics, it's unlikely to come out anywhere near right at this point. Oh, well... At least I got most of the wood restored.
Chris T.: I was just curious as to how that bass got all of its guts removed? and bastardized.. it must've gotten away from Phil many years ago..whtevr.. Walnut- musta weighed a ton! I remember seeing Phil wearing it with a shag carpeting strap to ease the pain..or maybe not so bad because of the vast control cavities for the motherboards and what not... I doubt you're going to make another one-?
Rick Turner: Actually, there are better ways to accomplish what that bass could do now...piezo quad pickup, for instance. And I'd put all the switching and EQ outboard. All doable again, though, and better! Just takes a client who wants that stuff.
Bill H: Damn shame that George won't show it. It was state of the art, with the filters, switching with the 10 m.o.p. buttons, quad pickups, etc. Rick's right though, all of that can fit into a medium size pedal now. The craftsmanship is incredible on the bass. A true piece of art.
Chris T: I didn't ask George- he was there looking at a banjo & we spoke briefly- no big whoop, it's a mere shell of it's former self.
Rick Turner: The bass has been stripped of all it's pickups and electronics, and a huge "bathtub" was milled in the body to so some sort of experimental stuff. The bass was major-league f'd up. I did manage to restore the body wood.
Chris T: I saw the cutting board size replacement put in Rick, on the Alembic site... That musta been tricky...?
Rick Turner: I did the neck laminate section first, then the two sections of koa top. Yeah, it was tricky, but it gets the thing back to some sort of reasonable starting place.